Narrow Defeat For Under-18s In Final League Game
- Youth team's league season finishes with narrow defeat
- Walsall turn the game around in the second half
- Shrews now focus on Midland Floodlit Youth Cup Final
Town's Under-18s had taken a half-time lead through John McAtee in the rearranged fixture at Shrewsbury Sports Village, but goals from the Saddlers' Romario Reid and Jordan Sangha in the second period gave the visitors all three points.
Ian Dawes' side have now finished their 2014/15 league season but will face Walsall in the Midland Floodlit Youth Cup final on Monday 20 April (7pm kick-off) at the Banks's Stadium.
Head of academy coaching Dawes made four changes to the side which won 3-1 at Carlisle United on Saturday.
Three trialists and Joel Carta came into the starting line-up at the expense of Jordan Wilson, George Hughes, Jake Kerins and Callum Roberts.
Walsall started the stronger and forced two good saves from Town goalkeeper Harry Lewis in the opening five mintues.
The first saw Lewis beat away Rory Oliver's volley from just inside the penalty box before he got down low to deny Reid from close range.
At the other end, with 13 minutes on the clock, Joe Kenton was slipped through the inside left position and Saddlers goalkeeper Dan Jezeph had to rush out and make a low stop.
There was little in the contest throughout the first half but the young Shrews took the lead in the 39th minute when neat footwork from McAtee inside the penalty area saw him evade two Walsall challenges before blasting the ball into the back of the net.
Walsall had once chance to equalise before the break but Kory Roberts headed over inside the box from a free-kick on the right.
HALF-TIME: Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Walsall
The Saddlers grew in confidence after the break and Brendan Pooni tried his luck after cutting inside onto his left foot from the right on the edge of the box, but his shot was comfortable for Lewis to hold.
Sangha then snuck down the inside right position towards the byline and saw a low strike hit the outside of the near post.
The visitors then equalised just before the hour mark as Town were caught out by a long ball over the top as Reid latched onto it and fired low into the far corner from the right.
Reid had a chance to get his second with less than 15 minutes to go but fired wide of the left post on the run.
Walsall did take the lead in the 77th minute, though, as a neat one-two allowed Sangha to squeeze the ball past Lewis from close range.
Lewis also had to be on hand to deny Reid again from close range with six minutes left, and Town were unable to find a late equaliser in the end.
Dawes' side will now prepare for the Midland Floodlit Youth Cup Final against the Saddlers at the Banks's Stadium.
FULL-TIME: Shrewsbury Town 1-2 Walsall
SHREWSBURY TOWN LINE-UP: Harry Lewis (GK); Jack Butts, Trialist, Nathan Millis (Ethan Jones), Ryan Sears, Trialist, Joel Carta, Trialist (Kaiman Anderson), Tom King, John McAtee, Joe Kenton.
UNUSED SUBS: Shaun Rowley (GK), Callum Grogan
GOAL: McAtee (39).
WALSALL LINE-UP: Dan Jezeph (GK); Nathan Owen, Callum C, Jordan Sangha, Kory Roberts, Daekwan Smith, Rory Oliver, Mazler Kougar, Romario Reid, Will Sherrock, Brendan Pooni.
SUBS: Luke Delaney, Tevin Shakespeare, Lewis Probert, Kyle Rowley, Ash Maddocks.
GOALS: Reid (59), Sangha (77).
REFEREE: Neil Read
ASSISTANTS: Alan Kinaston & Tony Payne
PHOTOGRAPHS: Gallery HERE
NEXT FIXTURE: Walsall v Shrewsbury Town (Midland Floodlit Youth Cup Final, Monday 20 April, Banks's Stadium, 7pm kick-off).
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