Date: 23rd November 2017 at 8:30pm
Written by:

If you like comedies, forget Shakespeare, you will enjoy visiting Valley Parade with your team, for the rest of us, it’s a tragedy, but we hit the road again this weekend and at face value, we have a very very daunting travel to New Meadow. If you asked me before a ball was kicked in August, the Shrews would have been one of the clubs I would see as a definite 6 points as they finished only 2 points above relegation a mere 6 months ago. Last campaign they only won 3 games on the road all of last season and had a goal difference of -17. Sounds like there is a but….

Like a big old unexpected smack in the middle of the face out of the blue the Shrews find themselves leading the division after 18 games and in a great position for a promotion tilt. They have already won 5 out of 10 away games thus far, unbeaten at home in 8 winning 7 of them, and looking at their recruitment pre season, it is impossible to fathom where they have sprung from, in fact you have to go back almost 30 years for Shrewsbury Town to finish higher than the bottom half of the 3rd division. Shrewsbury Town has always felt like a club that can’t justify why they have a football club, so what a pleasant surprise it is to see them head clubs such as Wigan, Charlton, Blackburn, but less pleasantly, heading Bradford.

Will City be Gay in the meadow?
City are jolly on the road, Bantams are enjoying our travels this season, and for some, Shrewsbury are a ticking time bomb and sooner or later it will just all cave in. In the Shrews first 18 games they only lost once in all competitions, but in their last 5 games they have 3 losses to their record. The wheels seem to be coming off the Shrews cart and a midweek loss to Bury might just expose that the Shrews are hitting above their weight and in a false position, even after 18 games. The Bantams have recently beaten Wigan on the road only last weekend and have only experienced 1 loss in all our away league games thus far. As I mentioned in the Wigan preview and the Scunthorpe review, City are currently the best team on the road and City stats are quite impressive. It feels the right time to play Shrewsbury, and another loss just might be enough to derail their train, if it already hasn’t. Dare I predict the result below…………

Will the Shrews feel brand New in the meadow?
Tables never lie, if the Shrews are hitting above their weight, if they have ridden their luck, if fans still expect the Shrews to come tumbling down, they are top of the pile after 18 games. Shrewsbury haven’t lost at New Meadow this season in all competitions, only Wigan have a better home record this season in the 3rd division, but I will make it clear, the Latics have played 2 more home games than the Shrews and in having done so, have gained 1 more draw, not forgetting 1 more loss. The Shrews are just enjoying their time at the moment which makes them more of a dangerous team than a more technical or skilled opponent. Get the basics right, play as a team and a positive can do attitude is working wonders, so it’s no surprise Paul Hurst has managed to keep his charges focused for the job in hand. I may not be able to point out a star player in their ranks, I may not be able to big them up in any way possible, which makes it much harder for any team in this division to plan to beat them.

Head to head and form
52 games
23 Shrewsbury Town Wins
17 Bradford City Wins
12 Draws

Yes, it’s official, Shrewsbury Town are better than us. They have almost won half of all of the games between our 2 clubs, the last being the 1-0 slight win back in January at New Meadow thanks to a Freddie Ladapo just before half time. The last time City have won away at Shrewsbury was back in September 2009, a 1-2 result where Gareth Evans and Michael Flynn put the Bantams 0-2 up just after half hour. Dave Hibbert pulled 1 back in the 2nd half. The last double went in the favour of the Shrews in the 2010/11 season whilst City haven’t achieved the feat since 1988/89.

Shrews last 6 LWLWLW
Shrews last 6 home LWWWWW
City last 6 LWLLWW
City last 6 away WWLWWD

Shrews last 6 results
Bury (A) 1-0 loss
Rotherham (A) 1-2 win
Walsall (H) 0-1 loss
Aldershot (H) 5-0 win
Peterborough (A) 1-0 loss
Fleetwood (H) 1-0 win

City last 6 results
Scunthorpe (H) 1-2 loss
Wigan (A) 1-2 win
Plymouth (H) 0-1 loss
Rotherham (H) 0-1 loss
Chesterfield (H) 2-0 win
Portsmouth (A) 0-1 win

Goals in numbers, last 6 games
Shrew For 8, Against 4, Blanks 3, Clean sheets 2
City For 6, Against 7, Blanks 2, Clean sheets 2
Shrews home For 15, Against 1, Blanks 0, Clean sheets 5
City away For 11, Against 7, Blanks 0, Clean sheets 2

Boz’s match verdict: Away Win

5 Fun Facts

1. Nathaniel Knight-Percival is the only current player to play for both Bradford City and Shrewsbury Town. The imposing defender featured 76 times scoring 6 times between 2014-16 for the Shrews. In July 2016, Knight Percival signed for City after his time at New Meadow and since he has played in 69 games hitting the net twice. During his time at Shrewsbury, Knight-Percival earned a 4th division runners up honour in 2014/15.

2. The first league match at New Meadow was on 18th August 2007 against Bradford City, the game ending 1-0 to the home side, a goal scored by ex Bradford City loanee Dave Hibbert on 9 minutes from the spot. Hibbert’s previous home match in the league was for Bradford City a few months prior, the season before.

3. The very first goal to be scored in a competitive match at New Meadow was scored by defender Darran Kempson in a 1-0 victory over Colchester in the League Cup 14th August 2007. This happened to be Kempson’s only Shrews goal and his only cup goal during his professional career.

4. The entire population of Shrewsbury wouldn’t even fill Wembley, in fact, you could seat more than a 3rd of the town’s entire population in Valley Parade. To put it into retrospect, more people attended Bradford City’s last 4 league games than those that have chosen to live in Shrewsbury and out number them by about 7000-8000.

5. Manager Paul Hurst spent most of his playing career at Rotherham United. Did you know that his last ever goal the defender had scored was against Bradford City in a 1-2 home loss in March 2004. Hurst went on to play on for a further 4 years until 2008.

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