Shrewsbury Town top the Papa John's Trophy group stage with a win over Crewe Alexandra.
Shrewsbury Town’s evening in Cheshire ended with Sam Ricketts’ men topping their group in the Papa John’s Trophy with a win over Crewe Alexandra away from home.
A rotated Salop side scored four goals – three coming from Shilow Tracey – as the Shrews left the Alex with a 4-3 victory. Town defender Matt Millar was also on the score sheet as his header secured his first goal for the Club in just his third appearance in blue and amber.
Despite a tight start to the game, the fixture erupted into life as fans watching on iFollow were treated to a seven-goal thriller at Gresty Road.
Chances were limited for both teams during the early stages of the game. One clear-cut chance came Crewe’s way shortly after the 10-minute mark. Offrande Zanzala got on the end of a through ball but couldn’t guide his effort on target as the shot dragged wide of the post.
Despite limited chances, it was Town that made theirs pay. Ryan Barnett delivered an inch-perfect cross into the danger zone and Matt Millar did well to throw his body towards the ball to head home for Salop in the 17th minute.
Town’s impressive play continued and Shilow Tracey managed to double the Shrews’ lead. Ryan Barnett struck a vicious shot towards goal and a deflection from Tracey saw the ball nestle in the back of the net.
Despite a near-perfect start, Town’s lead was halved with just over 10 minutes to go in the first period. Daniel Powell got on the end of a neat through ball and managed to curl a shot into the far corner of the Salop net - his shot going in off the bar.
Burgoyne made a fantastic contribution to his team in the 40th minute. The keeper converged quickly onto a through ball and managed to knock the ball away despite taking a boot to the body.
Unfortunately for Town, the home side managed to pull level minutes later. A dangerous ball was thrown into the box and the Shrews couldn’t clear their lines as Zanzala toe-poked home from close range.
60 minutes in, the Alex took the lead. A defensive error from Town saw Powell skip round Ebanks-Landell to poke home from close range.
It was Town’s turn to have a shot at goal and Tracey ensured Town were put back onto level terms with his second of the night. The winger got on the end of a Donald Love through ball and chipped the keeper from close range to score the sixth goal of the fixture
Tracey’s afternoon kept on improving as the winger bagged a hat-trick for the Shrews with less than 10-minutes to go. Tracey got on the end of a parried ball to poke home from close range - a goal that saw Town top the group stage in the competition.
The Alex: Dave Richards, Eddie Nolan, Daniel Powell, Callum Ainley, Oli Finney, Offrande Zanzala, Olly Lancashire, Regan Griffiths, Owen Dale, Rio Adebisi, Travis Johnson.
Subs: Will Jaaskelainen, Perry Ng, Harry Pickering, Ryan Wintle, Tom Lowery, Charlie Kirk, Omar Beckles.
Town: Harry Burgoyne, Aaron Pierre, Ro-Shaun Williams, Sean Goss, Josh Vela, Jan Zamburek, Matt Miller (Donald Love, 45), Ryan Barnett, Shilow Tracey, Joshua Daniels (Charlie Caton), Ethan Ebanls-Landell.
Subs: Deyan Iliev, Donald Love, Scott High, Charlie Caton, Louis Lloyd, Nigel Aris.
Referee: D. Bourne
Assistants: M. Smith and A. Hendley
Fourth official: S. Rushton
Ethan Ebanks-Landell was the first player book as the defender committed a foul on the edge of Town’s box with 12 minutes on the clock.
Aaron Pierre was shown a yellow card with seconds left in the half for a foul in the middle of the pitch.
Donald Love was booked just minutes into the second half for a foul on the wing.