Town hold off Fleetwood to earn three points
Town: Cameron Gregory, Josh Agbozo, Rhys Davies (Dan Walker 55), James Rowlands (Harri Lovett 93), Rory Huntbach, Christos Shelis, Reiss Corfield (Jack Leask 62), Kian Taylor, Tyrone Ofori, Lifumpa Mwandwe, Ryan Barnett (C).
Subs: Wesley Garfield, Brett Taylor, Jack Leask, Harri Lovett, Dan Walker.
Fleetwood: Harry Turner, Domonic Kerrigan, Alkeo Bani, Ben Unsworth, Liam Collins, Katalego Mashigo, Jack Bishop, Alex, Doddm Connor Finlayson, Owen Bridge, Ryan Rydel.
Subs: Sam O’Halleran, Alex Clayton, Kian Makepeace, James Hill.
Town’s U18’s showed maturity to hold on to an early lead against Fleetwood. Town started slow in the opening ten but came alive to dominate the remainder of the first half. Captain Ryan Barnett produced a perfect cross for the goal. Reis Corfield made an intelligent run to meet the cross, heading into the top corner giving Turner no chance. Town created numerus chances in the first half but failed to capitalise. A solid defensive display in the second secured the points for Town, who could have had three or four. The win moves Town up to 5th in the Youth Alliance Northwest Division, only a point away from Preston North End in second.
Team News: Cam Gregory kept his place in goal, Josh Agbozo started at right back with Rhys Davies on the left. Rory Huntbach and Christos Shelis played at centre back. Kian Taylor and James Rowlands sat in midfield with Lifumpa Mwandwe in the number 10 role. Captain Ryan Barnett and Reiss Corfield played on the wings with Tyrone Ofori up top.
Bottom of the league Fleetwood Town were in desperate need of points having only picked up one in five games. They started on the front foot, forcing a corner in the opening minutes. The corner was well placed but the Fleetwood attacker headed over the bar. Fleetwood then earned a deep free kick but a commanding Cam Greggory did well to come off his line and hold onto the ball.
Reis Corfield worked the first chance for Town. Tearing down the right wing he squared an inviting ball across the face of goal, no one was up there with him and Fleetwood cleared.
In an almost identical move, Fleetwood then looked to hit Town on the counter. Breaking down the wing their attacker did well to pull a low ball across the box, again no one was there for what would have been a tap in and Town cleared their lines.
Mwandwe and Barnett had the freedom to rotate between the number 10 role and left wing allowing for a variation in attack. This time, Mwandwe broke free form his man on the left before flying down the wing. Covered by the centre half Mwandwe slipped the ball back to Davies who had the space to cross. Looking for the far post, his ball almost found the back of the net, a flapping turner tipping the ball just wide.
Shortly after, Mwandwe’s trickery daw him break into space again this time on the right. He curled a nice ball in towards Corfield who’d done well to get into the box. Crofield met the ball with a powerful header seeing it come off the cross bar before being steered wide.
Towns best outlet in the opening 30 minutes had been through the pace of Mwandwe and Corfield on the wings. The breakthrough came thanks to captain Ryan Barnett though, flicking the ball effortlessly past his man on the right he bent an inch perfect ball towards Corfield in space. Corfield made no mistake, timing his header perfectly to put it top corner give Town the lead. The goal came in the 31st minute.
Minutes later, Mwandwe made a wriggling run across the edge of the box before finding Barnett with space. Barnett looked to bend it into the top corner, missing by millimetres.
Fleetwood tightened up after the goal becoming less adventurous in possession. Agbozo almost found the back of the net with a well hit free kick. Turner did well to get across his goal and tip it wide.
Town earned a penalty in the final moment of the half. Mwandwe showed his class to break down the left again before this time forcing his way into the box. He flicked the ball past the defender inside the box before getting around him and being brought down from behind. Barnett stepped up to take the spot kick, shooting to his left but Turner did well to get down and save it.
Half Time: Town 1 Fleetwood 0
The second half started slowly with both teams battling for possession in the middle, Town’s only chance coming from a deep free kick which Fleetwood cleared.
Substitute: Rhys Davies was replaced by Dan Walker in the 55th minute.
Turning up the intensity Town played some quick passes before Barnett wriggled his way free in Fleetwood’s box. He did well to square and inviting ball across the face of goal, but no one was there to double the lead and Fleetwood cleared.
Josh Agbozo picked up a harsh yellow card in the 58th for a foul inside Town’s half. The resulting free kick was cleared. Shortly after, Fleetwood managed to break forward in numbers. Gregory did well to save a good shot before Agbozo showed his defensive intelligence to clear.
Substitute: Goal scorer Reiss Corfield was replaced by Jack Leask in the 62nd.
Town pressed on looking to double their lead and secure the win in the last thirty minutes. A deep free kick from Barnett was controlled well by Ofori in Fleetwood’s crowded box. A frantic scramble for possession lead to the ball rebounding off legs before being cleared to safety.
Shortly after, Barnett tracked back well to stop the counter. Winning the ball on the slide, he flicked it past the attacker before springing to his feet and pushing forward. The attack came to nothing though and moments later, Barnett was carded for holding on to the ball after a foul.
Town had a shout for a second penalty in the 68th. Mwandwe broke forward chasing a dinked pass over the top but the keeper came out early, seemingly kicking the ball at head height catching Mwandwe’s face. The ref saw no reason to give the penalty and waved play on before stopping play for the head injury.
Into the last fifteen Barnett swung in a corner to find the head of Ofori. Tyrone flicked it on towards Shelis at the far post but he couldn’t fumble the ball across the line and collided with the post in the process.
The game swung open in the last ten with Fleetwood feeling they could get something from the game. A free kick on the edge of the box was curled into a dangerous position but Agbozo got up well to clear.
Barnett then stepped up to bend an inviting free kick into Fleetwood’s box but Turner did well to collect. Shortly after, Barnett lost possession in his own half before showing hunger to track back and win the ball back but Town couldn’t find the pass on the counter.
In the 90th minute Cam Gregory came to Town’s rescue to make a double save to keep the lead. Fending off the first shot he reacted quickly to catch the second and stop the danger in a solid display of goalkeeping.
Deep into stoppage time Town earned a free kick on the edge of Fleetwood’s box. Rather than shoot Ofori opted to take the ball into the corner flag, earning town a thrown in.
Substitute: in the final moments Harri Lovett came on to replace James Rowlands who’d enjoyed a solid game in the middle of the park.
Full Time: Shrewsbury Town 1 Fleetwood 0.