Burton Albion's penultimate friendly of pre-season was marred by a serious-looking injury to record-signing Liam Boyce and a red card for fellow striker Marvin Sordell as Shrewsbury Town won 1-0 at the New Meadow.
In a game designed to fine-tune both sides in time for the first game of their respective league seasons next weekend, the football took a back seat for large spells as a niggly game saw Albion lose the services of their first-choice strikers for the best part of the game, and perhaps, at least one, for longer still.
By the end of a disjointed 90 minutes, it was Shaun Whalley's emphatic 85th-minute penalty that decided proceedings, with only Leicester City to come now for Nigel Clough's men this pre-season.
With Albion's Championship curtain-raiser against Cardiff City only a week away, Nigel Clough made only one change from the side that lost narrowly to West Bromwich Albion in midweek.
Jackson Irvine was rested having felt his hamstring, although he still travelled with the squad to New Meadow, where Lucas Akins was his replacement from Wednesday night.
Akins slotted in at right-wing-back, allowing Matty Lund to move into central midfield alongside Luke Murphy and Hope Akpan, with Lloyd Dyer on the left flank.
Kyle McFadzean, Jake Buxton - continuing to building towards full fitness for the season after missing the early stages of the summer - and skipper Stephen Warnock were the defenders, in front of Stephen Bywater.
But the first 45 minutes at New Meadow would centre around Albion's front two of Boyce and Sordell - and not for the right reasons.
The Brewers began brightly, showing an intensity and willingness to play at pace that suggests they are all but ready for August 5.
McFadzean and Warnock began play from the back, with Akins the main outlet on the right wing early on and showing his readiness for what lies ahead, beating Junior Brown with two or three probing runs and then getting back quickly in defence.
Chances were few and far between, though, with the Shrews dealing with a couple of early crosses until Warnock whipped one in from the left.
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson could only parry out the deflected delivery, which fell to Lund - but his powerful shot from 10 yards was well smothered.
When the hosts attacked, it was on the break with Albion committed upfield - but they were able to cover back around well to deny any real shots at Bywater's goal.
It was the midfield battle that caught the eye in the opening 20 - and it was one such confrontation that sparked what was termed a friendly match into something rather different.
Sordell looked to poke the ball away into space, and was caught hard and late in midfield by Town captain Abu Ogogo.
The Albion forward stayed down clutching his ankle, with several of his teammates unimpressed by the robust nature of the challenge at this stage of the campaign.
Referee Rob Lewis had a word with Ogogo but produced no card.
Seven minutes later and Lewis was producing a red card. But it was to be Sordell who would leave the pitch early when he caught Ogogo late and high up the shin as the pair slid in for a 50-50 ball.
It was not a nice challenge, with Sordell given his marching orders and Ogogo shown yellow for his reaction to the tackle.
Following that moment, it seemed that Clough was asking the referee if Burton could bring on an 11th player in Sordell's place, given the non-competitive nature of the game.
That request was not granted, though - and there was soon a bigger reason for the Albion boss to cut a frustrated figure on the New Meadow touchline.
With his fellow forward just off the pitch, Boyce went to chest a ball into midfield and, under pressure from a Town marker, went down clutching the low part of his left leg.
It seemed an innocuous enough challenge, but the reaction of Albion's record signing and Akins nearby suggested it could be a serious injury.
And after physio Nick Fenton had raced on to see how Boyce was, a stretcher was called for and the Northern Ireland man was carried off the pitch after several minutes of treatment, with the extent of the injury not yet known.
That whirlwind of events - far from ideal seven days out from a season-opener - affected the flow of the entire game, with Burton forced into changing their system and moving several players around.
Akins was moved up front alongside substitute Joe Sbarra, while Lund initially dropped to right-back as Burton shifted to a 4-3-2.
In any role he played on the day, Lund was one of the Brewers' standout players. His composure on the ball and array of passing - as well as a strength in the challenge that belies his slight figure - are likely to make him a shoo in for a start against Cardiff City next Saturday.
Warnock also impressed yet again, both at left-centre-half and left-back, his reading of the game helping to diffuse a couple of Shrewsbury breaks down his flank.
That defensive solidity, even when down to 10 men, was helped by Buxton's strength in the air and a persistence in the challenge - until the 84th minute.
Chances had been few and far between to that point. Shrewsbury saw more of the ball with their one-man advantage and Henderson only tested at the other end after smart link-up between Sbarra and Akins, with Sbarra's left-footed shot saved - while Akins looked to have been brought down illegally by Aristote Nsiala when he went clean through, only for no decision to be forthcoming.
But as the game looked to be petering out, possession was sloppily lost at the back by Burton and, as Buxton tried to make amends, he slid in and took Whalley's feet from beneath him in the box.
The same Town substitute stepped up to slam the spot-kick down the middle - and a stilted pre-season friendly was decided.
Burton will not be preoccupied with the outcome, of course, especially given they were forced to change formations and play with 10 men for so long.
Their attentions instead will turn to discovering Boyce's injury situation and the state of the other players who were made to do extra running in this pre-season outing after a fiery first 45 minutes.