Report: Shrewsbury Town 2-0 Luton Town
The Town fell to their second defeat of the season as two goals from Jordan Clark helped Shrewsbury complete a comfortable victory.
The Hatters struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities, with home goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler saving their best effort from Matt Robinson’s arrowed drive from the edge of the box just before half-time.
However, on an afternoon to forget for the Town, Robinson was sent-off with seven minutes to go as the Hatters wait for their second win of the season continued.
Showing two changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Accrington – with Luke Guttridge and Jim Stevenson replacing the injured Andy Drury and Alex Lacey – the Town began backed by 1,000 supporters.
However, those fans and John Still watched on in horror as the home side took the lead in the third minute. A glorious pass over the Town defence from Shrewsbury centre-half Connor Goldson found Clark in acres of space and he has time to slot past Mark Tyler.
With their tales up, the home side – fresh from knocking Premier League Leicester out of the League Cup in the week – looked dangerous as they went in search of a quick second.
Paul Benson and Mark Cullen came close to reaching a low cross from Luke Rooney on nine minutes as the Town aimed for a quick equaliser. Rooney then volleyed wide following a corner on 12 minutes, but a minute later Still replaced the midfielder and sent on Alex Lacey as the Town went with three centre-halves in a change of a shape.
Lacey nodded straight at home keeper Leutwiler on 18 minutes from a Guttridge corner before Tyler had the easy task of keeping a low shot from home striker Scott Vernon two minutes later.
Shrewsbury were enjoying a lot of the ball, passing it confidently around the New Meadow pitch and chances continued to fall their way as the Town were pinned back. Vernon saw a shot blocked, Ryan Woods blasted over and then wide during a four-minute spell.
The home side continued to pass the ball around neatly. Striker James Collins fired over on 29 minutes before he tested Tyler with a curling shot from the edge of the box a minute later that Tyler did well to catch with the ball destined for the top corner.
Collins side-footed a shot straight at Tyler on 33 minutes but as half-time approached the Town began to find their stride. Stevenson’s clever ball through found Cullen but his cross looking for Benson was cleared.
Then, two minutes before half-time, the Town created their best chance of the first half. Luke Wilkinson strode upfield with the ball and Robinson rifled a well-hit shot from the edge of the penalty area that Leutwiler kept out, diving acrobatically to his left.
After the break the Town were indebted to a stunning save from Tyler to keep the score 1-0 on 57 minutes. Vernon’s cross from the right was perfect to the back post but Collins’ header from point blank range was somehow tipped over by the Hatters goalkeeper. It was a breath-taking save.
A minute later Still sent on striker Ross Lafayette for Cullen as the Town looked for a way back into the game. It resulted in a decent spell for the Hatters failed to Leutwiler into action.
Tyler then kept out a Woods effort from distance on 66 minutes before Guttridge was replaced by Pelly Ruddock Mpaznu in the Hatters’ final change two minutes later.
But any hope the Hatters had of earning a point diminished on the 70-minute mark. Clark’s free-kick from the right seemingly slipped through Tyler’s fingertips, under pressure from Collins, and the ball dropped agonisingly over the line.
Shrewsbury were sensing blood as the Town were reduced to rare forays in attack. Vernon smacked the crossbar with a poke at goal before heading the rebound over the bar with the goal gaping.
It was all the hosts as Tyler then tipped over Collins’ fine half-volley on 79 minutes but the Town’s hope of securing a point all but evaporated with seven minutes left when Robinson was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Cameron Gayle.
As time ticked down Tyler made another save, this time from substitute Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro’s shot from a tight angle and that was the final chance as Shrewsbury comfortably held on to secure all three points.
Town: Tyler; Howells, Connolly, McNulty, Wilkinson, Robinson, Stevenson; Rooney (sub Lacey 13), Guttridge (sub Ruddock Mpanzu 68), Benson, Cullen (sub Cullen 58).
Subs not used: Wall, Miller, Williams, Justham.
Attendance: 5,888, including 1,037 backing the Hatters.