Accrington Stanley vs Shrewsbury Town: 2019 League One Match Preview
The EFL League One match coming up this Tuesday, 20 August 2019, between Accrington Stanley F.C. and the Shrewbury Town F.C. will take place at WHAM Stadium in Accrington, England. It is the first home, League match for Stanley, due to the postponement of last Saturday's scheduled match against Bury F.C.. They come into Tuesday's match at 0-1-1 following a draw against AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, a match that they were able to equalise in the second half in spite of being down to 10 men. For Shrewsbury, it will be their 4th match of the season, and they come in with a record of 1-1-1. Their most recent result was also a draw, 0-0 at home against Rochdale A.F.C. on Saturday. Based on last season's results, Accrington finished 14th in the table with 55 points, while Shrewsbury was 18th with 52 points, one would expect this to be a close match-up that both sides are hoping to come away from with points.
Last season, both of the clubs finished the season with 51 goals scored, which was tied for 19th in League One. So far this season, it appears that both clubs may be in for a struggle offensively again. Shrewsbury started off the season with a surprising, and impressive 1-0 home victory over Portsmouth F.C.. However, a deeper look at the stats will show that the goal by midfielder Ryan Giles was the only shot that they got on target all day. Things have gotten worse since, as they have not scored in their past 2 matches, and have put just 5 total shots on target through the season's first 3 matches. For Stanley, the story has been about the same. They were blanked in their opening match of the season at Lincoln City F.C., and on Saturday had just the one goal against Wimbledon. Stanley has gotten 4 shots on target in each of their matches, so they have been creating more opportunities than Shrewsbury, just not cashing them in. Newly acquire striker Colby Bishop has been a bright spot, and was the scorer of the goal against The Wombles, but the former Leamington F.C. star has also show his inexperience in failing to convert on what should have been a tap in.
This could be the kind of match where the first team to score wins, but it is also the first Tuesday night League One match of the season for both clubs. These mid-week games tend not always go according to plan, and will be interesting to see what changes each manager makes from Saturday. For Accrington, they are working 12 new players into their roster since last season, and most of them are up front. The pair of Bishop and Courtney Baker-Richardson (or CBR as we like to call him) have showed good chemistry as a forward pairing. Newly acquired Dion Charles made his first appearance as a sub on Saturday, and young number 10 Joe Pritchard did not feature. I will be surprised if Pritchard is not in the lineup for Tuesday. Although I can't see John Coleman sitting Bishop, it would not be surprising if Charles gets a look in place of CBR. Up front for Shrewsbury, former Millwall F.C. forward Steve Morison has started every game so far, but hasn't scored. Morison is an experience player, who has even had 9 goals in the Premier League with Norwich City F.C. back in 2012. However, last year he had just 1 goal in almost 2000 minutes for Milwall, and at 35-years-old there are questions of how much fuel he has left in the tank.
Accrington Stanley vs Shrewsbury Town Vital Information
This match can be viewed on iFollow (which must be purchased from the Shrewsbury Town website) in the United States (Note: Accrington Stanley will have international iFollow access within the next few weeks), and on iFollow in the UK at 2:45 AM U.S. ET/7:45 PM GMT.
Referee appointments have Scott Oldham as the referee, with assistants Kevin Mulraine and David Hunt, and the fourth official Helen Byrne.
This will be the 18th meeting all time between Shrewsbury Town and Accrington Stanley F.C. In the previous 17 meetings, Accrington has won 4, Shrewsbury have won 10, and there have been 3 draws. It was an Accrington win in the most recent of those, 2-1 draw at the WHAM Stadium, on Boxing Day 26, December 2018. Prior to that win last season, Accrington had not beaten Shrewsbury since 20 January 2010, a span of 7 matches that included 5 wins by The Shrews and 2 draws. The clubs first met in Stanley's first EFL League Two season on 2 December 2006, match that finished level at 3.
