The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Stu­art Dunn

MICKY Mel­lon watched his pro­mo­tion- chas­ing Shrews­bury side equal a club record for the most clean sheets in a Foot­ball League sea­son and quickly set his sights on beat­ing it.

Ex­eter, un­beaten in their pre­vi­ous eight games, had lit­tle an­swer to an ex­cel­lent team per­for­mance from Shrews­bury as Mel­lon’s men gained a sixth suc­ces­sive win to keep the pres­sure on lead­ers Bur­ton Al­bion.

Shrews­bury have now com­pleted 21 shutouts in League Two this sea­son – equalling a club record for the most Foot­ball League clean sheets kept in a cam­paign which was set in 1968.

“It’s ter­rific but we won’t be happy un­til we beat that,” said Mel­lon, whose side face an­other vi­tal game at fourth-placed Bury on Tues­day night.

“We’ll con­tinue to go into ev­ery sin­gle game and try and win it.

“Our pride won’t al­low us to think any other way.”

Ex­eter were blown away by Shrews­bury’s fire­power with Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro netting twice while top scorer James Collins and sub­sti­tute Ty­rone Bar­nett also struck to seal an em­phatic victory.

“I thought that was an ab­so­lute mas­ter­class from minute one to minute 94,” added Mel­lon, also high­light­ing the con­tri­bu­tion of his hard-work­ing French striker Akpa Akpro.

“We all know what he’s ca­pa­ble of so it’s no real sur­prise.

“The only sur­prise is he doesn’t do it more if we’re all hon­est, but he’s a ter­rific player and he’s a big part of what we do here.

“It would prob­a­bly be wrong of me to sin­gle out any per­for­mance be­cause I just thought that right through the whole side ev­ery one of them stuck to the plan and ex­e­cuted a top-class per­for­mance.”

Akpa Akpro fired Shrews­bury in front in the 18th minute, re­act­ing quick­est to turn in the loose ball af­ter a shot from Jor­dan Clark was blocked.

Ex­eter rarely threat­ened with a Lee Holmes shot turned round a post the only save they forced from home goal­keeper Jayson Leutwiler through­out.

Shrews­bury al­ways looked the more danger­ous side and dou­bled their ad­van­tage just past the hour, Collins lash­ing in his 17th goal of the sea­son af­ter a cor­ner from Liam Lawrence fell his way. Clark then turned provider again as his low cross from the right was steered in by Akpa Akpro be­fore Bar­nett drove an un­stop­pable shot from the edge of the box to the top cor­ner of the net in stop­page time.

It all added up to a tough af­ter­noon for well-beaten Ex­eter who sit three points out­side the play-off places with four games to play.

“We just didn’t seem to have the en­ergy or spark that we’ve had in pre­vi­ous games,” ad­mit­ted Ex­eter boss Paul Tis­dale. “It’s dis­ap­point­ing to lose the game.

“You have to write it off and move on. It didn’t go to plan and we’ve been beaten by a very good side, the bet­ter side on the day, and no grum­bles and we have to move on.”

SHREWS­BURY (4-4-2): Leutwiler 7, Gayle 7, El­lis 7, Gran­di­son 7, Demetriou 7, Clark 7 (Ver­non 84, 6) South­ern 7, Lawrence 7, Grant 7, Akpa Akpro 8 (Bar­nett 84, 7), Collins 7 (Man­gan 84, 6) Subs not used: Man­dron, Sharpe, Gin­nelly, Hal­stead EX­ETER (4-4-2): Ha­mon 6, Ribeiro 6, Bennett 5, McAl­lis­ter 5, Davies 6, Ser­combe 6, Oak­ley 6 (Ni­cholls 67, 6), Har­ley 6, But­ter­field 6 (Mor­ri­son 60, 5), Holmes 7, Cum­mins 5 (Wheeler 60, 5) Subs not used: Keo­hane, Till­son, Pym

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

BANG: Shrews­bury Town’s James Collins fires home their sec­ond AT THE DOU­BLE: Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro fires home amid a goal­mouth scram­ble STAR MAN JEAN-LOUIS AKPA

AKPRO Shrews


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