Town fall short against Walsall
Town’s U18’s fell short to rivals Walsall on Saturday losing the game 5-0. Town looked to start on the front foot but an early goal from Parker changed the flow of the game, with Walsall adding a second before the break. At 2-0 and after the half time whistle Town had two strong penalty shouts following heavy challenge of Mwandwe and Ward inside the box. Walsall dominated in the final twenty minutes though, scoring three to make the final score 5-0.
Town: Cameron Gregory, Reiss Corfield, Christos Shelis, Luke Ward, Rhys Davies, James Rowland, Josh Agbozo, Ryan Barnett (C), Aaron Gilpin, Dan Walker, Lifumpa Mwandwe.
Subs: Same Agus, Zac Hartley, Ethan O’Toole, Jermaine Turner.
Walsall: Brandon Ganley, Stefan Mason (C), Cody fisher, Alfie Bates, Joe Brown, Ben Kendrick, Dan O’Sullivan, Ben Friel, Ethan Freemantle, Dylan Parker, Mitchel Candline.
Subs: Joe Cairns, Ethan Dawe, Tyreece Ruddock, Luke Little, Owen Nolan.
The back line remained unchanged from last week’s win at Morecambe.
Gregory kept his place in goal with Corfield at right back, Shelis and Ward in the middle and Davies at left back. Rowland, Agbozo and Barnett started in a midfield three with Mwandwe upfront, Gilpin wide left and Walker wide right.
Town initially started on the front foot with a clever ball forward by Rowlands to set Walker down the left, Walsall’s right back showed good pace to get back and stop the danger.
Town looked up for the game with Gilpin tenaciously tracking back before dinking the ball away from the attacked and finding Mwandwe. Fumpa looked to play it back out wide for Gilpin with a ball down the right wing. The pass was too heavy though and went out for a goal kick.
In the eighth, Walsall took the lead through Parker. A clever turn in the middle of the park followed by an even better quality through ball from Candlin to find Friel inside the right of the box. Friel squared a low ball across the face of goal to Parker, who scrambled it past Gregory.
Town looked to hit back moments later as Mwandwe did exceptionally well to win the ball in the air in a challenge that left Walsall centre back Gregory on the floor. The ball fell kindly for Mwandwe, his quick shot forcing a strong save from and outrushing Ganley.
As Town pressed forward Walsall looked to spring on the counter through Freemantle, Luke Ward showed his intelligence to place himself between the player and the ball before clearing to safety.
Walsall’s second came in the 31st minute following a corner. The ball towards the far post was headed back across the box by Kendrick before being poked home by Candlin to make it 2-0.
Shortly before the end of the half, Walsall had a chance for a third. Gregory had initially come out of his box to clear a long ball forward. His clearance then fell to a Walsall attacker who looked to lob Gregory from range. A strong challenge from Shelis did enough to put the attacker off, with Cam able to reach the shot. Shelis received a yellow for the challenge.
Half time: Walsall 2 Shrewsbury 0
Walsall were the first to create a chance in the second half. Friel did well to work the space inside the box but Gregory had come of his line to stop the danger. Moments later, a shot from the edge of the box looked to be finding the back of the net, forcing a strong save from Gregory.
Substitution: Dan Walker was replaced by Zac Hartley in the 55th minute.
Town had a shout for a penalty ten minutes into the second half. Shelis did well to find Agbozo with space to turn in the middle. Agbozo looked to feed Mwandwe in behind with a carefully placed ball. Mwandwe then went down after feeling contact in the box but the referee waived play on and Walsall cleared.
Substitution: Turner replaced Rowland in the 60th.
Following the substitution, Town had another strong penalty shout. Pushing forward in search of a goal Town had won a free kick inside Walsall’s half. As the ball was floated into the wide channel of the box, Luke Ward went down under a heavy challenge. The referee blew, awarding Town a free kick on the edge, despite the challenge being made inside the box. As the resulting free kick was dinked in, a pinball like scramble saw Walsall clear.
Substitution: Ethan O’Toole came on in the 75th to replace Gilpin.
Following the chance for Town the game had seemed to settle with both teams seeking possession of the ball. In the 76th minute, Walsall added a third through Candlin. A ball into the box from out wide took a slight deflection inside the box, seeing the ball fall kindly for Candlin to volley home for his second of the game.
Two minutes after the goal, Walsall made it four through Cairns. A low ball into the box from the left flank found Cairns at the far post, who slotted the ball past an off-balance Gregory to increase the lead.
The goal deflated Town, Zac Hartley showed resilience in the late stages to find Turner who did well to hold up the ball before looking to set it back to Hartley as he made his way down the line. Walsall’s back line were aware to the danger though and tracked back to intercept the pass.
As Town pushed on, Walsall looked to hit on the counter. Getting behind the defence they looked certain to get a fifth in the 89th. Gregory did exceptionally well to get his agnles right and make the save.
It wasn’t over though and in the 92nd minute, Walsall made it 5 through Candlin. A heavy cross into the box seemed to hit Candlin in the face without him knowing much about it. The ball ricocheted off his face and into the net for his third of the game.
Full time: Walsall 5 Shrewsbury Town 0