BAD SHREWS FOR CLOUGH
NIGEL Clough has challenged his players to make amends for a “missed opportunity” after tasting defeat for the first time since returning to the Burton Albion hot seat.
A stoppage-time goal from Shrewsbury substitute ShaunWhalley knocked the leaders off their perch and compounded the manager’s frustrating afternoon.
“I’ve told the players that if we can’t get three points, we must come away with one – that would have left us in an even better position with other results generally going for us,” said Clough.
“We were pretty comfortable until their first goal when nine times out of ten a foul would have been awarded on our goalkeeper. That gave Shrewsbury the lift they needed.
“I knew it would be a tough game. Some people think you just have to turn up against a struggling team, score the first goal and it will be easy – it was never going to be like that.
“It’s a missed opportunity and we must now have a nice reaction from the lads in away games at Peterborough and Rochdale.”
Clough resisted the opportunity to comment on referee Graham Salisbury’s performance but his side barely got a decision all afternoon. Loan striker Stuart Beavon took a particular battering from a defence well marshalled by the experienced Zak Whitbread.
The visitors were indebted to a flying save from returning goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler in the sixth minute from Tom Naylor’s rasping 25-yarder.
But the guardian didn’t stand a chance from similar range 12 minutes later when full-back Damien McCrory hammered a low left- footer into his bottom corner after good work from Calum Butcher.
Shrewsbury, whose three debutants included elegant midfielder Richie Wellens, edged first-half possession but made little headway against an uncompromising Burton back four. The leaders struggled to find any fluency but Nasser El Khayati nearly doubled their lead on half-time with a venomous cross-shot that flew a yard wide.
An early flurry after the break brought Town their 52nd-minute equaliser. Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin fumbled Ian Black’s corner under Nathan Knight-Percival’s challenge and Andy Mangan got the decisive touch from point-blank range. Leutwiler made a vital parry from the industrious Mark Duffy and substitute Mason Bennett headed over as Burton piled on the pressure. But, after repelling five successive corners, the visitors broke for Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro to square for Whalley to slot the winner.
Shrews boss Mickey Mellon said:“It’s a fantastic result. Our challenge remains to find some consistency to put a run together but the lads have answered every question.
“We knew we had the pace to hit them on the break and that’s what happened at the end.
“I was disappointed to be a goal down at half-time but we rallied and kept battling away. There were only fine margins
between the teams.”