Shrewsbury Town 3 - 0 West Bromwich Albion U21s | Checkatrade Trophy | 03/10/2017

Shrewsbury Town 3 - 0 West Bromwich Albion U21s | Checkatrade Trophy | 03/10/2017

On the back of fine league form and a last minute victory in the previous round of matches against Coventry City, Shrewsbury took on West Bromwich Albion’s under 21’s in the second match of the Checkatrade Trophy. Going into the match I was confident that Shrewsbury would manage to beat WBA U21’s, they have looked physical strong, well organised and confident. It could be argued that Shrewsbury would be the strongest side in the competition, being top of League One. However it was difficult to predict what sort of problem WBA U21s would pose.

Looking at the team sheets before the match, Shrewsbury had named a strong starting side with a bench full of first year professionals, the only name I recognised on the opposition team was Oliver Burke, bought in the summer for a rumoured £15m.

Shrewsbury: MacGillivray; Shelis, Beckles, Sadler, Riley; Gnahoua, B Morris, Adams, Dodds; Carlton Morris (Mwandwe 89), John-Lewis (Barnett 67)
Subs: Gregory, Hughes, Mwandwe, Barnett

West Brom U21s: Palmer, Burke (Pierce 62), Morton, McCourt, Melbourne, Soleman, Jameson, Bradley, Chambers, Brown (Azaz 73), White (Clayton-Phillips 67)
Subs: House, Pierce, Clayton-Phillips, Azaz, Rogers, m Harmon, Hall

First Half
As I had expected, Shrewsbury started the more dominant with a high pressing game, putting significant pressure on the WBA defence, gifting Salop possession in dangerous positions on the pitch. The first good opportunity fell to John-Lewis who collected a pass from Dodds 20 yards from goal and outmuscled a defender only to see his placed shot come back off the post.

Shrewsbury did take the lead shortly afterwards as John-Lewis poked home following Carlton Morris’ header towards goal was pushed away by the goalkeeper. As the half wore on John-Lewis had another opportunity to score, but after getting himself a yard of space, although on target his shot lacked any significant power.

Second Half
The second half followed the pattern set out in the first and Shrewsbury soon added a second goal, to lead 2-0. The impressive Joe Riley, playing at left back, provided his second assist of the night by crossing for Carlton Morris to flick goal-wards, catching the goalkeeper unawares.

It was soon 3-0 as Louis Dodds, collected the ball just outside the area and curled a low shot into the bottom corner of the net - very much giving the score line an appropriate feel. There were later chances for Joe Riley and others as the WBA players started to show signs of fatigue.

Final Thoughts
It was good to see a number of players get some game time, for some it was the first time I’d seen them play, but it was a convincing victory that Shrewsbury thoroughly deserved. I was disappointed with WBA, I expected that these teams would offer some threat, but they didn’t offer anything in attack. I had noted Burke’s name on the team sheet, and although he looked head and shoulders above the rest of the team, he still didn’t look anything special on that performance. Down to the results elsewhere it looks as though Shrewsbury have made it through to the next round, where I’m sure they’ll have no fear of anyone they have to play.

Man of the Match - Carlton Morris
Another good all round performance by the team, so it was difficult to single one player out. It was the first time I had seen Omar Beckles play since his move from Accrington Stanley, and he impressed winning most things that came his way, whilst looking accomplished with the ball at his feet. Arthur Gnahoua looks like he could be a fans favourite if he can displace either Shaun Whalley or Alex Rodman. Also, Christos Shelis making his debut after signing a 2 year deal looks like a good option for the future. But for me Carlton Morris probably edged it, he didn’t stop running, never gave the defence a moments peace on the ball and he got deserved a sly goal on the night.

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