Town were unable to hold on and claim all three points after being held to a 1-1 draw by Shrewsbury Town at The County Ground earlier this afternoon.
Jon Obika was causing the visiting defence plenty of problems in the early stages of the game although he was unable to find the back of the net.
Lloyd Jones also went close while Lawrence Vigouroux produced a smart stop at the other end to deny Mat Sadler with neither side able to make the breakthrough before half-time.
The goals finally arrived after the break and there were red cards too after Shrewsbury’s Aristote Nsiala was dismissed for a foul on Luke Norris, with John Goddard tucking home the resulting penalty.
But the Robins were also reduced to ten men after James Brophy picked up two bookings in three minutes and that led to Sadler rescuing a share of the spoils for the visitors.
Town were forced into making two changes with Brad Barry and Sean Murray coming back into the team to replace Darnell Furlong and Michael Doughty, who had both returned to parent club QPR earlier in the week.
Yaser Kasim returned from a lengthy injury layoff to take his place amongst the subs, while Luke Norris and Jon Obika again partnered each other up top.
With the game of huge importance to both sides, it was perhaps expected that proceedings got off to a cagey start.
The Reds did carve out chances though and it was Jon Obika who seemed to be involved in most of the early action.
After being picked out by Conor Thomas, the striker sent a shot from distance over the bar before nodding wide from Sean Murray’s corner after winning the set-piece himself seconds earlier.
Shrewsbury then won a succession of corners themselves but were unable to make them count, while Obika saw his strike deflect into the arms of Jayson Leutwiler at the other end.
Obika was enjoying a bright start and he so nearly fired his side into the lead after being played in perfectly by John Goddard, but he was unable to squeeze the ball past Leutwiler who deflected the shot onto the roof of the net.
Lloyd Jones was then twice denied from the resulting corner as Town started to pile on the pressure.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic however as Alex Rodman’s drive was blocked by Anton Rodgers, with Sean Murray doing well to get his body in the way of a shot from the resulting corner.
Lawrence Vigouroux then had to be alert to touch over Mat Sadler’s looping header, which grazed the crossbar before landing on to the roof of the net.
Vigouroux did well to comfortably collect Aristote Nsiala’s header from the resulting corner and that proved to be the final action of the first-half.
Town made a bright start after the interval and nearly opened the scoring just minutes in as Branco rose highest to meet Murray’s corner, but the defender’s thumping header flew just over the bar.
However, the Reds did take the lead minutes later after some drama which saw Shrewsbury’s Nsiala shown a straight red card.
Norris was played clean through on goal and, after taking the ball past Leutwiler, was chopped down by Nsiala with Town awarded a penalty.
And Goddard was the man who stepped up and confidently stroked home the spot-kick to fire his side into the lead.
Jones then performed heroics at the other end to get himself in the way of Freddie Ladapo’s shot, with Vigouroux rising highest to claim the ball comfortably from the resulting corner.
Town so nearly doubled their advantage just past the hour mark as Goddard galloped towards goal after being played clean through by Obika, but the midfielder delayed his shot and was tackled before he could pull the trigger.
Louis Dodds sent a drive just wide at the other end before more drama halted proceedings after Brophy was sent for an early bath following two bookings in a matter of minutes.
That allowed Shrewsbury to get back into the contest and although Jones put another brave block in, it was only a matter of time before they did haul themselves level courtesy of Mat Sadler’s header, although it didn’t look like the ball had properly crossed the line.
Town then had appeals for another penalty waved away after Jermaine Hylton was bundled over in the box and, although both sides attempted to come up with a late winner, it finished honours even.
TEAMS AND STATS:
SCORERS - John Goddard (54), Mat Sadler (80).
TOWN - Vigouroux; Barry, Rossi-Branco, Jones, Brophy; Rodgers (Yaser Kasim 72), Thomas, Murray (Jermaine Hylton 77), Goddard; Norris, Obika (C).
Subs Not Used - Henry, Spalding, Evans, Stewart, Delfouneso.
SHREWSBURY TOWN - Leutwiler; Riley, Nsiala, El-Abd (C), Sadler; Brown, Ogogo, Deegan, Rodman (Shaun Whalley 76); Dodds, Ladapo.
Subs Not Used - Halstead, O’Brien, Smith, Waring, Ebanks-Blake, Grogan.
Referee - Nigel Miller
TOWN - James Brophy (2).
SHREWSBURY TOWN - Louis Dodds, Adam El-Abd.
SENT-OFF - Aristote Nsiala (52), James Brophy (70).
ATTENDANCE - 6,137 (259 Away Fans).