Delighted Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts saluted the efforts of his League One side after beating Bristol City 1-0 to set up a showpiece home clash against Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Defender Aaron Pierre’s fine 89th-minute strike – a low 25-yard drive into the bottom corner of the net – secured victory against a City team currently ninth in the Championship in an exciting third round replay.
Shrewsbury can now look forward to welcoming Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League leaders to the Montgomery Waters Meadow on January 26.
“I’m obviously delighted,” said Ricketts. “I thought the players were excellent. I thought they were superb, carrying out what we asked them to do, not just tonight but in the first tie as well.
“I think over two games we’ve shown what we’re capable of and the players have shown what they’re capable of.
“Obviously, I’m delighted for them to get through, I’m delighted for the supporters and, overall, the performance as well.”
Daniel Udoh and Callum Lang were both denied by good saves from visiting goalkeeper Daniel Bentley – but he could do nothing about Pierre’s thunderous late strike.
As for hosting Liverpool, Ricketts added: “It will be a special occasion for everyone involved. The players first and foremost because they’re the people that have done it, the supporters – you could see what it meant coming on the pitch at the end of the game.
“I’m just delighted for them because that’s what football is. It’s all about entertainment, enjoyment. I’ve always spoken about the FA Cup – it can take you anywhere.
“We’ve played Bristol City. We’ve been to their lovely new ground and now we get the chance to play against Liverpool.”
City had their chances with Josh Brownhill’s early effort well saved by goalkeeper Joe Murphy while Nathan Baker headed against a post and Famara Diedhiou lifted his shot over the bar with Murphy to beat.
City boss Lee Johnson said: “I suppose I’m disappointed, for sure. I’m philosophical in the sense of that we’ve got an important league campaign to concentrate on.
“I’m disappointed for the people more than anything because I know that they wanted what is a big game, at home to Liverpool, and we haven’t given it to them, so we’ve got to make sure we go and give them a very good attempt at the play-offs now.
“I thought we played well today. I thought there was some good play and I think the issue was our finishing.
“We just didn’t finish when we needed to. On another day, we could have been one, two, three-nil up and then, of course, they’re not bad and they’re not bad on the counter attack – and it’s a wonderful strike from Pierre.
“And it’s something that we’ve just had to deal with and we’ve got to go again.”