Steve Cotterill's men kick-off pre-season with a 3-2 win at the New Bucks Head.
In what was a welcome return for both the Salop faithful and manager Steve Cotterill, his Salop side started off pre-season with a testing yet entertaining 3-2 win in front of 1,205 fans at the New Bucks Head.
It was the hosts who eventually broke the deadlock in the 15th minute after a slow opening, with a cross from the left-hand side meeting the head of Telford defender Theo Steele. The next 15 minutes saw Salop find their feet, matching the tempo of Gavin Cowan’s Telford side, eventually winning themselves a penalty after defender Jed Abbey brought down Salop striker Dan Udoh. It was debutant Ryan Bowman who stepped up, starting his Salop career brightly as he steered the ball past keeper Russ Griffiths in the 29th minute - his first goal for the club since joining from Exeter City.
From there, both sides battled it out for the rest of the first-half, with Salop creating a number of chances close to half-time that tested the host’s defence. As half=time approached, the home side came close to a second, with Jason Oswell forcing a fine goal-line clearance from defender Elliot Bennett, the follow up from forward Jed Abbey forcing a save from the outspread Harry Burgoyne.
The second-half started with no changes from manager Steve Cotterill, and a free kick for Telford that came to no avail for the home side, following a foul from returning midfielder David Davis. After a nervy first minute, Town soon found their rhythm and found the net in the 49th minute with a wonderful ball from defender Nathanael Ogbeta finding the feet of Ryan Bowman for his second of the game and Salop career.
Cotterill’s men found the net again shortly after, with a cross in the 55th minute from new signing Luke Leahy eventually finding striker Dan Udoh who slotted the ball home after a mix-up in the Telford defence. Salop kept the Telford defence on their toes, with Matthew Pennington and Shaun Whalley both testing the gloves of keeper Russ Griffiths with two strong headers, the latter being tipped over the bar from the flying Telford keeper.
The first change to Cotterill’s side welcomed Josh Daniels and youngster Tom Bloxham to the pitch twenty minutes from full-time, replacing debutants Elliot Bennet and Ryan Bowman, both of which shared promising starts to their life at Shrewsbury.
Telford found the net shortly afterwards, with Jason Oswell curling the ball over the stretched arm of Harry Burgoyne in the 74th minute. The goal was followed by the like-for-like change, with goalscorer Dan Udoh being replaced by Rekiel Pyke. After a free-kick from Telford that did not test Harry Burgoyne, himself and midfielder David Davis were replaced in the 81st minute for academy products Cameron Gregory and Charlie Caton, in the last of Steve Cotterill’s changes.
Telford upped their pace, leading to a free-kick that came close to testing Cameron Gregory two minutes from time. A speculative shot from a Telford trialist followed soon after, as Town tried all they can to hold on to their one-goal lead.
The final whistle blew, with Town coming out of their first pre-season game as 3-2 victors in what was and testing and entertaining game. It was a good run-out for the lads in their pre-season opener, who shared a wonderful moment in thanking the Salop faithful for their ever-present support.
Strong performances featured all-round, with debutant Ryan Bowman standing out with his brace and defenders Elliot Bennet and Luke Leahy having strong performances at the back. The feeling in the away end was one of hope, as Salop set sights on success in their first full season under manager Steve Cotterill in his long-awaited return to the dugout.
AFC Telford United: Russ Griffiths, Arlen Birch, Brendon Daniels, Ross White, Theo Street, Zak Lilly, Jed Abbey, Adam Walker, Henry Cowans, Kai Williams, Jason Oswell.
Subs: Harry Bower, Dom McHale, Matthew Barnes Homer, Jack Bryne, Tyrell Hamilton.
Salop: Harry Burgoyne (Cameron Gregory, 81), Luke Leahy, Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Matthew Pennington, Shaun Whalley, Josh Vela, Daniel Udoh (Rekeil Pyke, 76), Ryan Bowman (Tom Bloxham, 73), Nathanael Ogbeta, David Davis (Charlie Caton, 81) Elliott Bennett (Josh Daniels, 73).
Subs all used.