Marcus on Monday
By Marcus Braddock on 08/10/2019
Marcus Braddock takes his weekly look at all things Shrewsbury Town
Another weekend has been and gone, and this one brought us more cheer than the previous one. I'd hoped that the team might show a reaction to the Fleetwood performance and they certainly did with a second away win of the season and yet another clean sheet, bringing our total up to five from eleven games this season. You expect a team to push you at home and that's what's Micky Mellon's team did in the opening minutes, in particular, they tested Omar Beckles with a bit of the rough stuff. I'm not sure if it was a coincidence or a tactic, but if it was the latter, they gave up when it got them nowhere. I've been pretty impressed with Mr Beckles performances this season, when two new central defenders were brought in, I wondered what impact it would make on his game. Fortunately, it seems to have improved his performance levels, and we look relatively solid for the most part, whoever fills the three central defensive positions.
After Fleetwood had singled out Sean Goss for extra pressure, I was a little concerned that Tranmere might try and do the same although that faded a little when I saw the Tranmere line up with fewer players in midfield. They did look to push him a little, but he dealt with it quite well, which is pleasing as I think in Goss, Sam has an excellent passer of the ball who has good foresight for developing moves.
The goal was well deserved and although a few sources have the goal credited to Callum Lang, Aaron Pierre said after the game that Lang didn't get a touch and told as much after the game. It was a pretty slick goal to come from the boot of a central defender, and the angle was extremely tight with onrushing defenders getting ever closer. It's no more than he deserves for his hard work this season, he's looked another excellent acquisition, so good that I'm surprised he wasn't signed by a much bigger club rather than us.
In a way, it was a bit of shame that Callum Lang didn't get the goal as it would have capped off another relentless performance perfectly. He and Daniel Udoh worked tirelessly all game, but it just didn't fall right for either of them to get a goal. However, I think both of them have goals in them, and it's just a matter of time before one of them gets another.
Whoever scored the goal, it was exactly what we needed at exactly the right time. We'd looked like scoring in the few minutes before the goal, and I was hoping we could convert one sooner rather than later. The memory of our excellent first half an hour against Fleetwood was still fresh in the memory, and I was hoping we wouldn't again be punished for not converting our chances. Thankfully we got one over the line, and our clean sheet was the first one Prenton Park by an away team this season in Skybet League One.
Obviously, there are areas we can improve upon, as this team develops, I'm hoping that they would take more control after a sending off. Tranmere pushed us all the way and were unlucky not to level, despite the sending off of Connor Jennings after just 45 minutes for a second yellow card.
You always tend to think that playing against ten men will give you an advantage, but often it brings out the best in the opposition. If the player sent off was a defender, it might have caused them more problems, but Jennings is a striker, so they could still soak up our pressure defensively. Their forward options were impacted but having started with three strikers, losing one wasn't the end of the world.
We had good performances throughout the team, and I can't think of anyone who didn't contribute something positive. Josh Laurent in particular looks to have settled in well after a season at the Montgomery Waters Meadow and is carving out a reputation as an attacking midfield player who can press the opposition into mistakes. Once he wins the ball, he's capable of hurting them with it, and that makes him a very valuable asset. He's not the only one of course, but he has been putting in some good performances, and it's about time that I said something about him.
Our only game this week is on Tuesday night in the EFL Trophy, sponsored by leasing.com. We face Newcastle United U21 at the Meadow, a team that lost 2-1 at Macclesfield Town in their first game in this competition. Following that game, Town have a respite with no match for ten days until we play Lincoln City away on Friday the 18th of October.
If you still want some Shrewsbury Town action this weekend, the under18 team is at home to Rochdale at 11.00 a.m.