U18’s held after late equaliser
Town’s U18’s were forced to take a draw from their trip north to Tranmere Rovers on Saturday. Town dominated the game and arguably deserved to take all three points. The breakthrough coming late in the first half after Ryan Barnett was in the right place at the right time. Town had a number of chances double their lead in the second after looking comfortably in control of the game. It wasn’t to be though and in the 84th Tranmere equalised through substitute Walker-Rice. Town looked to nip the win in the final moments but Tranmere held off, the match ending 1-1.
Town: Cam Gregory, Josh Agbozo, Christos Shelis, Rory Huntbach, Rhys Davies, Kian Taylor, Jack Leask, Ryan Barnett (C), Aaron Gilpin (Lewi Redding 64), Lifumpa Mwandwe, Tyrone Ofori.
Tranmere: Rayleigh Passant, Ben Kerr, James Ellison, Mathew Moreton, James Davine (C), Declan Drysdale, Josh Solomon-Davies, Ethan Davine, Ali Al-Hamadi, George Nugent, Joe Brett.
Subs: Railey Thompson, Joe Bickerstaff, Danny Walker-Rice, Tom Costello, Carl Spellman.
The first ten minutes started with a high intensity, with Tramere the first to work an opportunity. In the fifth, Tranmere striker Al-Hamadi did well to wriggle his way into space in Town’s box. He caught the shot well but failed to hit the target, the ball sailing wide.
Town looked confident though and shortly after, they earned a free kick on the right wing after a rash challenge on Gilpin. Ryan Barnett curled in a floating ball across the penalty spot towards a rising Shelis. The cross was too high and Tranmere cleared.
On the fifteenth minute mark Town came close through Barnett. Tyrone Ofori did exceptionally well pressing high and winning the ball back for his team before finding Mwande on the edge of the box. Lifumpa thought about the shot before sliding Barnett through on goal. Barnett showed intelligence with the run but lacked a finish, dragging his shot wide of the post.
Aaron Gilpin impressed in his first start since returning from injury. He linked up well with Agbozo on the right before finding Josh with space on the overlap. Agbozo looked to square towards Ofori and Mwandwe in the box but his dangerous ball was cleared.
In the 29th, Town nearly took the lead after a scramble in the box. Ryan Barnett’s deep free kick was dropped twice by Tranmere keeper Rayleigh Passant. As bodies pounced on the ball, Passant collected on the third attempt.
Minutes later, Mwandwe earned Town a free kick from closer range. This time Barnett unsurprisingly went for goal, Passant parried the shot away and as Ofori battled for the ball, the ref blew for a soft foul.
Tranmere had their first attempt on target in the 35th minute. A clever ball through the middle set Al-Hamadi on the run behind the back line. Huntbach showed good pace to get back and put pressure on Al-Hamadi, his low shot saved comfortably by Cam Gregory.
The breakthrough came for Salop in the 40th minute. Aaron Gilpin beat his man for pace down the right before cutting past another into the box. With the space to shoot, Gilpin connected well with his left foot. Passant could only parry the shot straight to Mwandwe who forced a good reaction save from the keeper. The ball fell to Barnett 5 yards out who made no mistake finding the back of the net.
Half Time: Tranmere Rover 0 Shrewsbury Town 1
The second half started slowly with Town looking in control of the game. A dangerous Ryan Barnett corner being the only real time either team came close to the final third in the first ten.
Picking up the ball with space in front of him just inside Tranmere’s half, Barnett looked to slip Mwandwe through the middle. For a moment Lafumpa looked through but the pass was poked to safety by the last man.
The first shot came in the 60th minute. Tranmere linked up well down their right before squaring an inviting ball across the box. Shelis did well to steer the ball away from goal but could only find Tranmere’s Thompson on the edge of the box. Thompson lacked composure though, slicing his shot high and wide.
Substitute: Aaron Gilpin made way for Lewi Redding in the 64th.
Lewi Redding had an immediate impact after coming on. Breaking forward on his own down the right, he wriggled his way into the box before almost finding the bottom corner. His well hit strike across goal inches wide of the post.
Town turned up the heat in the final 20 minutes. Mwandwe did well to work space in the middle before trying his arm from range. He looked for the top right corner but his attempt curled over the bar.
Mwandwe had a second well worked opportunity moments later. Flying down the left wing he chopped right along the edge before darting back left into the box losing his man in the process. Space to shoot, Lifumpa went with power across goal. The shot was always rising though and sailed over the bar.
Frustrated with a lack of chances Tranmere’s Walker-Rice then looked to hit one from long range. The shot was well struck almost finding the top corner but drifting wide.
Twisting and turning Mwandwe earned town a free kick on the half way line with 7 minutes on the clock. Shelis sailed the ball forward towards Ofori who did well to bring it down and drive into the corner. Under challenge, Ofori looked to hold the ball up in the corner before the ref blew for a questionable Tranmere free kick.
Hoofing the ball up field, Tranmere found space on the right before curling a dangerous ball into the box. Walker-Rice rose highest in the box, converting the cross to make it 1-1. The goal coming in the 84th minute.
As Town broke forward, Mwandwe did well to spin his man in the middle of Tranmere’s half, resulting in him being hacked down from behind. Following a yellow card for the offender, Barnett went for goal with the free kick, almost finding the top right corner forcing a strong save from Passant.
In the final moments, Mwandwe found a late spur of pace to make a final run in behind. The ball was perfectly placed for him and his shot from the edge found the bottom corner but the linesman had already got his flag up for offside.
Final Score: Tranmere Rovers 1 Shrewsbury Town 1