It’s joy for Shrews but Payne for Hill...
A GOAL from Barnsley loanee Stefan Payne gave Shrewsbury their first win in seven – and at just the right time – as Paul Hurst’s side climbed out of the bottom four.
Whilst Shrews boss Hurst was delighted with his side, counterpart Keith Hill was left fuming with his charges, stating that some of the players have played their last game for the club.
But it was a vital win for the Shrews, lifting them to 19th place, one point above the relegation places with four games left.
“We still have a lot to do but our destiny is in our own hands,” said Hurst.
“It was a massive win and we deserved it. Rochdale are a good side but we closed them down in midfield and worked hard to limit them to scraps.
“What also pleased me was the players did not let the pressure get to them. We knew we had to win and it was an extremely cool finish that won us the three points.”
Hurst’s post-match demeanour was in sharp contrast to that of Dale boss Hill.
“Our players have to find ways to win games,” he fumed.
“Some of the players out there have played their last game for me.
“I have players who, when away from home, don’t play the way they do when we are at home. That’s no good, we need players to perform every game.
“We have important games coming up, I’ve told the players I won’t be looking to lift them, I want them to lift me with good displays.”
The Shrews came close to opening the scoring on six minutes as Bryn Morris’ fullblooded effort was blocked by Dale defender Harrison McGahey.
The home side dominated the first half with Rochdale restricted to breakaways. As the home pressure mounted, Morris fizzed two efforts narrowly wide before the breakthrough came on 15 minutes.
Dale centreback Jimmy McNulty slipped when attempting to clear and the ball broke to Payne who raced clear to fire low past Conrad Logan.
Rochdale improved after the break but for all their endeavour could not breach a Shrewsbury defence well marshalled by Aristote Nsiala and Mat Sadler.
The closest the Shrews came to increasing their lead was Junior Brown’s angled drive from the left and a dipping shot from Morris.
Nathaniel MendezLaing thought he’d earned a point at the death, only for his farpost header to be correctly ruled offside.
STAR MAN ARISTOTE NSIALA Shrewsbury