The Robins rounded out 2022 with a 1-0 win away to Shrewsbury Town, thanks to Dan Nlundulu’s first-half goal.
The striker’s fourth league goal of the season proved to be decisive, on a chilly Thursday night in Shropshire.
The alertness of Will Ferry prevented Salop from taking advantage of a quickly taken free kick. Rob Street was waiting to divert the ball in from the edge of the six-yard box, but the Robins wing back managed to hack the ball clear at the last moment.
The home side then missed a guilt-edge opportunity to take the lead. Lewis Freestone was dispossessed by Christian Saydee inside his own penalty area, and the Salop forward slid the ball into the path of Tom Bayliss, who blazed his shot over the bar from 15 yards out.
Shrewsbury continued to amp up the pressure. Seconds after Caleb Taylor had to head an in-swinging corner away from underneath his own crossbar, Bayliss found space on the right-hand side of the penalty area and opted to try and play in his teammate Street, but pressure from Charlie Raglan prevented the forward from converting the chance.
However, it was the Robins that would take the lead, courtesy of Nlundulu. After Ryan Jackson played a smart one-two, he found the space to deliver a whipped cross around the back of the Salop defence for his forward to convert at the near post.
In the second half, Luke Southwood pulled off a fantastic save to deny Bayliss an equalizer, diving to his left to claw away the header. Bayliss would go close again a minute later, bending a low shot from outside the post just outside Southwood’s left-hand post.
Following a heavy challenge from Raglan, a brawl broke out amongst both sets of players. For their parts in it, Raglan and Salop captain Luke Leahy were shown straight red cards.
The game descended into a scrappy, stop-start encounter, with the Robins defending their box resiliently. They thwarted wave after wave of attack, and held on for the three points.
Shrewsbury: Marosi (GK), Leahy (red card 70’), Pennington, Moore, Winchester, Street (Bloxham 84’), Bayliss (O’Brien 90’), Dunkley (Bennett 84’), Saydee, Shipley, Flanagan
Unused: Burgoyne (GK), Pyke, Barlow, Bailey
Red cards: Leahy 70’
Robins: Southwood (GK), Ferry (Williams 74’), Raglan ©, Taylor, Freestone, Jackson, Sercombe, Bonds, Broom (Long 74’), May (Olayinka 81’), Nlundulu (Norton 81’)
Unused: MacDonald, Brown, Perry
Red cards: Raglan 70’
Attendance: 6149 (328 away)
Referee: S Purkiss