The day began with me heading for the train for the trip to Shrewsbury. I was looking forward to the game and visiting Greenhous Meadow for the first time. The early afternoon sun was shining as I stepped off my train inside Shrewsbury station, I knew beforehand that the walk to the ground was a touch under 2 miles but I had time to burn and the weather was on side, so off I set on a meandering stroll that took me through the centre and then into the suburbs which, obviously were residential. I crossed over the River Severn, stopping slightly to photograph its quiet beauty.
When the Greenhous Meadow first came into my sight I was surprised how isolated and alone it appeared. A retail park down the road and a 5-a-side football centre it’s only neighbours. I skirted around the ground a little before entering. My seat in the Bandea Stand was nicely positioned a couple of yards from the half way line, positioning me perfectly to oversee the match ahead. Unfortunately the pre game excitement soon dissipated, first of all burning my mouth on the pie I purchased and hastily bit in to. Then onto siting in the stand, I felt as if I was sitting in the middle of a field, the wind had picked up and a short shower left me cursing my luck. At least the game was about to begin, the warm up was over and the stadium announcer bellowed out the player’s names over the tannoy. However, just 1 minute into the match Coventry midfielder Andy Rose suffered a clash of heads with his own player Nathan Clarke. What occurred afterwards was a 19 minute delay, now I’ve been to hundreds of football matches in my life but I have never witnessed a delay so long and drawn out. My hopes and concerns go out to the player himself who I hope is not suffering too much and makes a full recovery from his injury.
Once the game resumed, Shrewsbury looked relatively lively, with Shaun Whalley whipping a dangerous cross agonisingly across the face of goal, none of his fellow Shrews able to get a touch. Afterwards though Coventry seemingly took charge of the game. Jordan Turnbull lashing a volley towards the Shrews goal only for Jayson Leutwiler to turn behind. Shortly after, Stuart Beavon forced Leutwiler into another impressive save to keep the score even. Then came a rare moment of Shrewsbury attacking, Stephen Humphrys brought the ball down well back to goal and turned, a little switch of feet wrong footed the defender and he angled a low effort towards goal only to see it flash just wide of the post. Shaun Whalley on the right of midfield for the Shrews was a constant threat and looked dangerous every time he picked the ball up so the fans dismay was justified when he picked up a knock towards the end of the half and had to be replaced by Alex Rodman who picked up a yellow card within minutes of his entry. When the surreal sight of 19 minutes added time occurred, Coventry were in control of the game with Ben Stevenson and George Thomas looking sharp in midfield for the visitors and Stuart Beavon keeping the Shrews centre halves occupied. Then, out of nothing from a Shrews corner Nathan Clarke was adjudged to have handled the ball and the penalty was given. Tyler Roberts stepped up after his midweek brace but Lee Burge saved a poor penalty. The half time whistle followed shortly after, with the home support not impressed with what they had seen. During half time, I bought a hot chocolate to try and get some of the sensation back in my hands. Inevitably with my first sip I burnt my tongue again, that’s me not tasting food for a few days…
The second half was worse than the first and was an all round scrappy affair. Coventry had the better and more meaningful possession of the ball but only really had a Stuart Beavon effort again saved by Leutwiler to show for it. Knowing more than a point was needed Coventry brought on Jodi Jones to no effect. Shrews substitute Freddie Ladapo put himself about as much as possible but to little avail. The game petered out with really only a couple of corners make note of. The final score a 0-0 draw helps neither team in their struggle against relegation. Coventry have a serious uphill task if they are to avoid the drop. Shrewsbury on the other hand sit above the relegation zone and with their handy home record I’d expect them to survive come May.
Overall it was a tough day in Shrewsbury both for me and football wise. The people of Shrewsbury were lovely, warm and welcoming throughout. A real strong community feel to the place. I’ll definitely be back in future, may even bring the other half. The football left a lot to be desired but take the rough with the smooth, not every game will be a thriller and I’m better for the experience as a whole.