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Shrewsbury Town 2 Rovers 0

26 February 2019

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Rovers were unable to turn a dominant second half performance into goals as they fell to defeat at Shrewsbury Town.

Grant McCann's men pushed to get back into the game and had several efforts cleared off the line, but that combined with some good stops from home goalkeeper Steve Arnold and some wayward finishing saw the Shrews hang on to claim all three points

First-half goals from Josh Laurent and Tyrese Campbell did the damage, as Rovers were made to pay for what manager McCann described after the match as a poor opening 45 minutes.

Marko Marosi was the first goalkeeper to be tested, doing well to save from Fejiri Okenabirhie before Rovers countered straight away through Mallik Wilks and Tyler Smith fired just over.

Campbell started to find his range with a drilled effort just wide after 12 minutes, before testing Marosi with an effort.

When Laurent looped home the opening goal of the game after 18 minutes, when a corner was cleared into his path, it was no more than the home side deserved.

But Rovers would wonder what might have been as Tom Anderson was off the pitch receiving treatment to a head injury, leaving them to patch up their defensive plans for the set-piece.

Rovers looked to respond quickly as Ali Crawford tried to round off a good move from the left by lifting an effort towards a top corner, but Arnold was well placed to hold the ball.

Anderson, suffering from concussion, was unable to continue any further and had to be replaced by Andy Butler.

Rovers had begun to show signs off life as the game ticked past the half-hour mark, but a slick counter-attack from the Shrews saw Campbell beat the offside trap and fire home a second goal of the game.

Wills, who had really grown into the game, tested Arnold with a late effort after riding a foul while John Marquis had a shot blocked.

James Coppinger was introduced for the second half, replacing Smith, and he almost had an instant impact as a bit of trickery won a free-kick within a minute of the restart.

Rovers had four players looking to convince the home defence they would take the set-piece, with Ben Whiteman's eventual effort deflected wide.

Rovers looked a different side now, with Marquis lifting the ball just over the bar after Tommy Rowe won the ball back.

Wills had a shot saved and a Danny Andrew shot from distance clipped the head of Marquis before bouncing to safety.

A Coppinger cross was pinged around the area before being cleared, and Crawford had an effort deflected wide as Rovers were beginning to wonder if it was going to be their night.

They could not go much closer than they did after 78 minutes when Butler got on the end of a corner, with the ball eventually cleared off the line after a scramble - with neither the referee nor assistant feeling the ball had crossed the line despite claims from the visiting players.

There was another goalline clearance two minutes later as Kieran Sadlier, who had come on for Crawford almost scored directly from a corner - with home captain Luke Waterfall on hand to head the ball away.

Another scramble saw the ball cleared off the line for a third time with five minutes to go, as Rovers were unable to convert their second-half showing into any points.


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