Shrewsbury Town are rooted to the bottom of League One and seemingly locked in a relegation battle.
Last night, new manager Steve Cotterill got to see what he referred to as the ‘supporting cast’, and he wasn’t entirely impressed with what he saw. With a squad of 32, he was able to make ten changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Charlton, as high-flying Lincoln City rolled into town for the Papa John’s Trophy Second Round.
Sadly, for Cotterill at least, his side were given a lesson in clinical finishing and chance creation. The Imps bagged two in the first half, Anthony Scully with a neat finish from Zack Elbouzedi’s break, then Elbouzedi himself claimed a header.
Salop pulled one back through Spurs loanee Shilow Tracey before half time, but it was only brief respite. In the second period, Remy Howarth finished Elbouzedi’s centre to make it 3-1, before a late Jorge Grant penalty compounded the home side’s misery in front of approximately 300 supporters.
Tracey looked by far the most dangerous player in blue and yellow, and may have had another late on after two vicious shots were blocked in the area. However, speaking to the Shropshire Star, Cotterill suggested that the on-loan winger has work to do.
“There were some good individual performances but the trouble is they were only individual and not maybe part of the team,” said Cotterill, [perhaps alluding to the Spurs man. “Shilow needs to work on other parts of his game for him to progress in his career,” he added.
The 22-year-old started his career with Ebbslfeet before a move to Spurs in 2016. He has appeared seven times for their Under 21 side, scoring once over three seasons. Last campaign, he joined Macclesfield for a short spell scoring once in seven matches. This time out, despite limited game time for Salop, he has four goals from seven outings.
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Tracey was almost certainly the most dangerous player for the home side last night, so perhaps Cotterill is referring to his single-mindedness when he gets on the ball. Whilst he is direct and certainly a goal threat, he may need to work on bringing others into play. With the greatest of respect, the supporting cast barely showed up last night, with former Forest man Jason Cummings anonymous throughout.
One the other hand, they were given a lesson in complete attacking football by the visitors. The last time these two met in this competition, Lincoln were only one season out of the National League and Shrewsbury were hunting promotion to the Championship. How quickly football changes.