The game started brighly enough as the Shrews tried to carry the game to the Cherries in their quest to put a bit more day light between themselves and the drop zone.
With Pugh being booed by the home fans for being an ex-Shrew and ex-Hereford, he played a nice 1-2 with Charlie Daniels which saw the left winger in space inside the box. Next thing we knew he'd been upended, with a penalty awarded in just the 5th minute which Brett Pitman duely dispatched with his usual confidence to put the Cherries 1-up with his 7th goal in 7th matches.
To their credit, Shrewsbury tried to hit back, but the back-4, especially Elphick and Cook, were not being beaten under any circumstances at any stage during the match, such was their command of the penalty area. Even when Shrewsbury threatened to break through the defensive line, the linesman's flag was raised as our hosts were caught off side in what was largely an open game.
The Cherries did get forward, but were off target when shotting opportunities were presented. Can't blame Brett for trying from anywhere within shooting range given the rich vein of form he's in at the moment.
One aspect of our play, which is a joy to watch at the moment is the calm assurance the Cherries pass the ball around, whether it's across the back 4, interchange with the midfield and patiently looking to play the ball down the channel for what we hope will be a Grabban/Ritchie/Pugh chasing down the ball down to open the oppostions defences.
The second period got off to a blistering pace - just as the first had - with the Cherries on the offensive as the Shrews were pegged back in their penalty area. Then in the 53rd minute Brett Pitman scored what might be the Cherries goal of the season. A move down the left saw Marc Pugh pass inside to Pitman who curled the ball from 25 yards out around the keeper to nestle in by the far post. If that was Messi scoring that goal it would be replayed over and over ....... at this stage it looked as if the Cherries were about to unleash a cricket score in Shropshire such was their dominance in all areas of the pitch.
A third was a whisker away when a corner from the left as we looked at the pitch was taken by Matt Ritchie, who found Tommy Elphick ghosting in at the far post. His header found the side netting inside of going the other side of the upright.
Grabban could have had the third when he rounded the keeper. Sadly his touch was a tad too heavy, which took him too wide to get anything on the reverse shot to cause a real problem - but at least he's trying and getting in to difficult positions.
Another corner, this time from the right hand side was met by Pitman and then off Grandison for a 62nd minute own goal. By this time the confidence of the Cherries players was there for all to see.
Then came a truely surreal moment as news filtered through from Griffin Park - Portsmouth were beating Brentford which prompted chants of "Play Up Pompey"! Surely they meant to chant "Pay Up Pompey"?
By now Pitman was trying every trick in the book to score a third goal to claim the match ball! Again, can't say I blame him for doing so!
Before the start of play I turned to Serena Stone who confidently predicted a 3-1 away win (close but not close enough!), I would have been VERY happy with an away win!! But what a day and what a game! Shame everyone around us won too!
Ryan Allsop - Could be there for another couple of months and still be waiting for something to do!
Simon Francis - Cool, calm and confident at right back as he has been all season.
Tommy Elphick - A massive calming influence at the centre of defence, but also authorative in bossing what's going on around him.
Steve Cook - Feeds off Elphick, but also breeds confidence.
Charlie Daniels - Some excellent runs down the left hand side, great interchange play with Marc Pugh.
Matt Ritchie - Not as effective as perhaps we'd like, but causes problems with his trickery.
Harry Arter - Ran his sock off - as always - without getting booked!
Eunan O'Kane - His distribution from midfield is sometimes excellent in feeding the ball left of right to expand the play to the wings.
Marc Pugh - Created one goal with the penalty award, but caused problems all afternoon for our hosts.
Lewis Grabban - Is a fraction away from getting his name on the scoresheet. Some excellent work, perhaps just lacking a little bit of confidence/quality at the moment.
Brett Pitman - What hasn't been said about Brett?? His second goal was simply top draw by anyone standards.
Hughes/McQuoid/MacDonald - All did well when they came on.
AFCB: Allsop, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, O'Kane, Pugh, Grabban, Pitman
Subs: Jalal, Seabourne, Fogden, Tubbs, Hughes (for Grabban, 76 mins), McQuoid (for Pugh, 85 mins), MacDonald (for O'Kane, 90 mins)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth