Disappointing result for the Under 18sTOWN: Gregory, Sears, Roberts (Esien 73), Hughes, Bonner, Rammell (Barnett 46), Gilpin, McAtee, Higgs (Hassall 70), Ofori, Jones (Mwandwe 46)
Unused Sub: Atkinson
PRESTON: Roberts, Ngongc, Earl, Smart, Day, Stead, Creecu (Wood 58), O’Neil, Barry (Kwateng 58), Meulensteen, Howard (Walker 88)
Unused Subs: Kamel, Poltorak
After a convincing win in the FA Youth Cup midweek, Town looked to build on it by aiming to win their second league game of the season at home to winless Preston North End. Manager Ian Dawes made two changes from the win against Wolverhampton Casuals, with Cameron Gregory and Aaron Gilpin being reintroduced with Jack Atkinson and Ryan Barnett dropping out.
Unfortunately for the home side, it was a performance that was labelled as ‘disappointing’ from manager Ian Dawes, who saw his side go down 3-0 at home in what was a real game of two halves.
Missed chances came back to haunt Town U18’s after a dominant first half display saw them punished, after three game changing decisions from the referee helped Preston secure a victory that was a lot less comfortable than the scoreline suggested.
Town gave away a really soft penalty mid-way through the second half, and when defender Ryan Sears was sent off five minutes later, it was too much for Town to come back from.
Even though Town were the much better side in the first half, it was Preston who had the first real chance of the game as Michael Howard attempted to capitalise on a defensive mix up, but the front man dragged his effort wide.
However, soon after this chance Town kicked into gear with midfielder John McAtee driving forward from deep, but his effort was blazed over the bar from the edge of the box. Town continued to have much more possession, and dominated the play and kept Preston on the defensive throughout the first half.
The closest the home side came was mid-way through the first half, as Callum Roberts headed against the bar from a corner after good hold up play from Charley Higgs.
Town started to get frustrated as they couldn’t unlock the Preston defence, and it showed as Jacob Rammell was booked for a late tackle on Preston captain Melle Meulensteen.
With no further chances for the home side, it was Preston who had the final opportunity but it was an easy save for Gregory, denying Tom Barry.
Half Time: 0-0
After a poor first half from Preston, they really stepped up their performance and started taking the game to Town, as Howard and then two Oscar O’Neil efforts went wide signalled the intent that was desperately missed from them in the first half.
The game then saw its first major turning point of the game in a frenzied five minute spell, as Shrewsbury gave away an extremely soft penalty after grappling in the box, and Meulensteen stepped up and confidently slotted it down the middle for the first goal of the game.
Town came straight back on the attack and after a great run from McAtee, Ofori couldn’t connect with the header. Straight after, second half sub Lifumpa Mwandwe got brought down in the box, which looked like a clear penalty but the referee waved it away.
The misery for Shrewsbury was compounded when a counter attack from Preston saw Ryan Sears bring down Howard as last man, and left the referee with no choice but to send him off.
After the red card, Preston dominated and the ever creative Meulensteen set O’Neil free who couldn’t convert a wonderful move. However, sub Akwasi Kwateng showed real composure to double Preston’s lead on the 82nd minute, before a tap in from sub Alex Wood compiled the frustrating morning for Town.
Full Time: 0-3