Striker woe for Shrews

Monday 22nd October 2012 13:57

Turner: in need of some goals

Turner: in need of some goals

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Shrewsbury Town FanZoner Nick Statham says not much is wrong at the club, except they can't score!

Goalscorer needed badly at New Meadow

Seeing us in the bottom four going into Sunday's game with Walsall set many a Salop fan twitching like Steve Evans at an HMRC Conference. It's been 15 years since we last played at this level and the road back has been long and arduous.

After escaping the Conference at the first time of asking, moving across town to a new ground and falling three times at the play-off hurdle, the thought of plummeting straight back down to the basement a'la Wycombe and Chesterfield is already starting to play on the minds of Salopians of a nervous disposition.

The pre-season optimism and hopes of maybe troubling the play-off places have been replaced by one sobering question: are we good enough for this division? I can put everyone's mind at rest by confidently stating that...we might be... probably.

It's an observation that will earn me nul points for originality but we badly need another striker. Preferably one who's played at this level, seen it, done it and can bring a bit of nous to the side.

That said, if Sam Winnall returns from injury and can start banging them in, then all well and good. The only criteria for this elusive saviour is that if a chance falls his way, he'll stick it in the back of the net 9 times out of 10.

The Hartlepool away game is a good example of the frustrations of our season so far. Leading 2-1 with just 8 minutes to go, we then miss 2 or 3 good chances to put the game to bed before a defensive slip allowed the monkey hangers to snatch a point at the death.

It's a fair point that you shouldn't need to score 3 goals to win an away game if the defence does its job properly. But after shipping out centre-half pairing Ian Sharps and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff in the summer, together with keeper Chris Neal, the defence was always going to take a while to click.


Two clean sheets in our last four league games suggests this is beginning to happen. Just two goals scored over the same period, though, demonstrates that scoring enough goals remains a problem.

Ironically, Sunday's televised game against West-Midlands rivals Walsall saw us capitalising on an opposition who didn't finish us off when they had the chance. In a welcome role-reversal, the Saddlers really should've been 2 or 3 up by the time Paul Parry followed up when Asa Hall's effort crashed back down off the crossbar.

That we didn't find ourselves out of the game within the first 20 minutes was largely down to the inspired keeping of Chris Weale, who rightlly claimed the MOM award.

We were much improved in the second half, although Weale had to be at his best again to deny George Bowerman after the now mandatory slip from Michael Hector - a player who looks a cut above 95% of the time but has an inexplicable habit of switching off at vital moments.

This weekend we travel to Portsmouth - a club who make the eurozone look a model of financial stability. A Pompey supporting friend of mine tells me we couldn't be playing them at a worse time, believing the recent news that the PST have been named the administrators' preferred bidder will result in a bouncing Fratton Park atmosphere on Saturday.

Given our chairman's slow-steady-and-stingy approach to developing a football club, it would only be fitting for us to give them a kick in the Charles Dickens and collect our first ever Fratton Park points on Saturday.

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