Shrews smash and grab home win
Carlisle United put on a much-improved performance but came away empty-handed as Shrewsbury Town picked up their fifth home win of the campaign courtesy of two well taken goals from two rare meaningful attacks.
The Shrews huffed and puffed their way to what became just their second win from a barren two-month spell as the Cumbrians dominated for long spells without quite managing to see their hosts off.
Carlisle played much the better football as they started brightly with Liam Noble sending an early volley at Weale following a messy spell of head tennis.
Joe Garner then pulled an opportunistic long range effort wide of the target when he pounced on a poor clearance from Grandison, and the pressure mounted as both Edwards and Miller went close from decent deliveries from McGovern.
A flowing move down the Shrews left brought a back-heel from McGovern to send Simek clear and his low cross invited Miller to make a run. The big striker connected well but his flicked volley spun away from the target.
McGovern was the supply line again when he sent Simek on the overlap. His cut-back brought a deep cross and Miller was unlucky when his touch was blocked at source.
Matt Robson was next to go close when he stood his ground for another inch perfect McGovern inswinger. He tried to glance his header into the bottom corner but he got too much on it and it flew into the stands.
The Shrews struggled to get out of their own half but they nicked the lead against the run of play when they exposed the visiting defensive weakness with a direct piece of play. Matt Richards sent a long ball forward and Luke Rodgers turned provider as he cushioned it with his back to goal. His reverse pass released Jon Taylor on the overlap and one touch from him opened things up when Chantler lost his footing. He didn’t need to be asked twice and he made no mistake with a rising shot into the top corner.
Carlisle picked up where they had left off after the restart and they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession as they pushed men forward.
Robson sent a 30-yard free kick into the wall as the away pressure mounted and Miller had a decent attempt which rose late and whipped into the hands of the waiting Shrews stopper.
And their industry was rewarded when Chris Chantler pounced to claim the ball in the centre circle. He skipped past one challenge and fed a perfect through ball which allowed Liam Noble to pick his spot with Chris Weale well beaten.
The game tightened up with a wayward Matt Richards strike from distance the only other incident of note from a tense first half.
United survived by the skin of their teeth just after the break when an attempted clearance from Chantler was charged down. An overhit cross was recovered by Parry, and the return pass left Goldson with the width of the target to aim at, albeit from a very tight angle. Gillespie scrambled across to save it on the line.
But Carlisle were still the better side and they went close themselves when Noble sent a stinger from a tight angle just wide of the far post.
The Cumbrians looked confident and a McGovern free kick evaded everybody as bodies packed the box. Matt Robson kept an eye on it and drilled a fierce shot towards the bottom corner. Weale saw it late and luck was on his side when the ball hit his chest and bounced away to safety.
Noble then sent an edge-of-the-box shot right at the keeper when Garner touched it into his path and that signalled the start of a better spell for the home side as they shook themselves out of their shells.
The Shrews edged ahead for a second time when Marvin Morgan picked the ball up from deep and surged forward. His run took him into the area and fortune shone down as his shot deflected into the path of the waiting Paul Parry. He had the relatively easy task of guiding the ball into an empty net.
Lee Miller almost marked his long awaited return to action with a goal when he connected with an intelligent cross from Symington, but his volley rose sharply and curled just over the top.
Carlisle kept pushing but they couldn’t find the breakthrough as Shrewsbury protected their lead with every man occupying a position in the final third.
“They grabbed two goals against the run of play and that hurt us,” manager Greg Abbott said. “We played some good stuff so it is really, really disappointing to lose like this. Things like this happen when you are on a poor run and we just have to make sure we take positive things and keep our heads up. We will come through this, I can guarantee that, because we all believe in what we are trying to achieve.”
Shrews - Taylor (22), Parry (64)
United - Noble (33)
Shrews - Grandison (49)
United - Miller (58), Robson (90)
Shrewsbury Town - Weale, Grandison, Jones, Richards, Morgan, Taylor, Parry (Purdie 83), Goldson, Wildig, Rodgers (Bradshaw 90), Gayle. Subs - Anyon, Jacobson, Hall, Doble, Woods.
Carlisle United - Gillespie, Simek, Livesey, Edwards, Chantler, McGovern (Symington 77), Noble, Thirlwell, Robson, Miller (Cadamarteri 88), Garner (Beck 85). Subs - Collin, Welsh, Potts, Gjokaj.
Referee - Mr Keith Stroud
Attendance - 5,260 (326 away fans)