Town win on penalties in an enthralling encounter against Blackpool to book themselves a spot in the semi-final of the League Cup.
Town 4 Blackpool 4 (Town win 3-2 on penalties)
Town Starting 11: Luke Burton, Zac Hartley, Dan Walker, Tom Davies, Luke Ward, Callum Wilson, Ethan O’Toole, James Rowland (William Thomas), Charlie Caton, Ryan Grosvenor (Nigel Aris), Thomas Bloxham (Lewis Duberry).
Subs: Jaden Bevan, William Thomas, Nigel Aris, Lewis Duberry, Edan Sears.
Blackpool Starting 11: Sam Kellitt, Sky Sinclair, Will McGladdery, Aaron Turner, Harry Winstanley, Matt Liptrott, Max Rogers, Riley Smith, Tony Weston, Cameron Antwi, Rob Apter.
Subs: Jak Wood, Charlie Monks, Andy Kanga, Ellis Wilson, Peres Goumou.
Shrewsbury Town were back in action in the quarter-final of the League Cup this afternoon. The Tangerines were the visitors at the Sports Village as both teams looked to book their spot in the semi-final.
Blackpool showed their intent from the start with a shot narrowly off target with in the first minute. The game began with a high tempo and was a sign of things to come as the match progressed.
Controversy in the opening 10 minutes as Ward played an appetising through ball over the top of the Blackpool defence as he looked to find Ryan Grosvenor who looked like he would make it to the flight of the ball first. However Blackpool’s keeper had other ideas as he stormed out of his box to collect the ball but appeared to catch it outside of the box, the linesman flagged straight away and there were protests for him to be sent off however the referee deemed the offence worthy of a yellow. Ward stepped up to take the free-kick but curled his shot over the bar.
Town took the lead in what would be an enthralling encounter in the 15th minute. Caton scoring the first of his four goals after a lovely team move which started from the back and ended with a perfectly timed through ball from Grosvenor to calve open Blackpool’s defence. Caton timed his run well and slotted the ball under the keeper.
Minutes later Grosvenor almost picked up his second assist of the game as he did well to tee up Walker who struck a powerful shot across goal that glanced off the outside of the post.
Town continued to dominate the first half of the game and soon found themselves 2-0 after Ward headed the ball back across goal from a Town corner, Caton managed to beat his man in the air and direct the ball towards the bottom corner of the goal.
Neither team were afraid to put in a challenge or two with Blackpool’s Liptrott picking up the first yellow of a game with a poorly timed sliding challenge on Davies.
It took until the 28th minute for Blackpool to get themselves back into the game and they did so thanks to Tony Weston who scored against the run of play after Town failed to clear a cross into their box.
From then on the game began to even itself out with Town responding again with Caton who’s shot from distance beat the keeper but was a few yards wide of hitting the target.
O’Toole fouled Liptrott in a dangerous position 25 yards from goal. Antwi came close to levelling the game with a superb free-kick that beat the ball and the keeper but clipped the bar.
Rowland picked up the second yellow of the game after he held Antwi on the halfway line as Blackpool looked to break.
Blackpool’s pressure saw them draw the game level with a fantastic solo effort from Arter who curled his shot into the far top corner of the goal from outside the box.
The game had now become very open with Town instantly responding with another shot hitting the bar this time it was Ward with a thunderous header from inside the box that crashed against the bar.
Town were back on top in the 55th minute as Caton scored his hat-trick. Walker showed great desire deep down the left wing to win the ball back and then sprint into the box, he cut a short pass along the box for Caton to flick past the keeper on his near post.
Blackpool responded instantly in the most unfortunate circumstances for Town as a shot from outside the box took a huge deflection beating everyone and looping into the net.
Then the game looked to be heading out of Town’s grasp as Blackpool took the lead for the first time in the game. As a shot from Blackpool crashed against the bar allowing their number 11 to score a tap in and score his hat-trick.
Town pushed on looking for an equaliser and their constant pressure eventually proved too much for Blackpool to handle as substitute Aris won the ball back on the halfway line with a superb sliding challenge, he jumped to his feet and picked out Caton with a superb ball down the left-wing. Caton ran onto it and struck the ball on the half-volley from outside the box and lobbed the keeper to send Town to penalties.
Ward, Caton and Duberry all calmy converted their penalties whilst Blackpool missed their final three attempts with the third expertly saved by Burton to send the young Shrews into the semi-final.