Under-18s unbeaten run ended by MorecambeTown: Jack Atkinson (Luke Burton 88), Cameron Esien (Ryan Millington 53), Rhys Davies (James Rowlands 79), George Hughes, Joel Bonner, Jake Kerins, Jack Leask (Lewi Redding 60), Chris Gallagher, George Hassell, Tyrone Ofori, Matt Jones
Substitutes: Brett Taylor, Luke Burton, James Rowlands, Lewi Redding, Ryan Millington
Morecambe: Cameron Armstrong, Nathan Dutton Kay, Leif Davis, Tyler Drownsword, Ellis Jones, Paul Dawson, Kaleb Young, Ben Hedley, Kyle Hawley, Steve Yawson, Harrison Coady
Substitutes: Ollie Jumeau, Ben Ingham, Luke Fairclough, Joe Nelligan
Shrewsbury Town’s six match unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of Morecambe on Saturday. Town took the lead from the spot, but two first half goals gave Morecambe the advantage at the break. Town equalised with eight minutes to play, but Morecambe scored a controversial third just two minutes before then end and rounded off the scoring in injury time.
Town were without a handful of their usual starting XI due mainly to injury, so included three Under-16s in their starting line-up and four Under-15s on the bench. George Hassell was given a chance to impress upfront with trialist Rhys Davies at left back.
Morecambe lined up with a physical looking back five as they looked to make an impression on the Town front-line. However, their physicality counted against them on 10 minutes when Chris Gallagher whipped in a corner and the referee spotted some shirt pulling and pointed straight to the spot. Gallagher stepped up to take the penalty and placed it into the bottom left hand corner away from the despairing dive of Cameron Armstrong.
After the goal Town were looking more comfortable in possession, but an under hit pass by Jack Leask let Morecambe in for an equaliser. Leask looked to pass the ball back to ‘keeper Jack Atkinson but Steve Yawson managed to intercept the ball and take it past Atkinson before slotting home into the empty net.
Morecambe were looking the better side and they should have taken the lead from a corner when Paul Dawson found himself unmarked at the back post, but his header went over from six yards.
Town appeared to be defending too deep for long periods of the first half as they looked to play on the counter attack, but it would prove costly just after the half hour mark when Morecambe striker Kyle Hawley stole the ball just outside the Town box before rounding Jack Atkinson and giving Morecambe a deserved lead.
Morecambe were playing the better football and they almost opened Town up five minutes before the break when Steve Yawson played Kaleb Young into space down the right, but his shot was turned round the post by Jack Atkinson.
Half Time: 1-2
The second half started in a similar fashion with Morecambe looking the more likely scorers. A free kick from the wide left caused chaos in the box as Jack Atkinson dropped the ball and Morecambe had three efforts blocked, including one on the line by Joel Bonner, before Kaleb Young shot wide and relieved the pressure.
Morecambe were a far bigger side than Town’s youngsters and they caused problems at nearly every set-piece they had. Paul Dawson won his second back post header of the morning from a corner, but once again he headed over from just a few yards out.
Town hadn’t really got going in the second, but they did have a short spell of possession which resulted in George Hassell playing a good looking ball across the face of the goal, but there was no one there to finish it.
Town looked to bring on a couple of their successful under-15 team in the second half as Lewi Redding and Ryan Millington came on. Their introductions resulted in Town’s best spell of the game as they won a couple of free-kicks in and around the Morecambe box, but they couldn’t turn them into an end product.
With around quarter of an hour of the game to go an off the ball incident could have marred the game as George Hughes was kicked from behind by Morecambe striker Kyle Hawley. Tempers began to fly, but the referee had clearly missed the incident and nothing was given.
Redding and Millington then combined well as the latter played in Redding, but his shot was well blocked by the onrushing Morecambe ‘keeper.
As the game went into the final 10 minutes, Town pushed hard for an equaliser and they found one with eight minutes to play when Chris Gallagher’s overhead pass found George Hassell with his back to goal and he span before volleying home to level the scores at 2-2.
The goal looked to have given Town a point, but Morecambe scored a controversial third goal two minutes before the end as Kyle Hawley broke down the right, his shot was well saved by Atkinson, but it fell for Yawson whose shot appeared to have been cleared off the line by Jake Kerins, but the linesman gave the goal, much to the dismay of Jack Atkinson who was shown a yellow card for his protests.
Morecambe then added a fourth in the final minute of the game as they once again broke quickly and a Morecambe cross from the left was turned into his own goal by Joel Bonner.
It was a disappointing day for Town’s Under-18s, but one which they younger players will hopefully learn from in the future.
Full Time: 2-4