Shrewsbury Town (Away)

Jul 14, 2023 | 2023 A Season in Review

Montgomery Waters Meadow Tuesday 2nd May 2023

Shrewsbury Town 2

Leahy (3), Street (53)

Bristol Rovers 1

Coburn (70)

Referee: Lee Swabey Attendance: 5,949

The penultimate game of the season, against Shrewsbury Town, saw Joe Barton make just the one change to his starting XI and he chose to leave out striker Aaron Collins in favour of John Marquis;.

It was only the second time that Collins had been left out of the starting lineup for a league match this season. In the opposition camp, former Rovers skipper Luke Leahy was wearing the Shrewsbury armband.

It was his 100th game for the side managed by Steve Cotterill and the top scorer was quickly into his stride, adding goal number 12 just three minutes into the game. When Elliott Bennett (brother of former Rovers player Kyle) swung a corner to the back post Leahy rose unmarked to power a header past Ellery Balcombe.

Grant Ward was unlucky not to equalise when he unleashed a powerful shot that was well blocked by Tom Flanagan and as Rovers gradually played themselves into the game they thought they had won a 25th minute penalty when Josh Coburn was pushed to the floor by Chey Dunkley.

Although the striker fell in the area, referee Lee Swabey deemed the foul had taken place just outside, so it was a free kick not a spot kick. Sam Finley, yet to score this season, stepped up and fired a fierce effort into the Shrewsbury wall.

Two minutes before the break Ward again let fly, this time with a powerful volley, that was well blocked by Tom Flanagan.

Eight minutes into the second half the home side scored again after Robert Street outpaced Jarell Quansah down the right and hit a shot across Balcombe which nestled in the bottom corner of the net. The on loan Crystal Palace player had attended his grandmother’s funeral that morning and driven to the game from London straight afterwards.

He and another Palace loanee at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, Killian Phillips, were being monitored by Palace Ambassador Mark Bright, who was sat in front of the media representatives.

Five minutes after the second goal, Barton decided he’d had enough and made a quintuple substitution – that’s five all in one go in case you’re wondering! I believe that’s the first time a Rovers manager has done that.

The game immediately changed and Rovers dominated proceedings and took the game to the home side at every opportunity. Coburn scored his first goal since 7th January when he was on hand to head home from a yard out after substitute Scott Sinclair’s cross dropped to him via the crossbar.

The striker was then denied by goalkeeper Marko Marosi after being played in by another substitute, Collins, while Luca Hoole, also one of the quintet of replacements, really should have scored six minutes from time but he managed to head Lewis Gibson’s cross over the bar from six yards out.

Marosi had the final say, with an outstanding save from an equally outstanding shot from Ward who, on the night, was probably Rovers’ best player.

Shrewsbury Town: Marosi. Flanagan, Dunkley, Moore, Bennett, Winchester, Leahy, Shipley, Street (Pyke, 77), Phillips, Bowman.

Substitutes: Burgoyne, Bloxham, Craig, Barlow.

Bristol Rovers: Balcombe, Gibbons (Hoole, 58), Quansah, Gibson, Gordon (Macdonald, 58), Ward (G), Finley, Bogarde (Sinclair, 58), Marquis (Evans, 58), Coburn, Loft (Collins, 58).

Substitutes: Ward (J), Connolly.


Former Rovers player Luke Leahy was in the Shrewsbury Town side

Yellow cards were issued to Luca Hoole and Aaron Collins

Sam Finley was skipper

Five substitutes used – all introduced at the same time. The first occasion that Rovers have made a quintuple substitution

Ten added minutes

(photos courtesy of JMP)

Keith Brookman