Shrewsbury Town v Aldershot Town FA Cup 1st Round Match Preview – Saturday 4th November 2017
On Saturday, The Shots take a break from National League action in order to take their place in the First Round of the FA Cup. The draw could barely have dealt them a tougher tie, as they must visit League One Shrewsbury Town, the highest placed team at this stage of the competition, when the draw was made.
Rob Worrall previews the action…
Should Forest Green Rovers loanee Fabien Robert be fit, he could play a part in the tie, given this week’s loan extension. Ipswich pair George Fowler and Adam McDonnell have also been granted permission to play in the competition by Mick McCarthy. Bobby-Joe Taylor (knee) is back in light training, but is still a few weeks away from a return, whilst Nick Arnold will be out until at least March as he recovers from a long term cruciate ligament injury.
Shrewsbury Town FC were formed in 1886 and currently play at The Montgomery Waters Meadow stadium, which has a capacity of 9,875. Elected to the Football League in 1950, the club has since competed in each of the lower three tiers of the Football League, in addition to one season spent in the Football Conference in 2003-2004. They are one of very few clubs to have ‘bounced back’ after just one season in the top tier of Non-League. Between 1910 and 2007, the club was based at Gay Meadow on the banks of the River Severn.
Former Ilkeston, Boston United and Grimsby Town manager Paul Hurst currently holds the reigns at Montgomery Waters Meadow, with Chris Doig (who played two games for Aldershot Town on loan in 2011-12) his Assistant. Both have extensive Football League careers behind them, as well as experience of the top end of Non-League football. Hurst played an astonishing 15 seasons at Rotherham United, whilst Doig racked up more than 200 appearances for Nottingham Forest and Northampton Town.
A poor start to the league campaign, with just one win in their first ten fixtures, saw Micky Mellon sacked as Shrewsbury Town boss. Hurst took the helm just over a year ago, on 26 October 2016, and eventually steered ‘Salop’ to 18th place in League One.
Shrewsbury Town have taken League One by storm and remained unbeaten until just last weekend, when they went down 1-0 at Peterborough United. Despite the defeat, they remain top of the league, with 37 points from just 16 matches, having won 11 and drawn 4 of those fixtures.
Hurst has put together an excellent playing squad. He has Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson between the sticks. Former Bolon and Bury full-back Joe Riley is now back in the team after suffering ankle ligament damage in the final game of last season. At centre-back, Hurst can call upon Club Captain Mat Sadler, Aristote Nsiala or former Shots star Omar Beckles, who joined Salop from Accrington Stanley in the close season. Highly-rated James Bolton – another summer capture from Gateshead – is likely to start at right-back. In midfield, Hurst can call upon the likes of Norwich City loanee Ben Godfrey, Shaun Whalley (ex Luton Town), Abumere Ogogo (ex Dagenham & Redbridge), Jon Nolan (Chesterfield) and another former Shot, Alex Rodman, who also played for Hurst at Grimsby Town, before joining Notts County and then signing an 18-month contract for Shrewsbury in January 2017. Up front, former Dover striker Stefan Payne (43 goals in 83 starts for Dover Athletic) is now banging in the goals in League One. He is currently the top scorer with six goals.
If you were to combine the results of Aldershot FC and Aldershot Town FC, matches between the two sides are dead even, with both having won 10 matches and drawn 16 of the 36 matches played between the two clubs. But perhaps the two most high-profile matches between our two clubs occurred in 1979 and 2004.
This year’s FA Cup draw will have immediately brought back memories of the FA Cup Fifth Round ties between Aldershot FC and Shrewsbury Town in 1979. The Shots scored what they thought was a late winner at The Rec, only for the visitors to level in stoppage time to earn a replay, which they won, going on to play Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Quarter-Final.
Terry Brown’s part-time Aldershot Town side met Shrewsbury in the 2003-04 season Conference Play-Off Final, which was played at Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium. Aaron McLean scored the Shots goal, before Salop levelled and the game went to extra-time and penalties. Sadly, The Shots failed to score any of their spot-kicks and The Shrews returned to the Football League, just one season after they were relegated from it. A lesser known fact from that day is that England goalkeeper Joe Hart was an unused substitute for Shrewsbury.
Saturday’s referee is Ross Joyce, who has refereed 15 matches so far this season, showing 63 yellow cards and one red. He may have set some sort of record in late August to early September, when he showed an astonishing 30 yellow cards and one red in just three matches, including 12 yellow cards in the 2-2 draw between Luton and Mansfield.
BBC Surrey’s Rob Worrall will be covering the game on Saturday, bringing radio listeners up-to-date with reports every ten minutes. Should you wish to listen to live commentary of the match, you’ll need to tune in via the BBC Sport website or the BBC Sport App to BBC Radio Shropshire’s coverage. You can also contact Rob throughout the afternoon via Twitter. Tweet your predictions and thoughts on the game to @RobShot66.