MEAN SHREWS EQUAL RECORD
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
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