Shrewsbury Town Under-18s and Rochdale Under-18s faced off in a tight game at Shrewsbury Sports Village yesterday morning.
The opening 20 minutes were quite even as the two sides figured each other out. Demi Akinwe was causing Rochdale the most trouble during this period, attacking down the left flank and whipping a couple of dangerous low crosses along the edge of the six-yard box that went untouched.
However, Shrewsbury were made to rue missed chances as Rochdale took the lead in the 21st minute, heading home from a corner kick.
Louis Lloyd had a golden opportunity to equalise just after the half-hour mark when he latched onto Josh Bailey's corner kick at the back post. Unfortunately, he couldn't get any venom behind his right-footed effort and it was palmed over the crossbar by the visiting 'keeper.
That was the end of the action in the first half and it would take until the hour mark for the next moment of quality to come to the surface. Lloyd latched onto a through-ball but was tripped from behind by the Rochdale left-centre-back and won a penalty. Town's number nine stepped up the take the spot-kick himself and produced a wonderful finish to equalise as he smashed the ball into the top left-hand corner.
The two sides continued to push for the three points throughout the next 30 minutes, however, Xander Parke and his opposite were left untroubled and the points were shared at Shrewsbury Sports Village.
Kyle Kirby said:
"It was a tough game. Rochdale are always really organised so we knew it would be tough today. I thought we started slowly and weren't doing the basics very well for the first ten minutes but then I thought we started growing into it a bit more towards the end of the first half and then I thought we were the better team in the second half.
"I think it was a fair result based off the chances. If there had been another five or ten minutes at the end of the game then I think we had more about us and could've gone on to get the win and we looked the stronger side at the end of the game.
"We worked hard and the organisation in terms of our roles and responsibilities when pressing them was good today. We work hard and they [the players] worked hard for each other today but I think we made it hard for ourselves at times with our own mistakes that forced us to make recovery runs."
On Callum Wilson's call-up to Northern Ireland Under-18s:
"It's brilliant for him and it's brilliant for the academy. It's a brilliant experience for him and it's well-deserved because he's a top lad who does it right every day. I think he's an example for others to follow."