REPORT | Wanderers 2 Shrewsbury Town 2

Jack Iredale disappointment

Wanderers look destined for the play-offs after a second successive home draw made a top-two finish unlikely, writes Pete Oliver.

The Whites’ automatic promotion hopes aren’t entirely over with two games to go.

But Ian Evatt’s men still trail Derby County by three points with an inferior goal difference after allowing Shrewsbury to claim the point that puts them on the verge of League One safety.

The Shrews twice led before half-time as Wanderers again conceded too easily.

And despite fighting back to level thanks to Cameron Jerome’s first league goal for the club and Paris Maghoma’s lovely second-half equaliser, the Whites couldn’t find a third a goal which would have kept the pressure on Derby down the final straight.

Evatt was without some key men as he was forced to omit captain Ricardo Almeida Santos and defensive sidekick Gethin Jones.


Cameron Jerome celebration

Midfielder Josh Sheehan was also not risked, while striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson will sadly miss the rest of the season with a calf injury.

That weakened Wanderers’ hand, but they still had chances to complete a successful comeback before having to accept a result which means that despite just one defeat in their last 10 games, they look set to come up short in their quest to go straight up.

The play-offs remains a viable option and Evatt’s side know they are guaranteed a home tie in the second leg by finishing at least fourth – if it comes to that.

But they also know they need to get all their players fully fit and firing again to regain the winning habit and top gear for a play-off campaign, should the improbable not come pass in the final eight days of the regular season.

Dion Charles and Dan Nlundulu both finished on the pitch against Shrewsbury and will need more minutes against Port Vale and Peterborough following lengthy injury absences.

And Victor Adeboyejo may also figure again to add a further attacking option and the goal power Evatt’s men needed in the second half against Shrewsbury.

The damage was arguably done before the break when the dangerous Dan Udoh fired Salop in front on the break and Jordan Shipley drilled home a brilliant second from a clever corner routine.

But Jerome’s well-deserved and well-received goal, hooked home following a corner after earlier hitting a post, kept the Whites in the game.


Maghoma celebration Shrewsbury

And they should have been level five minutes into the second half with a chance for Nathanael Ogbeta he tried to convert with his chest, rather than his head, from in front of goal.

An equaliser then may well have given Wanderers the platform to go on and secure the win which would have had them breathing down the Rams’ necks.

But instead they had to wait another 20 minutes to make it 2-2 thanks to a wonderful finish from the magnificent Maghoma, curled into the corner from Kyle Dempsey’s pass to makje it nine goals for the season.

That left Shrews’ packed defence with less than a quarter of the game to hold out, thanks to a miserly amount of added time allowed by referee Scott Oldham.

And despite bouts of pressure around their penalty area they managed it without too many alarms, bar an effort in stoppage time from Jack Iredale which hit the outside of a post when Wanderers needed some late salvation to keep their hopes alive. 

Wanderers: Baxter; Forrester, Toal, Iredale; Thomason; Dacres-Cogley, Maghoma, Dempsey (Nlundulu 82), Ogbeta (Williams 76); Jerome (Charles 66), Collins. Substitutes: Coleman, Sheehan, Nlundulu, Morley, Taylor, Williams.

Booked: None

Shrewsbury Town: Marosi; Sobowale, Feeney, Dunkley, Anderson, Benning; Bennett, Winchester; Shipley (O’Brien 82); Bloxham (Perry 82), Udoh. Substitutes: Burgoyne, Sraha, Hicny, Price, Bayliss.

Booked: Marosi, Bennett

Referee: Scott Oldham

Attendance: 19,974 (343 away)

Read Time: 4 mins