MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 3 Shrewsbury 0

Uwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler

David Ball stole the show at Highbury as the classy forward put Shrewsbury Town to the sword with a sublime curling effort.

The third Town goal and Ball’s second of the night was a scene-stealer as the blonde hit-man expertly curled the ball into the top corner to seal Town’s third successive win after wing-back Conor McLauglin had opened the scoring.

Fleetwood head coach Uwe Rosler made just one change to the side that beat Chesterfield 2-1 on Saturday with Devante Cole coming in for Ash Hunter.

Rosler also opted to stick with the same new 3-5-2 formation he utilised against Chesterfield with ex-Town player Antoni Sarcevic only starting on the visitors bench.

Town had the first real chance of the game as wing-back McLaughlin, fresh from scoring his first international goal, nodded George Glendon’s pin-point corner from the right just wide at the near post.

Grant had two long range effort firstly tipped round the post by Halsted after he pounced on a loose Junior Brown pass and then an effort blocked after Pond had knocked down Glendon’s corner.

It was a competitive first half with Shrewsbury pressing Town and cutting out the gaps but Town upped the pressure the other way and caused errors in their defence but could not capitalise.

Town did finally find a way to tame the Shrews in the 38th minute as Kyle Dempsey raced through the centre and showed his rugby league past as he muscled his way ahead of an opposition player to roll the ball on to Bell on the left, he fed Cole and he fizzed the ball across the box for wing-back McLaughlin to fire home from close range.

Town failed to clear their lines in the box as the ball fell to the unmarked AJ Leitch-Smith on the right and his ball in was nodded straight at Cairns by Toney.

But the second-half was a different story as Shrewsbury tired and Rosler’s men turned on the style to stroll to victory.

Glendon’s delivery from set-pieces continued to impress as he whipped in a sublime corner from the right but Cian Bolger’s diving header was way off target.

Town attacked in numbers once again and after Shrewsbury had just managed to halt Ball and Cole the ball fell to Bell in space on the left of the box who pulled the ball back to Ball in the middle and he clinically slotted home.

The Shrews were not down and out as Leitch-Smith saw a fierce effort crash into the side netting as Cole wasted yet another opportunity up the other end.

Ball put the game to bed in the 73rd minute as he sublimely curled the ball into the right corner.

Rolser brought Victor Nirennold on for Glendon in the 76th minute with Nirennold slotting in at right wing-back and McLaughlin moving into a central midfield role.

Ball had several late opportunities to deservedly complete his hat-trick but it was not to be as he sliced the ball wide of the right stick and he and Nirennold both wasted good opportunities with Town camped in Shrewsbury’s six-yard box.

Hunter and Ball combined well in the dying embers but Town could not increase their lead as they picked up their biggest win of the season and another clean sheet to move up to eighth in the League One table.

Fleetwood: Cairns, McLaughlin, Eastham, Pond, Bolger, Bell, Dempsey (Sowerby, 84), Glendon (Nirennold, 76), Grant, Cole (Hunter, 72), Ball. Subs not used: Neal, Jonsson, Amadi-Holloway, Godswill.

Shrewsbury: Halstead, Sadler, Black (Waring, 69), Toney, Dodds, O’Brien (Sarcevic, 85), Brown, Grimmer, Deegan, Leitch-Smith, El-Abd. Subs not used: Leutwiler, McGivern, Lancashire, Smith, Ebanks-Blake.

Attendance 2111