Five Points That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
Las season, Shrewsbury was led in Scoring by Fejiri Okenabirhie, who had 10 goals. He started the opening match of the season against Portsmouth, but in the past 2 matches, he has come off the bench with Shaun Whalley getting the start up front. Whalley, a combo midfielder-forward subbed on for Okenabirhie opening week, and assisted on the Giles goal. However, with the Shrews not having scored, and managing just 1 shot on target in each of the past 2 weeks I am expecting that we will see Okenabirhie back in the starting lineup. Whalley is more of a facilitator than a scorer, having recorded 3 double digit assist season, vs just one double digit goal season in his career. Given the makeup of their roster, it is going to be essential for Morison to find a fountain of youth, or it is going to be a long season for Shrewsbury.
Making things tougher on The Shrews will be Accrington's rising star goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov. We have been talking about Evtimov just about every week now, and well deserving. He has turned away 8 of the 11 shots that he has faced so far this season, and his save at 90+3 minutes on Saturday at Wimbledon undoubtedly saved a point. We have given him the nickname "Mr. Excitement" due to his aggressive style of play, and he did not disappoint in the past match. At one point he was pinned down in a bad spot in the left corner, with the ball in a location most keepers would never dare journey. He actually managed to dribble away and get off an off balance clearance without his leg planted, and somehow got the ball 2/3's of the way down field to create an attacking opportunity. These kinds of things have gotten him into trouble in the past, but over the past few matches it appears he is really settling into the role.
A guy to keep an eye on today for Accrington Stanley is Sean McConville. He tied for Accrington's scoring lead last season with 15 goals, and although he has yet to get on the board this season, he has put a shot on target in each of the first two League One matches. The midfielder is a fan favorite, who is now in his fifth season with Accy. In fact, he is so much of a fan favorite that he was elected as one of the first 10 members of Accrington's new Hall of Fame in the WHAM Stadium Fan Zone. He will be taking the field in front of the home crowd for the first time since being honored, and will also be taking the field in a regular season home game for the first time since his hat trick against Plymouth Argyle F.C. in last season's final home match. If betting were legal here in Arizona, I would put a few quid on McConville to score today for a 4-1 payout.
Speaking of odds, right now the oddsmakers have this one as dead even. As I am writing, a bet on either side will pay 13/8, with 21/10 odds on a draw perhaps being the best value. Certainly with the way these teams have struggled to score, and a possible rainy night in Accrington, a 0-0 draw is certainly a possibility. With that in mind, another great value bet could be on nobody to score at all, which is currently paying out at 7-1.
While things have been bad offensively for Shrewsbury, the opposite is true for the defense, and it had their manager Sam Ricketts speaking our in praise of the defensive unit this week. While they have scored just the one goal so far this season, they have conceded just one as well. Goalkeeper Max O'Leary has turned away 7 of the 8 shots he has faced so far. Last season, Shrewsbury conceded 59 goals, a total that was 8 better than Stanley's 67 conceded. In fact, it was the 2nd lowest total among teams finishing in the bottom half of the table last season. With O'Leary, who played in the EFL Championship with Bristol City F.C. last season coming in, it appears that they should be even tougher to score against this year. Overall, it appears that this game is going to come down to who is better between Stanley's offense, and Shrewsbury's defense.
Accrington Stanley vs Shrewsbury Town Prediction
On paper this looks like a 1-0 or 0-0 type of game, but being a Tuesday night, we know that you can throw out the paper on these ones. It is going to take some time, but ultimately, we the signings they have made I don't think Accrington is the same team that averaged barely more than a goal-per-game last season. We didn't talk much about the defense for Accrington above, but they return most of a solid unit from last season in front of Evtimov. In the first few games of the season, Accrington has been creating chances but not cashing them in. It should also be noted that Shrewsbury has allowed at least 60% possession to their opponents in each game, so I expect Accrington should be able to possess the ball most of the night. This is also the League home opener for Accrington, and the supporters will have a little bit of extra built up energy.
The oddsmakers seem to slightly favor The Shrews given the even odds on the road, I don't think this matches up well for them though. Until Shrewsbury shows that they are capable of generating any kind of offense I think things are going to be very difficult for them. I am going to say that on a funny Tuesday night that those bounces that have been going wrong for Accy go right. I will say a 3-0 result with McConville, Bishop, and CBR getting on the board, with Mr. Excitement turning away the only 2 shots he sees.
Prediction: Accrington - 3 Shrewsbury Town F.C. - 0
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