Town U18’s clinch a draw at Vale ParkTown: Atkinson; Sears (Kerins, 60), Bonner, Roberts (Esien, 74); Jones, Hughes, Barnett, Rammell, Gilpin; Ofori (Mwandwe, 58), Hassall.
Unused Subs: Gregory, Lovett
Port Vale: Slinn; Steele (Thomas, 62), Walford, Calvley, Fraser; Dennis, Conlon, Grimshaw (Daulby, 58), Benns; Mottram (Ward, 85), Barton.
Unused subs: Crockwell, Ryder
An 87th minute penalty scored by Jacob Rammell was enough to salvage a late point for Shrewsbury Town U18s against Port Vale U18s.
Out of the two sides, Town started the brighter and had a couple of chances to get ahead.
But the warning signs were most certainly there for Ian Dawes and his side as Vale playmaker Mike Conlon was begging to cause all sorts of problems.
It was Conlon in fact who had the first real chance of the game. Town keeper Jack Atkinson could only stand and watch as the Vale midfielder’s long range effort smashed against the woodwork in the 6th minute.
Town were the first to get on the scoreboard however. Jacob Rammell converted from the penalty spot on 10 minutes, after Ryan Barnett was brought down in the area by Mike Calvley.
The visitor’s nearly doubled their lead when a superb strike by Barnett was parried up in the air by Vale keeper and captain Joe Slinn.
Tyron Ofori reacted first to the ball, but his follow-up effort was high and wide.
Town’s captain George Hughes made a series of lazy fouls in the first half an hour and was the first to be shown yellow by the referee. He was followed into the book shortly after by Shrewsbury left-back Ryan Sears.
Hughes and his team were made to pay for their lacklustre defending on the 31st minute mark, when Conlon exquisitely placed his free-kick in the bottom corner from 25 yards out.
Town reacted brilliantly however, as they nearly levelled just minutes later. Barnett’s corner was met by an on-rushing Joel Bonner.
His glancing header fell kindly to Callum Roberts who was approaching at the back post. He couldn’t direct the ball towards goal and missed from just 3 yards out.
The visitors were starting to get a real hold on the game and the chances just kept on coming. Aaron Gilpin got in on the action and delivered a couple of testing crosses for the Vale defence.
The men in blue nearly took the lead just before half time when Rammell set Ofori on his way with an inch-perfect through ball. The striker couldn’t keep his composure, though, and blazed his volley over the bar.
Ofori had another chance to get his team in front on the other side of half time. This time the forward tried to go around the Vale goalkeeper who stood firm and put in an assured challenge to deny Town.
Town were made to regret their wasted chances on the 56th minute when Brian Barton put the home side in the lead for the fist
The visitors were caught napping and Vale took full advantage. Barton was played in behind by Conlon and slotted home with a cool finish into the bottom corner.
Barton could have doubled his tally on 70 minutes. A rare mistake from Bonner gifted the Vale striker a great opportunity to seal the victory for his side, but Atkinson denied him with a smart save.
After a poor spell, Town picked themselves back up and pushed for an equaliser. They were throwing everything at Vale’s defensive line who were working hard to defend their team’s lead.
The wait for a leveller was finally brought to an end when Lifumpa Mwandwe was brought down by Vale keeper Joe Slinn in the area.
Rammell, who had already scored from the spot earlier in the match, doubled his account for the day with another convincing spot-kick.
Gilpin nearly nicked a last minute winner for Town when he fired just over from the edge of the 18 yard box, but the game finished a 2-2 stalemate.