Shrewsbury Town 1 Wrexham AFC 1
David Longwell made four changes to the team that were defeated 5-2 away at Rochdale one week ago. Edan Sears, Ryan Grosvenor and Taylor Townsend were replaced by Dan Walker, Lifumpa Mwandwe and Todd Parker respectively. Most noticeably was the return of Zac Hartley, whose last match for Shrewsbury came in the away fixture against Wrexham in November when he came on as a substitute. That match produced a 2-2 draw, courtesy of goals from Luke Ward and Ryan Grosvenor.
It was Shrewsbury who had the first chance of the game in the 3rd minute. A nice passage of play between Zac Hartley, Jack Leask and Lifumpa Mwandwe managed to find Archie Elmore in the Wrexham box, but he couldn’t connect with the ball properly and Bobby Beaumont was able to clear the danger. After losing possession, Jack Leask was able to get the ball back for Town and attempted to have a shot on goal himself but the power behind the ball was too weak and was easily defended by the visitors.
Archie Elmore found himself in front of Ben Tinkley’s goal shortly afterwards. However, his shot was comfortably saved by the goalkeeper before the referee blew his whistle for a Town free kick, as Elmore was fouled in the lead up to his shot. Defender Luke Ward took the free kick but his curling effort was saved by the goalkeeper. Both teams had chances in front of goal in the 13th minute. The first came for Shrewsbury when Lifumpa Mwandwe created a great solo run and managed to find the cross into the box but there were no blue and amber shirts in the area. Wrexham went on the breakthrough Cameron McGregor who found the cross after being chased down by Zac Hartley, but Luke Ward was able to block his attempt.
Jamaine Turner had his first opportunity in front of goal in the 24th minute but he was denied by the smart decision of Ben Tinkley who came out of his box to make the save. Town had a good opportunity to take the lead eight minutes before the end of the half when Zac Hartley found Lifumpa Mwandwe from a throw-in who then managed to dribble his way past a number of Wrexham players; picking out Jamaine Turner whose effort into the box was saved again by the keeper, but the linesman had flagged for offside.
Shrewsbury took the lead in the 38th minute when James Rowland picked out Zac Hartley whose shot across goal was too close to the goalkeeper who initially saved the effort, but Archie Elmore was there to slot home when Tinkley wasn’t able to keep hold of the ball. Town had the chance to double their lead before the end of the first half when they had consecutive corners, but they all came to nothing. The last corner ended with the ball flying over the crossbar by Zac Hartley.
Wrexham started the second half as the stronger side as they were in desperate search of that all-important equaliser. They had an early opportunity to do so just two minutes into the half but Cameron McGregor couldn’t connect with the ball as well as he would’ve liked and his shot went soaring over Jack Atkinson’s goal. Jamaine Turner nearly added Shrewsbury’s second when he was found by Jack Leask, but the ball was too high for him to find the header. He did find the header a couple of minutes later though after a pass by Lifumpa Mwandwe, but his effort found the hands of Ben Tinkley.
The visitors finally got the goal they were craving in the 57th minute through captain Matthew Sargent who fired the ball into the bottom right corner, with a full stretched Jack Atkinson unable to keep the ball out of his own net. Dan Walker was forced to make the block on Callum Huxley to deny The Dragons from taking the lead, after continually adding the pressure on Town.
Minutes later, Lifumpa Mwandwe had the opportunity to take his team back in front but he misconnects with the ball and his shot ended up going out for a Wrexham goal kick. Shrewsbury captain James Rowland had his shot at goal ricochet off the crossbar, much to the surprise of everyone at the Sports Village who were almost certain it was finding the target.
There were two late chances for Town to gain all three points, but Luke Ward and Liam Thomas’ efforts were just wide of Tinkley’s net.
Next up for Shrewsbury is a home fixture against Rochdale on Tuesday 26th May where they will be looking for revenge after losing to them last week.
Team: Jack Atkinson, Zac Hartley (Jacob Bell 62), Dan Walker, James Rowland (c), Tom Davies, Luke Ward, Jamaine Turner (Liam Thomas 55), Todd Parker (Ethan O’Toole 78), Archie Elmore (Ryan Grosvenor 69), Jack Leask, Lifumpa Mwandwe.
Unused sub: Sam Agius