Pools Disappoint At Greenhous Meadow
Ronnie Moore restored Marlon Harewood to the starting eleven after the striker completed a three-match suspension and it quickly became clear that Pools were not content to simply defend against fourth-placed Town.
Liam Lawrence sent the first effort on goal but his shot took a wicked deflection and looped up wide of Scott Flinders far post, before Mark Ellis headed the resultant corner over the bar.
Lawrence was again involved as Town threatened again moments later; this time the former Sunderland man fizzed a ball in to Andy Mangan who set it through first time for James Collins but the front man screwed his effort wide.
Pools were looking a menace on the counter-attack and Jonathan Franks almost shocked the home crowd when he bundled his way through the Shrews’ defence and sent a left-foot drive agonisingly wide of the right-hand post with Jayson Leutwiler rooted to the spot.
Town suffered a blow when James Wesolowski was stretchered off, but his replacement Bobby Grant looked a threat and his clipped cross from the right found Connor Goldson up from the back only for the defender’s looping header to fall wide of the target.
The game was heating up and both sides were showing attacking ambition; Franks’ cross from the right found Marlon Harewood who opted to try and control it on his chest and the chance was gone and Town launched a counter-attack where Grant’s shot was deflected wide by Collins.
Michael Duckworth was given too much space to move forward and as he reached the twenty-five yard point he decided to let fly with a vicious dipping strike which Leutwiler did well to claw round the post. Dan Jones headed wide from the corner as Pools became more of a danger for the hosts.
Rakish Bingham was causing problems with his pace and direct approach, his clever play on the halfway line almost freed Harewood through on goal but Leutwiler stormed from his line and got to the ball first.
Bingham then headed over from Jack Compton’s precise cross from the left before Harewood slashed wild effort wide from the edge of the box after another good attack.
Pools were well on top as the half time break approached and Bingham’s deflected shot almost caught out Leutwiler who had to back track and push the ball over the bar.
There was even time for Bingham to fire a vicious dipping effort just over the bar before the break as Pools finished the half with a flourish.
That momentum couldn’t be carried through in to the second half though and within five minutes of the restart Pools were behind. A long diagonal ball found Mangan who was fortunate to control the ball as he ran away from it but took full advantage of the good fortune to spin skilfully beyond Scott Harrison at the left byline and rifle a finish past Flinders.
Compton headed over at the other end before Shrewsbury doubled their lead just before the hour mark; Cameron Gayle did well down the right to feed Grant whose deep cross was nodded won by Collins at the far post in to Mangan who cushioned it back to his strike partner and Collins finished well in to the top corner.
Flinders had to produce a wonderful save to his right to deny Goldson after the defender got free to head on goal from a corner but it was only brief respite for Pools. From the resultant corner Pools managed to half clear, but Grant whipped the ball back in from the left and Mangan was given far too much space to glance a header past Flinders and make it 3-0.
Substitute Scott Fenwick could have reduced the deficit when he forced his way in to a shooting position on the left of the box but he dragged his finish across goal and wide.
Godson came out of defence with the ball and stormed towards the edge of the box, exchanging passes with Collins before putting it on to his left foot and drawing a good save from Flinders with a powerful strike.
Town were comfortably on top by this stage though Pools did have some joy on the break but Aaron Tshibola struck a couple of efforts just wide and Franks saw his left-footed drive well palmed away by Leutwiler.
But it was job done for the hosts as they kept yet another clean sheet on home soil and consigned Pools to another defeat which leaves them nine points adrift at the foot of the table.