BARNETT THE MAIN MAN IN DEBUT TO REMEMEBER
Striker plays role of super sub
TYRONE Barnett paid back the first installment of his big money move to Shrewsbury Town by bagging a brilliant late equaliser against Southend United – much to new manager Micky Mellon’s delight.
Barnett joined the Shrews on transfer deadline day from Peterborough United in a deal believed to be worth six figures.
And he made an immediate impression on his debut, capitalising on a rare mistake from Southend goalkeeper Daniel Bentley to fire home from an acute angle, leaving Mellon grinning from ear to ear.
“It was great for Tyrone to come on and get the goal and that’s exactly why we brought him in,” said Mellon.
“As soon as Southend scored we went to a back four and changed things at the other end too.
“I think that changed the course of the game and it certainly made us more of a threat.
“We wanted to be more physical in the final third and I think we were.
“We know we weren’t at our best and when that happens you have to show different qualities.
“You have to battle and we did that here.
“We dug it out and we’re pleased with a point against a team who are up there with us on merit.”
The share of the spoils maintained Shrewsbury’s unbeaten home record
but it also saw them slip off the top of the League Two table and down to third in the standings.
The Shrews threatened early on with Bobby Grant dragging a low shot wide of the left post, but for the rest of the first half Southend were on top.
On-loan Charlton Athletic man Joe Pigott saw a close-range header well saved by Shrewsbury goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler before the keeper also smothered Adam Thompson’s well-struck volley from Ben Coker’s left-wing corner.
After the break Shrewsbury were back on top with Ryan Woods having a well struck shot from 20 yards smartly smothered by Bentley.
But, with 54 minutes on the clock, Southend went in front with top-scorer Jack Payne bagging his seventh goal of the season.
The attacking midfielder was picked out well by Michael Timlin before rifling a rising right-footed shot in to the top right-hand corner of the net.
Southend almost doubled their lead when Pigott curled an 18-yard shot inches wide of the right post but Shrewsbury then began to get back into the game.
Connor Goldson saw a close-range header palmed away by Bentley before the keeper was at fault for the Shrews’ equaliser five minutes from time.
The young shot-stopper spilt the ball when attempting to stop a corner being conceded and that enabled substitute Barnett to fire an impressive effort into the back of the net from an incredibly acute angle, via the inside of the right post.
And Shrimpers boss Phil Brown was full of praise for Barnett who admitted he was also interested in signing the forward.
“We looked into signing Tyrone but were quoted a figure of £300,000 which we couldn’t afford,” said Brown.
“I think you saw what he’s all about here because although you can say it was a mistake from the keeper it was still a fantastic finish.
“He made a difference when he came on and it was disappointing we weren’t able to hang on for the win and a put a real marker down against a top side.
“I would’ve taken a point before the game but I certainly wouldn’t have taken it at half-time because I felt we were the better team.
“But I think drawing here has shown we’re real title contenders and we need to take that in to the two home games we have coming up next week now and keep doing what we are doing.”
CONTEST: Shrewsbury's Cameron Gayle left, challenges Southend’s Joe Piggott for the ball
HOOK: Tyrone Barnett gets the better of Southend keeper Dan Bentley to find room to shoot and score
STAR MAN MICHA
EL TIMLIN Southe