Burton Albion have lost two consecutive games for the first time since the reappointment of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink after falling to a 2-1 defeat at home to Shrewsbury Town.
Strikes towards the start of each half by Curtis Main and Harry Chapman saw the Shrews earn all three points against the Brewers - a result which sees them move five points ahead of tonight's opponents and a further ten points clear of the relegation zone.
A Sean Clare wonder-strike did give Burton hope of a draw in the last 30 minutes, but they did not provide enough of a threat going forward to salvage a point out of the game and they remain in 18th place, seven points adrift of the drop with 10 games remaining.
Story of the game
Despite a bright start to the encounter, it was the visitors that took a surprise lead in the most bizarre of fashions after only seven minutes.
A cross from the left by Main took a big deflection which looped over goalkeeper Ben Garrat and despite the best intentions by Tom Hamer to clear the ball, the linesman deemed the ball to have crossed the line leading to the goal being awarded.
After the goal, the hosts made a decent response to going behind as they pushed forward looking for a way back into the game.
However, they struggled to create any real opening, with a Michael Bostwick effort from range, which sailed off target being their real only sight of goal inside the first 16 minutes.
Following the lively start, the clash did settle down as neither side really were able to get a shot away as Shrewsbury gained a grasp and control of the game as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's side failed to really break through the away sides three at the back.
Their only real opportunity for the remainder of the half came on the brink of half time when Hamer met a Jonny Smith set-piece, but his guided header could only find the side netting.
After the break, the game continued to play out in the same slow fashion that was seen for the majority of the first half.
Although, on the 56th-minute mark the Shrews took a massive step towards the three points when a Nathaniel Obeta cross from the left found Chapman unmarked inside the area, and he had the technique to strike the ball into the bottom right-hand corner.
However the two-goal margin only lasted for four minutes when Clare was found in space on the left by Bostwick, he then cut inside and hit a powerful shot into the top right-hand corner, leaving Harry Burgoyne with absolutely no chance.
In the final 30 minutes, with the prospect of a point within their reach, Burton failed to really create too much in terms of meaning with their best opportunity of rescuing a point falling in stoppage time when substitute Joe Powell had a sighter, but his effort was fired narrowly over Burgoynes bar.
Lack of threat going forward proves costly for Brewers
Despite halving the deficit with half an hour remaining, Burton did not do enough with the ball in possession to earn anything out of the game as the end result proved to be justified.
Their only goal of the game by Clare was in fact their only shot on target as Garratt was left throughout the entirety of the 90 minutes with very little to do.
This is something that will disappoint Hasselbaink especially with him knowing they have a decent source of goals through Kane Hemmings, who so far this season has 13 goals to his name.
However, he did not receive the service especially from wide positions that he would have ideally liked as it proved to be a difficult evening for the forward against Shrewsbury’s back three.
Shrews defensive structure crucial to determining victory
The fact that the hosts were not able to create much in terms of clear cut openings has to be put down to how solid and stable Shrewsbury were on the defensive side of things.
In their three at the back formation, it was very rare that Burton found space in behind the backline and they forced Hasselbainks side to nothing more than efforts from range, which more often or not came to nothing.
Following this solid defensive performance, Shrewsbury now hold the ninth-best defensive record in the division and tonight’s display outlines exactly why that is the case.
Standout Player - Harry Chapman
The on-loan Blackburn Rovers forward who was one of five changes that Shrewsbury made today certainly gave a statement of intent as to why he should make back to back starting appearances next time out at home to Portsmouth.
Not only did he take his goal really well through his controlled volley, his energy when dropping back into midfield and his will to win back the ball will certainly be something that Steve Cotterill who is still recovering from covid will be keen to see more of.
Then when found with the ball into his feet, he showed to be quick on the mark with his layoffs which was something that helped the visitors look dangerous when launching forward on the counter attack.