Shrewsbury Town 2 Bury 1
Callum McKenzie made two changes to the side that beat Accrington Stanley last Saturday, with Jack Leask and Liam Thomas replacing Lifumpa Mwandwe and Ryan Grosvenor respectively. The last time these two sides faced each other was back in December which saw Town suffer a 4-2 defeat with Shrewsbury’s goals coming from Ethan O’Toole and Ryan Grosvenor. A win today would see their third Youth Alliance League win in a row.
The deadlock was broken just three minutes into the game. Shrewsbury captain James Rowland managed to regain possession for his team in the middle of the pitch, and was able to play in Archie Elmore with a well worked pass who then slotted the ball into the bottom right corner to send Town into an early lead. The visitors then went on a desperate charge to find the equalising goal, but a shot from Ben Thompson caused no concern for goalkeeper Jack Atkinson who watched the ball soar over his crossbar.
Bury had their best chance to equalise in the 11th minute when Callum Hulme attempted to shoot from range, forcing Jack Atkinson to make the save which he then dropped. Cedric Ondoa then tried to slip the ball past the goalkeeper but the linesman flagged for offside; much to Shrewsbury’s relief. Town enjoyed the lion’s share of possession for the minutes that followed and had a number of chances to double their lead. The first was created by Dan Walker but his final pass to Archie Elmore was just behind his feet. Liam Thomas, who made his first start for Shrewsbury was able to find Jamaine Turner, but he didn’t have enough power behind his pass for it to reach Elmore.
The Shakers were awarded a free-kick just before the 20-minute mark, which Ben Thompson stood over to take. Unfortunately for them, his cross didn’t reach any of the players in white and the ball went out for a goal kick. The visitors would come to rue their missed chances as referee Paul Ellis gave Town a free-kick on the edge of the box after a foul on Dan Walker. Luke Ward was the player who stood over the ball and on the whistle, he chipped the ball over the heads of all the players in the box, finding the back of the net to double their lead.
Two free-kicks in five minutes wasn’t enough for Bury to find a way back into the game. The first was took by Callum Hulme who managed to find captain Aaron Skinner but his header went wide and Jack Atkinson was forced to save the second after Ondoa took a shot from close range. Bury keeper James Holden denied Liam Thomas from adding a third, with the ball falling to James Rowland who had his shot saved. Dan Walker was able to keep pace with Bright Amoateng who produced a weak shot which was scooped up by Jack Atkinson, who made sure that Town headed into the break with a two-goal advantage.
Both sides remained unchanged at the beginning of the second half. Within the opening minutes, Bury had a chance to reduce the score line to one goal, after a link up of play between Joe Collins and Bright Amoateng but the latter was only able to fire the ball over the crossbar. They finally got the goal they were craving in the 50th minute, but celebrations for The Shakers were soon halted when a scuffle broke out between Amoateng and Jack Atkinson. The referee showed both of them the red card; with Jack Leask having to make way to allow Sam Agius to replace Atkinson between the sticks.
A couple of chances came for the visitors in the time that followed the red cards. Joe Collins broke away from the pack and made good ground to Sam Agius’ goal, but Luke Ward was able to catch up with him to clear the danger. The second chance came from a free kick but Aaron Skinner headed just over. Shrewsbury had a free kick of their own when Bobby Copping pulled at Archie Elmore’s shirt. Kian Taylor quickly took the resulting set piece but James Holden was there to make the save.
Again, numerous opportunities for Bury to get the equaliser came before the end of the game, which saw two of them soar over the crossbar. Callum Hulme had a chance in the dying seconds but his shot was too weak and Sam Agius comfortably made the save, ensuring that Town would win all three points.
Shrewsbury’s 2-1 win over opponents Bury was their third league win in a row, and their fourth-consecutive victory in all competitions. They will be looking to further extended their winning run when they face Carlisle United on Friday.
Team: Jack Atkinson (sent off 50), Zac Hartley (Reiss Corfield 77), Dan Walker, James Rowland (c), Tom Davies, Luke Ward, Jamaine Turner (Ethan O’Toole 60), Kian Taylor, Archie Elmore, Jack Leask (Sam Agius 50), Liam Thomas (Ryan Grosvenor 60)
Unused sub: Elliot Tibbs.