Shrewsbury 1-0 Southend Six Things: solid Salop

Nsiala impresses – shrewsburytown.com

Shrewsbury Town secured League One survival thanks to a 1-0 win over play-off chasing Southend – but what have we learnt from the game?

Shrewsbury used the right well

The right-sided triumvirate of full-back Joe Riley, attacking midfielder Bryn Morris and wide man Shaun Whalley was instrumental to Shrewsbury’s bright start. Whalley caused problems by cutting inside, setting up Riley for an eighth minute flick to the far post that went inches wide. Stefan Payne used his power to good effect up top, the Barnsley loanee stinging the palms of the impressive Christian Walton on two occasions. For all Shrewsbury’s dominance in the first half hour, they failed to capitalize.

One-dimensional Shrimpers

Without the creativity of Anthony Wordsworth, Southend looked a tad predictable in possession. Toto Nsiala dominated Nile Ranger while Simon Cox was too eager to pass the ball backwards, which slowed play down and gave his man Mat Sadler more peace. They applied a little more pressure late in the half and when Ryan Yates gave the ball away in a dangerous area, Stephen McLaughlin had their closest effort with a shot that was deflected wide by Junior Brown.

Ogogo’s performance

Southend’s other dangerous moment came after a ball over the top for Will Atkinson and Shrewsbury players appealed in vain for offside, none waking up before Ogogo. Making his second start in a week after his knee injury, Abu Ogogo sprinted back about 50 yards into his own penalty area to make a crucial challenge on Atkinson. That moment epitomized the midfielder’s whole-hearted display and it is easy to see why he was valued so highly by Dagenham & Redbridge fans.

Brown’s opener

At the start of the second half, Ranger had a couple of decent snap-shots and Cox had a low strike kept out by the impressive Jayson Leutwiler. Many expected Shrewsbury to score while they were on top in the first half but instead they did it against the run of play. Whalley was quieter after the break but he got the assist, delivering a corner perfectly for Brown to head home.

Southend’s late rally

With two penalty appeals, John White prodding wide and Jason Demetriou missing a near open goal, Southend’s failure to find an equalizer was not for want of trying. Substitutes Marc-Antoine Fortune and Jermaine McGlashan looked bright but the visitors could not find a way through a stubborn Shrewsbury rear-guard.

What it means

Defeat means Southend remain one point behind Millwall, who occupy the last play-off space despite losing 3-0 to Oxford. Shrewsbury’s victory however, means they are safe. Given the atrocious start they had and that four teams go down, one must give huge credit to Paul Hurst and his coaching staff for helping the players pull survival off. The fans showed their appreciation with a heart-warming pitch invasion at the end – they will be in League One next season, but Southend need both luck and a remarkable improvement to avoid playing them.