Shrewsbury 2 v Wimbledon 0
Wimbledon goalkeeper James Shea was stretchered off injured as the Dons lost 2-0 at league leaders Shrewsbury Town on Saturday (14 February).
The former Arsenal keeper – who has been steadily building himself a reputation since his summer switch from non-league Harrow Borough – suffered a nasty-looking injury in the 15th minute when he collided with Shrews forward James Collin.
After eight minutes of on-pitch treatment, Shea was withdrawn to make way for young reserve keeper Joe McDonnell, who was unable to keep a clean sheet on his league debut as two goals either side of half-time saw the home side to victory.
Afterwards, boss Neal Ardley told DonsPlayer: ‘He [Shea] was a bit groggy at first, but fingers-crossed he will be fine.
‘He took a whack and blood was coming out of his nose, but he came around pretty quickly and he should be fine for next week.’
The home side started this game full of confidence, befitting their form as promotion favourites so far this season. Ironically, their first significant opening came after a promising Wimbledon attack, as Callum Kennedy and Craig Tanner almost combined to release David Connolly.
But Shrewsbury gained possession and swept up the pitch, with Scott Vernon firing just over the bar to signify their intent.
Jordan Clark also spurned a chance for the home side, firing just over, before Shea’s early departure.
McDonnell got an early chance to steady his nerves when he reacted smartly to gather a corner under pressure, and Wimbledon started to come more into the game as an attacking threat around the half hour mark.
Tanner twice went close while Connolly also fired over the crossbar following a George Francomb corner as the visitors started to press.
But their efforts were scuppered in first-half injury time when the Dons failed to clear their lines following a deep cross and the ball fell to Liam Lawrence, who fired home through the crowded area to put the hosts 1-0 up.
And soon after the break they were 2-0 ahead. This time it was a Lawrence corner that was met at the near post by a thumping header from Vernon, with McDonnell given no chance.
With growing confidence, Shrewsbury continued to push forward and James Collins unleashed one long-range effort that rebounded off the bar.
Although Adebayo Azeez forced a smart save from Shrews keeper Jayson Leutwiler and Jake Reeves fired just off target, the game ended up going the way of the form book as the home side maintained their unbeaten home record.
‘We should not be too downhearted because we played good stuff at times,’ Ardley reflected.
‘They are a very good team with a lot of quality players. Unfortunately, a few key moments lost it for us.’
The Dons will be looking to bounce back when they entertain Luton Town at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (21 February), before travelling to strugglers Hartlepool United the following weekend.
Shrewsbury: Leutwiler, Grandison (Randall 90), Goldson, Ellis, Demetriou, Woods, Clark, Lawrence (Grant 91), Vernon, Collins, Barnett (Akpa-Akpro 73). Subs not used: Vincent, Gayle, Halstead, Mandron.
Goalscorers: Lawrence 45, Vernon 49.
Booked: Ellis 43.
Wimbledon: Shea (McDonnell 23), Fuller, Winfield, Oshilaja, Kennedy, Francomb, Bulman, Reeves, Azeez (Akinfenwa 63), Connolly (Rigg 68), Tanner. Subs not used: Smith, Moore, Beere, Potter.
Booked: Azeez 2, Winfield 85.
By Rob Crane
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February 16, 2015