Wanderers kicked off the boxing day fixture in circumstances that they haven't often had to this season, off the back of a loss. There was pressure on with Wanderers having lost to another lower table team last game. The line up was basically unchanged with the only difference being the return of Max Clayton on the substitutes bench.
The game started with Wanderers looking a bit 'meh'. The Shrews' definitely started the better of the two teams but Wanderers always looked dangerous from set plays. Wanderers grew in to the game and didn't have to wait long until their first goal. David Wheater with the first. Less than 4 minutes later David Wheater secured a brace! During the half the Wanderers also saw an effort cleared off of the goal line. They went in 2-0 up. During the second half it was very bitty with neither team looking threatening. That said in the last 10 minutes Shrewsbury got themselves a goal making the final minutes nervy as hell. Shrewsbury had a penalty appeal turned down after the linesman flagged for handball but the referee disregarded. Heart shot, it finished 2-1.
It was another game which we did what we had to, win. We did so without looking special for the majority of the match. This is what winners of leagues have to do but that said it still worries we can't show the performances we know we can against the lower teams.
Although it is against conventional wisdom to change a winning team, perhaps it is time? If for no other reason than to give some key players a rest. There is just a feeling that some may be coasting in these 'easier' games. Letting them know their places aren't safe would be a good way of stopping these dips. Players like Derik (who I know I shout about a lot but stay with me) have come in and looked brilliant. He was then dropped the second Wheater or Thorpe returned. It's time to make these players earn these spots back.
David Wheater must be praised. I could never have seen what was going to happen to Wheats' after his release. I certainly never saw him returning, staying fit and being in the form of his career. He looks solid at the back, he's built a great partnership with Mark Beevers and he's earned himself 2 goals today. Well deserved!
A final word on the crowd. They were loud and they were numerous. Circa 16,000 fans filled in to the Macron today and it was heartwarming to see. Hopefully the trend of returning fans long continues.