Southend United v Shrewsbury Town – MATCH PREVIEW

September 26, 2014 by Alec Hitchman

This Saturday sees Southend United take on Shropshire side Shrewsbury Town at Roots Hall in League Two. Both teams have had promising starts to the season, with Southend currently in 4th place and Shrewsbury in 6th. This will be the first meeting between The Blues and the Shrews since the 2011/2012 season, in which Southend won 3-0 at Roots Hall, before being beaten 2-1 in the reverse fixture at The New Meadow (Shrewsbury’s Ground).

In previous years, Southend do seem to fare rather well against Shrewsbury, having won 26 of the 57 meetings between the teams. Shrewsbury have won 17, whilst there have been 14 draws.

Both teams go into the game on the back of a win. Southend won their third game in a row last week, beating York City 3-2 away from home, whilst Shrewsbury beat former Premier League team Norwich City 1-0 in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday night (23/09). They have since been drawn at home to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in the 4th Round.

Who are Shrewsbury Town?
Full Name: Shrewsbury Town Football Club
Nicknames: Salop, The Blues, The Town, The Shrews
Founded: 1886
Ground: New Meadow (9,875 capacity)
Manager: Micky Mellon
2013-14 Season: League One – 23rd – Relegated to League Two.

Most Recent Line-Ups
Southend: Bentley, White, Prosser, Thompson, Binnom-Williams, Hurst, Payne (Ibenfeldt ’86), Deegan, Clifford (Atkinson ’76), Coulthirst (Worrell ’65), Weston
Shrewsbury: Leutwiler, Grandison, Goldson, Knight-Percival, Lawrence (Vincent ’89), Demetriou, Woods, Wesolowski, Gayle, Akpa-Akpro, Collins (Mangan ’85)

Last Time We Met
Shrewsbury 2-1 Southend
Southend: Morris, Clohessy, Gilbert, Phillips (Mohsni ’58), Barker, Grant (Hall ’56), Timlin, Martin, Kalala (Ferdinand ’83), Dickinson, Benyon
Shrewsbury: Neal, Grandison, Jacobson, Sharps, Cansdell-Sherriff (Regan ’78), Wright, Richards, McAllister, Taylor (Wroe ’90), Collins (Gornell ‘ 87), Morgan

Southend’s Last 5 Results:
York City (A) – W 3-2
Cheltenham Town (A) – W 1-0
Portsmouth FC (H) – W 2-0
Oxford United (H) – D 1-1
AFC Wimbledon (A) – D 2-2 – (Lost 4-2 on Penalties)

Shrewsbury’s Last 5 Results
Norwich City (H) – W 1-0
Newport County (H) – D 0-0
Carlisle United (H) – W 1-0
Stevenage (A) – L 1-0
Hartlepool United (A) – L 2-0


What Could Happen?
A win for Southend would take them up to second, if Burton Albion lose at home to Cheltenham Town and Wycombe Wanderers lose at home to Cambridge United. Blues could potentially go top of the league, if they win by 5 goals or more and Bury lose away at Exeter by more than 5 goals.

Shrewsbury, on the other hand could get back into the top three with a win. Three points for The Shrews would put them on 18 points and in third place. This would only happen if Morecambe lose at home to Northampton, and Wycombe Wanderers lose at home to Cambridge United.

For the Away Fans – A Quick Guide
Where Can I Drink? - There is a bar in the ground known as the Shrimpers Bar. Although this is mainly for home fans, away supporters do have access. Other than this, there is the Blue Boar pub on Victoria Road, which, on match days, only admits away supporters. It is about a two minute walk from the ground (heading towards the town centre). You will have to walk past The Spread Eagle in order to get to the Blue Boar, but “The Spread” is only open to home fans on match days.

Parking – There is plenty of street parking within walking distance of the ground, based in the many back streets behind and to the right of the away stand, otherwise, there is a car park at Southend High School For Boys, which charges £5 for match day parking.

Programme Price - £3.00

Postcode (for SatNav users): SS2 6NQ


Ahead of the game, I managed to get the opinions of two Shrewsbury fans:

1) What is your name and how long have you supported Shrewsbury?
Not being from round these parts, I'm a relative newbie (considering my age!). Saw my first Town game in 2001/02 and been a regular since our mercifully short stay in the Conference (2003/04 season).

2) What are your thoughts on Shrewsbury’s start to life back in League 2?
We should be nearer the top! No reason not to be delighted so far - a brand new squad has produced some outstanding performances and results already. Away league results have been disappointing by comparison - still no wins. We've not converted a high enough percentage of the chances we've created (home or away), that's all. I'm sure that'll improve and the away wins will come.

