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Shrewsbury Town 1 Blues 2

Posted: Thu 26 Jul 2012
Author: Andy Walker
Chris Burke beats his marker and swings in a cross

Chris Burke beats his marker and swings in a cross

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Blues chalked up a deserved victory at the Greenhous Meadow Stadium after another encouraging pre-season performance.

Blues chalked up a deserved victory at the Greenhous Meadow Stadium after another encouraging pre-season performance, writes Andy Walker.

Goals from Mitch Hancox and Nikola Zigic cancelled out Marvin Morgan's opener for Shrewsbury Town to secure Lee Clark's first win as Blues boss.

Fresh after a decent workout against Borussia Monchengladbach in Munich on Saturday, the Shrews provided another stiff test for Clark's boys, who stepped things up a gear in the second-half.

And talking to afterwards, Clark admitted that the npower League One new-boys had been the ideal opposition for his side at this stage of the summer.

He said: "Shrewsbury made it tough and that's the reason why these games are picked. We haven't picked games to be walkovers. I think the days of those sorts of pre-season fixtures are well and truly gone because you don't gain anything from it.

"You want to come to clubs like this and come up a very experienced manager like Graham Turner. You know that your team's going to get a very tough workout. That's what it's about, making sure that you're ready from the start of the season. Winning 8, 9 or 10 nil doesn't do that for you."

Turning to his own team, Clark continued: "There were lots of positives, still one or two areas that we'd like to brush up on, but it's early days and I'm delighted with the progress we've been making. We've got some talented footballers and we're doing lots of good things."

Blues started the match with a 4-4-1-1 formation with Nathan Redmond playing off the lone frontman Adam Rooney and it was the Irish centre-forward who came close to opening the scoring first.

Chris Burke's corner from the right found Rooney in the box and his volley produced a fine save from Chris Weale who tipped the effort on to the bar.

However it was the hosts who got their noses in front in the 17th minute. Luke Summerfield's deflected shot fell kindly to Paul Parry who picked out the rising head of Morgan from yards out, giving David Lucas no chance.

Darren Ambrose came close to hitting back for Blues just after the half-an-hour mark but miscued his close range effort, from Redmond's cross from the right, over the bar.

Yet born-and-bred Bluenose Hancox made no mistake with a bold dash into the Shrewsbury box in the 39th minute. The Brummie left-back, encouraged by the Blues boss, charged into the box and ignored the presence of Rob Purdie to force Burke's low cross home.

Clark made five changes to his side at the interval and reverted to a 4-4-2 formation for the second-half. The substitutions almost paid off immediately with both Redmond and Zigic coming close to putting the visitors in front. Redmond's shot stuck the post, Marlon King pounced on the rebound and squared the ball to Zigic who saw Jermaine Grandison clear his far post chance off the line.

The giant Serbian had two further chances before the hour mark. Firstly his clever run found Burke's delivery at the near post only to poke his effort wide before a neat one-two with King, the end product of a flowing counter-attack from the back, ended with a low shot going inches off target.

There was reason for the 1,200+ travelling Bluenoses to cheer in the 63rd moment as club legend and current trialist Darren Carter was introduced to proceedings.

Zigic's perserverence paid off in the 72nd minute. Substitute Akwasi Asante's low drive was tipped away by Weale but Zigic was there to pounce on the rebound and slam home the away side's winner.

Shrewsbury Town: Chris Weale, Rob Purdie (Mark Wright 75), Joe Jacobson (Darren Jones 65), Luke Summerfield, Jermaine Grandison, Connor Goldson (Ryan Doble 60), Aaron Wildig (Terry Gornell H/T), Matt Richards (Asa Hall 65), Tom Bradshaw (Jon Taylor H/T), Marvin Morgan (Michael Hector 69), Paul Parry (Ryan Woods 75).
Subs: Joe Anyon, Elliot Turner.

Blues: David Lucas; Jack Deaman, Pablo Ibanez (Curtis Davies H/T), Steven Caldwell (Will Packwood H/T), Mitch Hancox; Chris Burke (Akwasi Asante 69), Hayden Mullins (Marlon King H/T), Wade Elliott (Morgaro Gomis H/T), Darren Ambrose (Darren Carter H/T); Nathan Redmond (Josh Hawker 75); Adam Rooney (Nikola Zigic H/T).
Subs not used: Nick Townsend, Brice Ntambwe, Jake Jervis.