Shrewsbury Town 3-2 Rochdale Player Ratings: Norburn stars


Danny Coyne –

Danny Coyne enjoyed his first league victory as Shrewsbury Town’s caretaker manager, with Oliver Norburn’s brace handing his side a richly deserved 3-2 triumph over Rochdale. Here’s our Player Ratings from the game.

Shrewsbury Town

Steve Arnold – the goalkeeper, who has spent much of his career in non-league, was signed permanently in the summer after impressing on trial, but here his distribution left room for improvement. Routinely denied Camps’ effort from outside the box in the first half, but looked static for Dale’s first goal and indecisive in the lead-up to their second, which was the last of three shots on target they managed. 4

Josh Emmanuel – the right-back, on loan from Ipswich, did a lot of good defensive work and showed his athleticism at times. The compact nature of Shrewsbury’s system meant he stayed in his own half a lot of the time, although when he does get forward, his crossing remains an area upon which to improve. 7
Luke Waterfall – having captained Lincoln to the National League title in 2016-17, Waterfall offers some leadership; he carried out the simple tasks reasonably well and, when he was under pressure from one man like Andrew, he generally took control. Sometimes though, when Shrewsbury are under more sustained pressure, they need a centre-back who will dominate the box and Waterfall didn’t quite do that. 5
Mat Sadler – defended sensibly: he knew that Andrew had a physical advantage over him and thus it would have been unwise to be adopt an aggressive approach. This calm and calculated method of defending though tends to work best when the centre-back has a partner with the athleticism and bravery to attack balls into the box – Sadler doesn’t have that this season, following Aristote Nsiala’s summer exit. 6
Omar Beckles – as a centre-back by trade, Beckles is never likely to attack the flank directly but he did make some good inverted runs in the first half, which Rochdale found difficult to pick up. The ball-playing qualities he developed at Aldershot and Accrington make him comfortable in the opposing half. 7

Anthony Grant – looks almost like an Abu Ogogo lite. The midfielder certainly earns comparisons with last season’s key performer due to his tenacity and willingness to do the dirty work. Might not quite be at the same level in terms of pace and stamina – there was a period at the start of the second half where he lost his grip on the midfield slightly – but showed mental strength to recover and looks a useful cog at the base of the diamond. 7

Oliver Norburn – for a four-man midfield to work, it needs the wide players to be very disciplined without the ball and Norburn was almost always in position A; he was not shy to go strong in the challenge when called upon, too. Took his penalty confidently and deserved his late winner, even if his shot from outside the box found it’s way past Moore via a deflection. 9
Greg Docherty – although billed as an attacking midfielder, Docherty had to fulfil, perhaps, a slightly more circumspect role than expected; he had to stay in his defensive third for long periods to block out spaces for Williams. Equally though, the Rangers loanee still made some well-timed runs into the final third and, by shaping to shoot on 72 minutes, he created space for Norburn to bag the winner. 5/1 with some bookmakers in free football tipster competition with cash prizes to score anytime at Wycombe. 8

Josh Laurent – in theory, there was something perplexing about tasking a lanky player with triggering the press by playing as the furthest forward of four midfielders. In practice, however, Laurent did a very good job of it and the former Hartlepool man’s impressive work rate in his own half meant Dale struggled to find gaps in the final third. Teed up Okenabirhie’s equalizer, too. 7

Aaron Amadi-Holloway – the former Oldham man is perhaps not the most technically refined striker at this level and there was, at times, a rawness to his game. Where he deserves immense credit, however, is his willingness to keep pressing, making positive runs and trying to set up his teammates. 7
Fejiri Okenabirhie – having been playing in the National League with Dagenham last season, Okenabirhie can still improve in terms of the quality of shooting, which will come with practice and more third-tier action. If he can do that though, he could become one hell of a player because here, he won the penalty with his quick feet and tapped in the equalizer, a goal which should give him a massive boost, as should the standing ovation when he was taken off late on. It was fully deserved, because he never stopped hassling the opposition. 8

