Backe (right) is the new chief at Notts County
Swedish manager Hans Backe endured a frustrating first game in charge of League 2’s richest club. Fellow promotion hopefuls Shrewsbury Town came away from Meadow Lane – but it could, and should have been more.
Town started the better of the two sides, their slick passing creating an opportunity but Kevin McIntyre’s low cross just evaded the lunging Waide Fairhurst at the far post. But it wasn’t long until they had the lead, Dean Holden’s cross falling nicely for on-loan Jamie Devitt who buried his finish low past Kasper Schmeichel.
The match really came alive after half-time. Notts County came out in search of an equaliser, and Steve Phillips had to be alert to deny former Shrew Luke Rodgers at the near post. But is was Shrewsbury who had a glorious chance to extend their lead. Dean Holden put in another teasing delivery, which Schmeichel did well to claw out. The ball fell to top scorer Dave Hibbert, but his volley was cleared off the line.
It turned out to be the turning point in the game, as Town began to come under serious pressure. Backe introduced Ade Akinbiyi from the bench and he quickly produced a smart turn and shot to test Phillips. However it soon told, as skipper Graeme Lee lingered at the far post and Luke Rodgers found him in acres of space to nod in.
Shrews manager Paul Simpson was understandably disappointed with the final score, but this game was a fantastic advert for League 2 football.
Posted in Notts County, Shrewsbury Town
Tagged Ade Akinbiyi, Dave Hibbert, Dean Holden, Graeme Lee, Hans Backe, Jamie Devitt, Kasper Schmeichel, Kevin McIntyre, Luke Rodgers, Notts County, Paul Simpson, Shrewsbury Town, Steve Phillips, Waide Fairhurst
Harrold grabbed the winner for Wycombe
Saturday saw league leaders Wycombe travel to home-specialists Shrewsbury who lay in third position. A win was vital for Town, who needed to close the six-point gap between the two sides.
Wycombe started the game well, with right-back Lewis Hunt raiding forward and crashing a shot against the bar. And the Shrews looked nervous, with goalkeeper Luke Daniels putting on a particularly bad display. Daniels had several poor kicks, leading to Wycombe attacks – one arriving at the feet of Matt Harrold who shot from 40 yards only to see Kelvin Langmead clear off the line.
However the goal didn’t come, and Shrewsbury ended the half the stronger, with Graeme Coughlan glancing a header wide from six yards.
Wanderers came out in the second half with Peter Taylor’s words still ringing in their ears. They grabbed the lead soon after, Gary Holt swinging in the corner straight to Luke Daniels, who was engulfed by three Wycombe players, Matt Harrold getting his head on the ball. It furthered the goalkeepers poor game – it really did look like a simple ball to claim.
Shrewsbury then set about a comeback. However Wycombe looked solid, and could have put the game beyond doubt when Harrold went clear only to fire wide. But a draw could have been salvaged late on, as a barrage of pressure rained down on the Wycombe defence. Coughlan and Dave Hibbert both had chances from six-yards, Coughlan mis-controlling to Hibbert, who then missed his kick. And Grant Holt headed over from close-range late-on.
All-in-all, Shrewsbury have themselves to blame, a particularly poor display in a game they really needed to win. Wycombe showed the sign of champions here – mark my words.
Saturday Dec 20 Results:
Accrington Stanley 1-3 Rotherham
Aldershot 2-2 Grimsby
Bournemouth 2-0 Bury
Bradford 0-0 Chester
Darlington 2-2 Barnet
Exeter 4-1 Rochdale
Gillingham 1-1 Brentford
Luton 1-1 Morecambe
Macclesfield 0-4 Dag & Red
Notts County 0-1 Lincoln City
Port Vale 0-1 Chesterfield
Shrewsbury 0-1 Wycombe
Posted in Shrewsbury Town, Wycombe Wanderers
Tagged Dave Hibbert, Gary Holt, Graeme Coughlan, Grant Holt, Kelvin Langmead, Lewis Hunt, Luke Daniels, Matt Harrold, Peter Taylor, Shrewsbury, Wycombe Wanderers