Match Report following Shrewsbury's 1-1 draw with
Eric Ramsey made one change to the side that drew away to Fleetwood Town in the league last week; which saw Jamaine Turner make way for Archie Elmore.
Shrewsbury made a fast start to the game, as they were looking to pick up their first points in the Youth Alliance Cup this season after losing their first game at home to Lincoln City by two goals to one. A link up of play between Kian Taylor and Lifumpa Mwandwe forced Tom Leak to make a crucial interception. Mwandwe was involved in another great moment of play for the home side; this time from a throw in, but he struggled to find the feet of Dan Walker and the ball went out for a goal kick.
The home team made good use of their early spell of possession and looked threatening in front of goal again but Leak was there to clear just as he did minutes earlier. Walsall’s first chance of the game came in the eighth minute when Owen Nolan struck the ball straight into the path of Luke Ward who was able to deny them from scoring the opening goal of the game. After a quiet number of minutes, Shrewsbury were back on the front foot when Mwandwe shot took a deflection on the way to the goal, which allowed the goalkeeper, Josh Griffiths to comfortably save. It didn’t take long for Walsall to have a few chances of their own but were denied both times by Ward; the first block came from a dangerous cross into the box by Tyreece Ruddock and the second from a corner.
Luke Ward was quickly called into action at the other end of the pitch and nearly got onto the score-sheet himself, when Jack Leask won a corner which saw the defender attempt an overhead kick which was on its way towards the goal, but the defensive line of Walsall managed to clear. A late tackle by Tom Davies on Kian Flanagan in Shrewsbury’s penalty area was enough for referee David Burton to award the spot kick to the visitors and was converted into the top right corner by Alfie Bates. The Blues nearly found the equaliser straight from the kick-off as Archie Elmore headed the ball towards the net, but Griffiths got over just in time to make the save. Another chance fell to the home team seconds before the referee blew for half-time when Ward met the ball from a corner but headed just wide of the post.
Shrewsbury kicked off the second half and again started the opening minutes with a large amount of possession. It was Walsall though who had the first chance of the half when Ruddock’s shot was straight into the hands of Jack Atkinson. A nervous few moments followed for the home team as Zac Hartley was forced to head the ball over his own goal to clear the danger, but Atkinson managed to punch away the resulting corner to prevent Walsall from doubling their lead. Numerous goal scoring opportunities were to follow for Shrewsbury; the first attempt was through Jack Leask but his shot was cleared by Tom Leak. Lifumpa Mwandwe had two chances in quick succession shortly afterwards. His first shot at goal took a deflection on the way through; enabling Griffiths to comfortably gather the ball. It wasn’t an easy save the next time though, as he spilled Mwandwe’s shot but was able to recover.
Walsall nearly added to their tally two minutes later when Tyreece Ruddock took a shot from range but was brilliantly saved by Atkinson. Shrewsbury finally found the equaliser they were looking for in the 56th minute, when substitute Rhys Davies crossed the ball into Archie Elmore who found the net from close range. The home team found their momentum and almost took the lead for the first time in the match when Mwandwe won a free kick on the edge of the box, and Luke Ward’s shot forced the goalkeeper to make a save. Ward had a chance at goal with another free kick but this time it went just over the crossbar.
Many chances followed for Shrewsbury but Walsall were able to prevent the hosts from winning the game in the closing minutes.
Next up for Shrewsbury in the Youth Alliance Cup is Doncaster Rovers away, but first they play Morecambe at home in the League on Saturday.
Jack Atkinson, Zac Hartley (Reiss Corfield 66), Dan Walker (Rhys Davies 55), James Rowland (c), Luke Ward, Tom Davies, Ryan Grosvenor (Jamaine Turner 55), Kian Taylor, Archie Elmore, Jack Leask (Lewis Redding 76), Lifumpa Mwandwe.