HERO JACK GETS SHREWS JUMP­ING

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP FOURTH ROUND - By Stu­art Dunn

LOAN star Jack Grim­mer sealed a thrilling Shrews­bury fight­back by grab­bing a late win­ner as Micky Mel­lon’s League One un­der­dogs roared into the fifth round for the first time in 25 years.

Sh­effield Wed­nes­day led 2-1 with three min­utes re­main­ing of a pul­sat­ing tie, but Shaun Whal­ley equalised, fir­ing in the re­bound af­ter Lewis Price saved Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro’s penalty, be­fore Grim­mer, on loan from Ful­ham, won it deep into stop­page time.

“It was a ter­rific day for the foot­ball club,” said Mel­lon. “We know how much this town loves its foot­ball, and to feel the ground rock­ing like that and to have this club in­volved in games like this and chal­leng­ing big clubs like Sh­effield Wed­nes­day to get into the fifth round of the FA Cup, is what it al­ways should be. We’re very, very re­spect­ful of that.

“We try and make sure we give the fans th­ese days, th­ese af­ter­noons, and we’re de­lighted to have been able to have done that.”

With a re­play look­ing likely, Shrews­bury had the fi­nal word when sub­sti­tute Scott Ver­non led a counter at­tack and whipped in a fine cross from the left which was headed home by Grim­mer, only the se­cond goal of his se­nior ca­reer.

Mel­lon added: “Peo­ple are ask­ing for at­tack­ing foot­ball so I can’t do any more than my right-back get­ting on the end of a cross in the 97th minute. I’m de­lighted for young Jack – he’s a fan­tas­tic guy.

“As soon as I saw Ver­non go­ing up that left-hand side, he’s such a tech­ni­cally good foot­baller, I ac­tu­ally was com­men­tat­ing. I knew he would get a cross in the box and I just thought, ‘Some­body get on the end of that’, and bang, I was de­lighted, and the whole place just ex­plodes. It’s fan­tas­tic.”

Wed­nes­day boss Car­los Car­val­hal made nine changes but still fielded a side full of qual­ity and the Owls took a 19th-minute lead when mid­fielder Lewis McGugan’s free-kick from out­side the box found its way to the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

Shrews­bury, third-round con­querors of Cardiff, re­ally came alive in the se­cond half and the pace of front two Akpa Akpro and Andy Man­gan trou­bled the vis­i­tors. They com­bined for a 56th-minute equaliser when Man­gan’s cross was headed home by Akpa Akpro.

The French­man then forced a fine save from keeper Lewis Price while at the other end home keeper Jayson Leutwiler had to be alert to keep out shots from the im­pres­sive McGugan and Jose Semedo.

He stood no chance in the 76th minute when McGugan’s pow­er­ful 20-yarder took a de­flec­tion to beat him, but Shrews­bury re­fused to give in and stirred them­selves for a dra­matic fi­nale.

With three min­utes to go, Akpa Akpro was up­ended by Vin­cent Sasso and, al­though Price saved the penalty, sub­sti­tute Shaun Whal­ley fol­lowed up to con­vert the re­bound.

Six min­utes of stop­page time saw Wed­nes­day have strong penalty claims re­jected when At­dhe Nuhiu went down in the box and Shrews­bury swiftly broke to grab their win­ner.

“It was a cru­cial mo­ment in the last minute,” said Car­val­hal. “I’m a long time at the club and I never talk about ref­er­ees, never talk about ex­cuses, but when the score was 2-2 there was a mo­ment that was a very clear penalty to Nuhiu and it can de­cide the game.

“I don’t be­lieve that any­body on the pitch saw some­thing dif­fer­ent than a big penalty, but the ref­eree and as­sis­tants didn’t see what ev­ery­body saw.You don’t give a penalty and af­ter a counter at­tack Shrews­bury go 3-2.

“I must give con­grat­u­la­tions to Shrews­bury, go­ing to the next round.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

DO­ING SOME ARM: Shaun Whal­ley wheels away af­ter scor­ing Shrewbury’s se­cond and, in­set, Jack Grim­mer is mobbed by team-mates hav­ing bagged the in­jury-time win­ner

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