Southend United came away from the Montgomery Waters Meadow empty handed as Jon Nolan’s first half goal was enough for Shrewsbury to beat Blues 1-0.
The win maintains Shrews position at the top of the table, but Blues were deserving of at least a point from a wet and windy Shropshire after creating a hatful of chances in the second half.
Nolan’s winner came midway through the first half when he was slipped in by Stefan Payne and bundled the ball beyond Mark Oxley.
Southend though will feel they should have taken away at least a point with Michael Timlin, Harry Kyprianou, Ryan Leonard and Simon Cox all having good opportunities in the second half.
Blues weren’t able to convert their second half pressure into an equaliser however as their winless run extended to seven matches.
Despite a second defeat in four days, there were plenty of positives to take from Shropshire as Southend more than held their own against the side who started the game top of the table.
Blues’ injury problems reared its head again before the game as Southend were without both Michael Kightly and John White, with Phil Brown making a total of five changes from Saturday.
Youngster Harry Kyprianou came in along with Jason Demetriou, Stephen McLaughlin, Dru Yearwood and Marc Antoine-Fortune as Southend looked for their first win since the opening day.
The much-changed Blues faced a tough test in the form of Shrewsbury Town who’d surprised many with their early season form and went into the game sitting top of the League One table.
And the home side were quick out of the blocks in wet and windy Shropshire as three minutes in Stefan Payne rose to head Shaun Whalley’s free-kick on target, forcing a good save from Mark Oxley.
Payne was a consistent threat in last season’s game and he was gifted a great chance to score when he picked off Elvis Bwomono’s misplaced pass, carrying the ball forward before striking the post.
Shrewsbury were playing with the confidence that comes with topping the division, but Southend steadied the ship and created a few half chances of their own.
Stephen McLaughlin had the best of those chances when a quick corner routine saw him in on goal, albeit at a narrow-angle, and forced Dean Henderson to palm his stinging shot away to safety.
Southend’s stay of execution didn’t last long however as Paul Hurst’s Shrewsbury opened the scoring midway through the first half with Jon Nolan the goal scorer the league leaders.
Payne carried the ball forward and slipped Nolan in on the left-hand side of the penalty box before the midfielder bundled the ball beyond Mark Oxley to put the home side 1-0 up.
Having gone behind, Blues felt they should have had a chance to level from the spot when Marc-Antoine Fortune appeared to be felled just inside the box, but it was waved away by the referee.
Jason Demetriou was then required to ensure the deficit remained at one as Whalley’s free-kick was headed on target by Aristote Nsiala with the Cypriot defender on the post to head clear.
The score would remain 1-0 at the break, but Southend finished the half strongly and came close to levelling when Dru Yearwood’s low drive had to be tipped around the post by Henderson.
Blues come out strongly in the second half as well, creating three great opportunities to level in the first 10 minutes of the second half through Michael Timlin, Harry Kyprianou and Ryan Leonard.
Timlin had the first chance when he stretched to reach the cross of Fortune but he was unable to get his effort on target before Kyprianou did hit the target only for his header to be held by Henderson.
Leonard had the best chance of the three though when he was picked out by a superb cross from the right from Bwomono, but he failed to get his header on target with Henderson motionless.
Blues continued to mount pressure on the Shrewsbury back-line and had another shout for a penalty waved away as Nsiala brought down Timlin in the area but again referee Ross Joyce waved it away.
Blues boss Phil Brown was cutting an animated figure on the sidelines as his side huffed and puffed but weren’t able to grab an equaliser that their second-half play deserved.
Their luck was optimised in the final 10 minutes when Kyprianou’s wicked cross was flicked on goal by substitute Simon Cox only for Henderson to pull out a superb reaction save to keep the ball out as Shrewsbury held on.
Shrewsbury XI: Henderson, Riley, Godfrey, Sadler, Whalley, Ogogo (C), Brown, Nolan (Dodds 82’), Nsiala, Rodman, Payne (John-Lewis 45’). Subs Not Used: MacGillivray, Beckles, Morris, Gnahoua, Adams
Blues XI: Oxley, Ferdinand (C), Timlin, Fortune, McLaughlin (Bridge 84’), Yearwood (Cox 79’), McGlashan (Robinson 70’), Leonard, Demetriou, Kyprianou, Bwomono. Subs Not Used: Smith, Hendrie, Ba, Klass
Referee: Ross Joyce
Assistants: Matthew Jones & Matthew Parry
Fourth Official: Anthony Tankard
Shrewsbury Town: Jon Nolan 23’
Southend United: None
Shrewsbury Town: Alex Rodman 14’, Junior Brown 58’
Southend United: Anton Ferdinand 63’, Ryan Leonard 77’