Lenell John-Lewis – the shop-named striker is an honest worker and has had some good seasons in the National League, but it remains to be seen whether his level of ability is suited to League One. 5
Abo Eisa – the speedy winger, who has thrived in non-league with Uxbridge and Wealdstone, has not had quite as many opportunities in League One as he might have liked but here he showed plenty of raw energy in a short period. Many of the natives are hoping to see more of him. 6


Magnus Norman – the Fulham loanee had impressed at non-league clubs including Southport, but needs to cut out the errors in his game if he is to succeed at League One level. Needed to be braver for Shrewsbury’s second goal and more alert for their third. 4

Joe Rafferty – whenever Rochdale have been successful, Rafferty has been the rampaging right-back offering pace and width. On Saturday, baring a short period at the start of the second half when he briefly came alive, he looked a shadow of that player. One cannot help wondering whether he needs some extra competition for his place. 4
Harrison McGahey – the former Sheffield United defender carried the ball into the opposing half on one or two occasions and showed enough intelligence in possession to suggest he might flourish in a slightly different system. Not as brave as he could be though when defending his box, as we saw for Shrewsbury’s second goal. 6
Ryan Delaney – the versatile defender had been used at left-back at times last season, but is now more often being deployed at centre-back. The Irishman is only 22 but looks old-school in style: he has a willingness to quickly make last-ditch blocks and put his body on the line. 6
Sam Hart – it was a day to forget for the Liverpool loanee, who gave away the penalty in the first half and might, perhaps have been at fault defensively on a few other occasions. This could be partially forgiven were he a useful outlet for his side in the opposing half, but when Shrewsbury effectively closed off spaces down Dale’s left channel, Hart appeared to run out of ideas. 3

Callum Camps – without the energy of Matty Lund or Jamie Allen alongside him, Camps found it difficult to dictate play in the deep-lying playmaking role. Although he saw a decent volley saved midway through the first period, much of the game appeared to pass him by. A performance that adds credence to internal suggestions that his Spotland career is in danger of stagnation. 4

Stephen Dooley – the Northern Irishman has earned rave reviews since joining from Coleraine and it is clear he has talent. Dooley looks technically very capable, as evidenced by his influential role in Dale’s equalizer. Sometimes though he suffered from a lack of movement around him. 7
Ian Henderson – there are still question marks about whether his lack of pace can sometimes undermine the fluidity of Dale’s attacks; Keith Hill moved his captain, who has scored each of his 10 goals when playing up top, into an advanced midfield role which did not quite feel natural. Although Henderson is a great finisher, finding a suitable role for him within a system appears challenging. 4

Jordan Williams – the wide forward impressed in non-league with Barrow but here, he strayed too far inside into congested areas. Not his best performance in general play prior to being taken off, but on the plus side, he did score with a low, hard shap-shot to bag his first EFL goal since joining Rochdale in 2017. 5
Calvin Andrew – the target man offers perhaps a stronger physical presence than Henderson and he showed a willingness to make that presence felt, but doesn’t quite have the mobility to run in behind. After Wilbraham came on he moved to the left wing, but the closing stages proved that crossing isn’t among his main attributes. 6
Brad Inman – the audacious Aussie’s return from injury has boosted Dale. The wide man was one of their better players in the first half; he showed discipline without the ball as well as a willingness to support attacks in transition. He made one or two good challenges and took his goal well, so might feel slightly unfortunate to have been taken off after the interval. 7

David Perkins (on 69) – the midfielder is a popular figure for his work at Spotland in the past but at 36, he looks slow and unfortunately past his best. Gave the ball away in the lead-up to the equalizer. 3
Matt Done (on 79) – the 30-year-old, who has played up top and at left wing-back has most recently been deployed in midfield, floated towards the left channel but did not appear to have a clear role in a chaotic closing period. 5
Aaron Wilbraham (on 79) – the former Bolton and Bristol City striker was brought in for his Championship knowhow, but is perhaps too similar in style to Andrew to provide too much value to the squad. If anything, his arrival made Dale look even more imbalanced, as the team struggled to produce the kind of deliveries he was likely to thrive on. 4