3) Which player has impressed you most?
Lots of candidates here but I expected some of them to be as good as they've been, so I'll go for Jordan Clark. A Barnsley reserve, loaned out to Hyde and then released but he's made an outstanding start for us. A very stylish and composed midfielder who rarely loses possession. That said, he's just lost his place in the team as his form has dipped a little and we needed Liam Lawrence back on the pitch! 

4) Micky Mellon arrived as your new manager in the summer, what do you think of him?
I think a lot of fans weren't overly excited at his appointment but he hasn't put a foot wrong. Assembled potentially our best squad in years, given us a great cup run and a real hope/expectation that we can challenge for a top 3 place. He seems to be in tune with the fans as well. I know there'll be harder times but couldn't have asked for more so far.

5) Will you be going to the game? If so, will this be your first visit to Roots Hall?
No, as much as I'd like to. I'll have to make do with the radio.

6) Which player should Southend fans look out for? As in, who is your star player?
Not sure we have a star player. It's a real team effort. Jermaine Grandison has been our best player overall for the last few games and has history against Southend - got sent off down there a few seasons back and scored the winner in our epic 10 man victory here in our promotion season. Woods and Wesolowski are building a great combination in centre midfield and Lawrence was superb against Norwich. Demetriou at left back was outstanding on Tuesday and 3-5-2 suits his game perfectly. No players have disappointed so far.

7) Tamika Mkandawire (Old Southend Player) spent last season with you before leaving upon relegation, what are your thoughts on him?
He didn't have a good season with us (not many did) and a lot of people will think that lets him off lightly. I didn't think he was as bad as others think but too often he seemed off the pace and his habit of turning back to the keeper became a source of real frustration. Scored a cracking goal against Bristol City but can't recall any other highlights.

8) What are your views on Southend United?
I'm expecting Southend to be one of the promotion challengers this season. You look to have a decent squad and the manager has a good CV. We haven't met for a couple of years so I don't know much about the current team. There are some familiar names there - Weston, Hurst, Corr, Barnard, Timlin, Worrall (who was with us a while back) but Jack Payne seems to be the up and coming talent.

9) How do you think the game will pan out and what do you think the score will be?
Our away record isn't good (2 points from 4 games) and, Tuesday apart, we haven't been great this month. Defensively, we've been quite solid though and after the great Cup win at Leicester we produced an outstanding display against Luton, when we could have won by 5 or 6. Hopefully, we can do something similar and carry Tuesday's form into the game. Salop fans will be looking closely at the formation. We've been at our best playing 3-5-2 and our recent dip came largely playing 4-4-2. But we need to make our best formation work away from home as well as it did at Leicester. I don't make predictions when my team is involved!


And the Second Shrewsbury fan:


1) What is your name and how long have you supported Shrewsbury?
Martin Berry. Been following the Town for 38 years, been an exile for 32 years and lived in Basildon for last 22 years.

2) What are your thoughts on Shrewsbury’s start to life back in League 2?
Totally change of tactics and ditching of loan policy has been refreshing change. Side still settling down which when it does will hopefully sort out away form. We are doing better against footballing sides who try to play through our midfield rather than over it

3) Which player has impressed you most?
With 17 new signings difficult to pick one. James Wesolowski, Nat Knight-Percival and Mickey Demetriou have made good starts. Good to have James Collins back

4) Micky Mellon arrived as your new manager in the summer, what do you think of him?
Promised to put a smile back on the Town fans faces and certainly delivering on that so far. Clearly has good people management skills. 

5) Will you be going to the game? If so, will this be your first visit to Roots Hall?
Closest game of the season so hundred per cent will be there. Been to Roots Hall over 40 times. First visit was April 1982 v Wimbledon

6) Which player should Southend fans look out for? As in, who is your star player?
Depends on which team and formation we play. To be honest we are playing as a team so danger could come from all over the pitch. Makes a real change not to be relying on one player.

7) Tamika Mkandawire (Old Southend Player) spent last season with you before leaving upon relegation, what are your thoughts on him?
Played in a poor side so don't think we saw the best of him

8) What are your views on Southend United?
Same question I am sure Southend fans ask themselves about where are the money goes. Always think it is a shame the home fans were moved from the North Bank. Always used to enjoy Friday night visits because of the fans sense of humour.

9) How do you think the game will pan out and what do you think the score will be?
Game will hinge on Shrewsbury not switching off and earning the right to play our passing football. Also Shrewsbury have been creating a lot of chances just need to improve the finishing. I would suspect a 1-1 draw.


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