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.