Date: 19th March 2011 at 9:40pm
Written by:

Shrewsbury Town 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1

All the talk will be about Gareth Ainsworth’s equalising goal that never actually crossed the line – and the Shrews have every reason to be furious – but on the balance of play, a draw was a fair result.

The Blues upped their game considerably compared to recent performances and totally dominated the opening 30 minutes albeit without troubling Shrews’ keeper Ben Smith.

The home side looked nervous in the wake of their 5-0 defeat at Torquay and Wycombe did all the early pressing with Montrose, Betsy, Beavon and Bloomfield all firing shots high or wide of the target.

The importance of scoring when you’re on top, was brought home to the Blues with a vengeance when James Collins gave Shrewsbury the lead against the run of play after 31 minutes.

Matt Bloomfield mis-kicked an attempted clearance inside his own box and the ball spun high in the air before Matt Harrold did enough to keep it in the danger area and Collins pounced to stab it home from close range.

It was a sickening blow for the Blues. Not only were they a goal behind, but the Shrews grew in confidence as a result and looked a totally different side for the remainder of the game.

Bloomfield had an opportunity to make amends shortly afterwards but wanted a couple of touches too many when played-in by Ainsworth and the chance was gone.

There was still time for Bloomfield to fire another one over the bar and Beavon to draw a save from Smith, before Foster played a suicidal back-pass at the other end to almost gift the home side a second goal.

The Shrews did put the ball in the net again immediately after half-time but Collins was adjudged to be offside.

Five minutes later Wycombe were level when Ainsworth’s clever header had Smith scrambling across goal before diving full length and apparently stopping the ball on the line. To the delight of the travelling support the linesman saw things differently and signalled to the ref that it had actually crossed the line. The Shrews weren’t happy.

Blues keeper Bull made a great save from Nicky Wroe and Matt Harrold blazed one wide as the home side began to turn the screw, but their best chance fell to Jon Taylor who blasted his shot over the bar when faced with an open goal after Bull had done well to block another effort from Wroe.

For Wycombe, Montrose fired a free-kick over the bar and Winfield did likewise with a header, while Ainsworth and Beavon at least hit the target but saw their shots comfortably saved by Smith.

The Blues deserved a point, but the linesman’s decision could have a big impact on the promotion race, and if I was a Shrewsbury supporter, I’d probably sulk for a month.

Gary Waddock will be delighted with his side’s improved performance, but must surely be worried about their lack of a cutting edge in recent weeks.

Line-up & ratings
Bull (7), McCoy (6), Winfield (6), Johnson (7), Foster (5), Ainsworth (6) (Strevens 84 (n/a)), Montrose (6), Bloomfield (6) (Donnelly 74 (4)), Betsy (5), Rendell (5) (Pittman 66 (5)), Beavon (7).