Walton wades in

Shrewsbury Town 2 Walton 9, Stevens 16 Huddersfield Town 1 Jepson pen 83 Attendance: 4,758
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The Independent Online
IF YOU had to spend this wet afternoon in Shrewsbury, Gay Meadow was the place to be. Huddersfield came ready to break out the celebratory champagne for a victory that would consolidate their promotion to the First Division. It is still on ice and they will probably have to settle for a place in the play-offs, their hopes sunk into a sodden pitch that would have defied the game's finest to produce meaningful football.

The visitors never recovered from the one-two Shrewsbury landed in the first 15 minutes, as David Walton and Ian Stevens waded through the defence to score. Walton volleyed the first goal in off a post in the eighth minute and six minutes later Stevens met Mark Taylor's cross from the left with an unstoppable header.

Huddersfield started the second half with Simon Collins and Ian Dunn replacing Chris Billy and captain Paul Reid, and threatened to tear apart the home defence. Andy Booth, their much coveted young striker, flashed a header past a post and had another kick cleared off the line.

Shrewsbury were handed the perfect opportunity to soothe their by now shattered nerves when Tom Conway took the legs from Mark Smith in the 55th minute. Paul Evans drove the penalty wide of Steve Francis's left- hand post. The visitors' assault was resumed and was reaching a frenzy as Dunn's accurate corner kicks added to the pressure. But the goal that could have transformed Huddersfield's fortunes came too late - seven minutes from the end and from the penalty spot. Dunn had been sent aqua-planing as he thrust to the byline and Ronnie Jepson did the necessary with the penalty kick.

Now it was all hands on deck as Jepson headed another inches wide and Pat Scully added his bulk to the assault, only to scoop a volley over the bar from six yards.

An unholy scramble in which both Jepson and Cowan had shots blocked by desperate Shrewsbury bodies brought the game to an end and a postponement of the Huddersfield celebrations.

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