Shrewsbury Town 0 Fleetwood Town 0: MATCH REPORT

Alex Cairns kept a clean sheet
Alex Cairns kept a clean sheet
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Fleetwood Town ended their losing run on the road by drawing 0-0 at Shrewsbury Town though it was a New Year clash without any fireworks.

Nobody lit up the pitch but Town did start 2019 with two important steps.

Keeping a clean sheet and ending a six match losing away run in the league.

That run started with a 1-0 defeat at League One leaders Portsmouth in October.

Town's last point and clean sheet on their travels in the league was the 4-0 win at Doncaster.

And now they have started the New Year with a blank blueprint thanks to a number of huge blocks by Ash Eastham and Lewie Coyle.

Having conceded five to Pompey last time out Town's defence were the stars of the show at Shrewsbury.

In a goalless match that defined a bore draw.

Though that clean sheet and an end to that run the important factors from this lacklustre affair.

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton made two changes for the clash at Shrewsbury Town.

Dean Marney was suspended after being sent off in Town's 5-2 defeat to Portsmouth and Ash Hunter moved to the bench.

With Marney unavailable James Wallace was sent into the mix as left-back James Husband returned after a month out with a hamstring injury.

That return saw Ross Wallace push up into midfield as Barton opted for a 4-3-3 formation.

Paddy Madden and Wes Burns supported central striker Ched Evans on the flanks with Biggins and R Wallace sitting just ahead of James Wallace.

It was a move that saw Fleetwood have plenty of possesion but the chances were limited in the first half.

Ex-Fleetwood forward Aaron Amadi-Holloway wasted an early chance as his strike was blocked by Ash Eastham.

Town shot-stopper Alex Cairns was also called into action as he stopped Fejiri Okenabirhie's effort.

Shrewsbury had struggled to clear their lines with Town winning multiple second balls in the opposition half.

Ross Wallace and Biggins pulled the strings but Town lacked bite.

Madden unusually miss-controlling in the box after R Wallace had found him.

James Wallace nodded a Ross Wallace corner wide with Madden looming at the back stick.

Town continued to dominate possession but it took until the 27th minute for the men in red and white to test Steve Arnold.

A slick short corner routine saw R Wallace slide the ball to Burns and he fed Coyle on the overlap on the right.

The Leeds loanee's cross was cleared to skipper Morgan on the edge of the box but his strike flew straight down Arnold's throat.

Fleetwood were nearly the architects of their own downfall as Madden's loose pass to Ross Wallace in their own half was intercepted by the Shrews.

Amadi-Holloway lead the breakaway and released Josh Laurent on the left with Fleetwood's defence at sea.

But skipper Morgan recovered to add the pressure as the attacker blasted the ball off target.

It was a let off for Fleetwood who with an attack brimming with talent looked surprisingly devoid of ideas in the final third.

Shrewsbury looked sharper in the second period too with Bolton firing just past the left stick and Okenabirhie again wasting another huge opportunity.

The Shrews man found room on the right of the box but as he took too long to pick his spot Coyle recovered and put his body on the line to snuff out the danger.

Again it was the Shrews with the chances as half-time substitute Gillead fizzed the ball past the left stick.

Barton made changes to try and find a way through a stubborn Shrewsbury defence.

Hunter was thrown on for R Wallace and despite looking bright could not find a way through this stubborn Shrews side.

Conor McAleny and Nathan Sheron came on for James Wallace and Ched Evans.

Shrewsbury saw shouts for a penalty waved away as Husband cleared in the box.

Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts and the crowd felt the Fleetwood left back had handled in the box.

The referee though did not.

Fleetwood failed to have an effort on target until the 87th minute. A Burns strike over the only real attempt with a Biggins cross collected by Arnold.

But as time fizzled out it was Burns who nearly clinched the points for Fleetwood.

The forward was a shining light in the final 10 minutes and was the man that looked most likely to get a winner for Fleetwood.

The attacker was released by Madden but he could only get a toe on the ball with Arnold mopping up.

Burns was Fleetwood's biggest threat as he continues his return from a hamstring injury and after he was fouled by Bolton the stage was set for the wing wizard to whip home a winner.

But his free-kick just whirled past the left stick.

Far from a Christmas cracker but a 0-0 the perfect platform to build on in 2019.

Fleetwood: Cairns, Coyle, Eastham, Morgan, Husband, Burns, Biggins, J Wallace (Sheron, 78), R Wallace (Hunter, 70), Evans (McAleny, 78), Madden. Subs: P Jones, Holt, Dempsey, McAleny, Bolger, Hunter, Sheron.

Shrewsbury: Arnold, Haynes, Sadler, Docherty, Okenabirhie, Bolton, Amadi-Holloway (Angol, 55), Waterfall, Laurent, Norburn, Grant (Gilliead, 46). Subs: Coleman, Emmanuel, Beckles, John-Lewis, Sears.