Richard Walker's early goal was enough to seal a 1-0 home win for Shrewsbury against Darlington, who created the bulk of the chances.
Walker, on a season-long loan from Bristol Rovers, prodded in from close-range after skipper Ben Davies' effort was blocked.
But the visitors hit back strongly with impressive striker Pawel Abbott denied twice by keeper Luke Daniels after the break.
Darlington's misery was compounded six minutes from time when midfielder Ricky Ravenhill was sent off for a second bookable offence after tangling with Steve Leslie.
Shrewsbury may have added a second in the first half when Davies planted his header straight at Dean Gerken.
But Dave Penney's side looked brighter going forward with Abbott spurning a number of opportunities.
Paul Simpson's promotion hopefuls never looked convincing and barely created a chance in the second half. But the win, their 10th at home this season, was enough to help them back into the top seven and dent the visitors' own promotion hopes.