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Club News

Shrewsbury 2 Rovers 2

20 January 2018

Issam Ben Khemis’ first league goal earned Rovers a point as they fought back from two goals down at Montgomery Waters Meadow.

Shrewsbury Town, sitting second in Sky Bet League One before kick-off, played with the confidence their league position brings and lead 1-0 at the break through Mat Sadler.


Carlton Morris extended their lead early in the second half, but Rovers showed real character to level through strikes from Mathieu Baudry and Ben Khemis.


Rovers boss Darren Ferguson brought Joe Wright back into the starting line-up, partnering him with Andy Butler in the centre of defence.


The home side showed little hangover from the 120 minutes they went through in the midweek FA Cup replay loss at West Ham, with their first opportunity coming inside the opening minutes - thankfully, for Rovers at least, Morris did not catch his effort cleanly and it spooned away out of danger.


Butler was booked for a challenge after eight minutes, Morris headed over from the resulting free-kick but there was to be lasting damage as the club captain had to come off due to an injury from the tackle. Baudry came on in a straight swop for Rovers.


Injuries were a recurring theme for Rovers, with Wright needing treatment after 16 minutes when a clash of heads brought blood - meaning a bandage and a change of shirt.


The home side took the lead after 23 minutes, with Sadler forcing the ball home from a corner.


The best chance of the opening half for Rovers came in the final stages when Tommy Rowe and James Coppinger combined well, with the latter jinking into the area before a low shot which was turned around the near post by home keeper Dean Henderson.


Alfie Beestin came on at the break for Rovers, replacing Rodney Kongolo, and the visitors started well in a frenetic opening to the second period.


Ian Lawlor made a brilliant stop at his near post from Aristotle Nsiala’s header immediately after the restart.


Moments later Beestin led a break down the left which resulted in Niall Mason dragging a shot wide.


Max Lowe dragged an effort wide, as the third effort in as many minutes after the restart.


The goal which looked likely to come in the match went the way of the home side after 52 minutes, with Morris firing home from a corner. It was particularly frustrating for Rovers as Wright was off the pitch getting further treatment on his head injury, with yet another new shirt and even more bandaging wrapping around his whole head.


That goal threatened to knock the stuffing out of the visitors, but they played their way back into the game and - after the visiting dugout and both sets of fans had joined in a minute’s applause in memory of the late Cyrille Regis - threatened again on the hour mark.


Ben Whiteman threatened after 62 minutes when he had a powerful effort which was deflected behind for a corner.


Rovers got themselves back into the game from the resulting corner. James Coppinger played it in from the left and Baudry bundled it in at the near post.


That goal changed the game, given Ferguson the confidence to make an attacking change with Ben Khemis coming on in place of Houghton.


The home side followed by bringing on the defender Omar Beckles for Alex Rodman, who had been a threat going forward for the Shrews.


The equalising strike came a couple of minutes after that change, with Ben Khemis delivering a deep cross into the area.


His effort was a little too deep for Baudry and John Marquis who were rushing in, but Henderson was unable to keep the ball out and Rovers were level with some real momentum.


The visitors looked to have the bit between their teeth, but a crunching tackle on goalscorer Ben Khemis after 85 minutes ended his match and meant Rovers finished with 10 men.


While Rovers looked the fresher side in the closing period, at this point they were content with the fightback and a well-earned point.

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