HERO JACK GETS SHREWS JUMPING
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.”
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