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How we got to Wembley

6 April 2018

Marcus Braddock looks back on how Shrewsbury Town got to W

Just like Lincoln City, Shrewsbury Town started their Checkatrade Football League Trophy campaign back in August with a visit to Football League Trophy Winners Coventry City on the evening of August 29th. It was one of those games that had everything, plenty of goals, a fightback from a two goal deficit, a sending off and an injury time winner from substitute Joe Riley that screamed into the top corner.

Next up was West Brom Under 21's who provided little opposition when faced with the guile of experienced professionals. The three goal scoreline was probably a fair reflection of our dominance but we could have had  many more on the night. Lenell John-Lewis scored the opener on 24 minutes. but it took until early in the second period for Town to get  a second, Carlton Morris converting Joe Riley’s superb cross. Louis Dodds curled in a third with15 minutes remaining meaning that we had six points and were going through to the next round.

Walsall visited us in early November with Town needing a positive result to make sure they topped the group and get home advantage in the next round. The game wasn't what you would describe as thrilling and having seen Ben Godfrey dismissed, Town fell to a last minute goal from the visitors. So we were through to the next round but we had to travel to Burslem and Port Vale for the next round, never an easy place to go, regardless of where they are in the league system.

We conceded in the first minute when a Cristian Montano shot skidded past Craig McGillivray after the striker had found himself in the clear. We had to wait 67 minutes for our equalizer and when it came it inevitably fell to Louis Dodds to equalize against his former team. The game was probably Lenell John Lewis' best game for us as he set up Louis Dodds' goal and all but scored the second but the keeper pushed his shot on to the post and Shaun Whalley poked it home to send us into the next round.

The next round was played in January and we drew Blackpool at Montgomery Waters Meadow. The Tangerines had had a pretty good first half of the season and worked hard to hold us to a 0-0 draw at home which meant a penalty shoot-out under the new ABBA rules. The system sees team A followed by team B - before team B goes again. Team A would then get two successive penalties, a little like the tie-break in tennis, and so on until there is a winner. A coin is still used to decide who is team A and B. We won the shoot-out, scoring four goals to Blackpool's two with Dean Henderson saving Blackpools first penalty, so we marched on to the next round and tried not to get too excited that we were only a couple of games from Wembley!

Oldham provided the quarter final opposition and visited the Meadow in better form in the Checkatrade cup than in League One. We took a very early lead with less than a minute gone when Arthur Gnahoua found Stefan Payne who slotted it into the bottom corner. Oldham hit back in the 67th minute through Aaron Holloway, but Alex Rodman struck 3 minutes from time after a bit of a special goal. A forward ball down the left found Jon Nolan who back-heeled the ball into the path of the onrushing Rodman. Rodman took a touch to avoid Oldham's defenders and placed the ball into the bottom left corner.

We played Yeovil at home in the semi-final and both sides looked a little tense. Yeovil's desire to not concede was effective but going forward they didn't really offer much. We created some good chances throughout the game but the ball didn't seem to want to go into the net until the 63rd minute when Shaun Whalley’s corner kick was headed home by Carlton Morris.

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