We all have them, that one team that we can’t beat no matter what, the away journey we make year after year knowing that we can just never win there, well luckily for Shrewsbury, we now have three of those games in a row.
Our next three games sees us first travel to Plainmoor to take on Torquay United on Saturday. Then we host Bristol Rovers at home Tuesday, and the Saturday after we travel to Underhill to face Barnet. In my opinion these are three of the biggest games of our current campaign.
Any Shrewsbury fan will tell you how much we hate travelling to Torquay, a long boring coach ride which almost definitely ends in defeat is hardly an ideal way to spend a Saturday afternoon especially in the current weather conditions. The fact that we have failed to register a single victory there since the 1990’s is also another key reason why we dread our annual visit to the south coast. Our last two visits to Plainmoor are better left forgotten, a 2-0 defeat in the post season showcase that is the play offs and a humiliating 5-0 defeat there last March. With Torquay also being one of the leagues form sides this promises to be one very difficult encounter.
For those who can convince their girlfriend to let them get away from a nice romantic evening in next Tuesday and go and watch the football this game is another one that most Town fans will not be looking forward to. Shrewsbury’s date for the evening is Mark McGhee’s Bristol Rovers side. Similar to Torquay, Rovers are a side we have severely struggled against in recent history. You have to go back all the way to March 18th 2006 to find Shrewsbury’s last win against the Rovers in any competition. Since that day we have failed to register a victory over the Pirates home or away. Shrews fans were desperate for revenge this season after losing to Rovers 3-1 in the first competitive league game at Wembley in 2007, however despite a dominant performance Shrews were beat 1-0 away at Rovers in October and will be hoping this score line is not repeated on Valentine’s day.
Joe Hart is now well established as England number one and arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world right now. However the last time Shrewsbury picked up a victory over Barnet, he was on the bench for the Shrews playing under study to Scott Howie. 30thMarch 2004 was the last time the Shrews were able to register a victory away at Underhill. Despite not being beaten them in many of the occasions since, the Shrews have not been able to find the finish touch to secure victory over the league strugglers. With Barnet currently sitting 17th in the league table, it would seem a foregone conclusion that promotion hopefuls Shrewsbury would be able to secure a victory against the north London club, but recent history would suggest otherwise.
So whilst the next three games may all seem like potential winners for the Town, we have to be very wary of the fact recent history doesn’t bode well for us against these teams. However recent history would also suggest that we will once again bottle promotion at the end of the season, so perhaps if we can overcome these three obstacles in the next week then perhaps we can begin to prove the doubters and the history books wrong.
By Shrewbury blogger Liam Hoofe