JUSTIN GLAD TO MAKE A POINT
JUSTIN Edinburgh insisted he was delighted with the display of his high-flying Gillingham side despite being pegged back by a James Collins equaliser as the points were shared at a wet and windy Greenhous Meadow.
Second-placed Gills fell behind to an own goal from Adedeji Oshilaja but hit back to lead 2-1 with goals either side of halftime from Cody McDonald and a Ryan Jackson screamer.
But Shrewsbury skipper Collins had the final word of an entertaining clash, although Gillingham boss Edinburgh was adamant it was far from all doom and gloom for his side.
“I think Shrewsbury are a team full of men, experienced pros, and I think we had to stand up to our task to match them physically and we competed really well for the first and second balls,” he said.
“When we did win those battles then we started to play. I go away from here absolutely delighted with the performance and with just a little tinge of disappointment with the result.”
Gills had lost their last three away games in league and cup at Walsall, Stevenage and Coventry, so Edinburgh was pleased to end that sequence.
“I think we needed a performance away from home to get things going again because we obviously know what we’re capable of at home,” added Edinburgh.
“I just felt that we needed to get going again and they certainly delivered a very good performance.”
Gills fell behind when Oshilaja headed Ian Black’s 31st-minute free-kick into his own net.
No sooner had Shrewsbury taken the lead, they were indebted to a string of saves from Jayson Leutwiler, the pick of them from Dominic Samuel’s near-post flick and then Bradley Dack’s effort.
But even the in-form Swiss keeper was powerless to keep out McDonald’s 37th-minute equaliser after he was set up by Dack.
Gills poured forward in search of the lead at the start of the second half and right-back Jackson duly provided as he smashed a 25-yard drive into the top corner of the net.
But Shrews kept battling away and deservedly equalised in the 70th minute when Collins poked a defence-splitting pass from strike partner Scott Vernon beyond Nelson.
Gills almost snatched a late winner when McDonald fired a shot against a post, but Shrewsbury manager Micky Mellon was proud of his side’s effort.
“It’s a very good point,” said Mellon, whose side sit 19th and just two points off the relegation zone.
“It’s probably the worst conditions that I’ve certainly encountered since I’ve been here, so it was going to be tough, but the lads stuck at it and they keep battling away.
“There are different qualities about a football team and it’s not just about stroking it around and playing pretty passes.
“Sometimes in English league football you’ve got to dig in and show the qualities we did here which was sticking together, fighting their corner and believing, and it looked like we had plenty of that.”
STAR MAN JAYSON LEUTWILER
Shrewsbury IT’S IN: James Collins of Shrewsbury Town finds the net. Inset: Defender Ryan Jackson of Gillingham shoots and scores