Shrewsbury Town are out of the Checkatrade Trophy after succumbing to a penalty shootout defeat against Port Vale.
Shrewsbury Town appeared comfortable all evening, with Port Vale rarely threatening Joel Coleman.
And when Ryan Sears notched his first senior goal for the club, it seemed likely that Town were heading to the Quarter Final of the Checkatrade Trophy.
But Neil Aspin’s side rallied towards the end of the contest, and Tom Pope scored his 99th goal for the club to send the tie to penalties, with Shrewsbury ending up on the wrong side of the lottery.
As predicted Sam Ricketts made 11 changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Stoke City. Christos Shelis, Omar Beckles, Ryan Sears, and James Rowland, were amongst those given the chance to impress.
The visitors should have made a perfect start to the contest. A free-kick whipped into the penalty area found Kieran Kennedy completely unmarked, but the former Motherwell defender couldn’t make a telling connection.
Moments later, Abo Eisa came agonisingly close to nudging Shrewsbury in front. Another dead ball situation resulted in his effort flying just over Scott Brown’s crossbar.
At the other end, Port Vale were attempting to find some joy down the right-hand side. James Gibbons’ cross was sliced behind by Omar Beckles. Town struggled to clear their lines from the resulting corner, and Connell Rawlinson’s drive was subsequently bravely blocked.
James Rowland demonstrated maturity beyond his years by out muscling his marker to win back possession. His persistence resulted in a Town corner that was cleared as far as Doug Loft. The former Port Vale midfielder could only find row Z with his long-range attempt.
Salop continued to press forward in search of the opener. Possession was turned over to Ryan Barnett who was lurking on the edge of the box; the youngster recalled from his loan at AFC Telford prior to kick-off, fired over.
Port Vale’s best chance arrived just before the interval. Tom Pope teed up former Carlisle United midfielder Luke Joyce; his scuffed shot ricocheted behind for a corner.
The set-piece was guided into the path of Tom Pope, but his header from close range was surprisingly tame, and Joel Coleman gathered with little effort required.
Josh Emmanuel had a guilt edged chance to give Town the lead before the break. A pinpoint cross from Ryan Barnett found the Ipswich loanee unmarked, but he could only power over a header over from close range
Neither side carved out any decent attacking opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the second period, with both teams sharing the possession.
Before the hour mark, Josh Emmanuel struck a free-kick wayward as Shrewsbury moved up a gear.
They did find the opening goal two minutes later. The aforementioned Emmanuel stood up a cross to the back post, and Ryan Sears evaded his marker to nod home.
Port Vale responded well to going a goal down. Former Barnsley midfielder Anthony Kay tired his luck from distance, with his strike whistling wide of Joel Coleman’s goal.
With 11 minutes left on the clock, Ryan Sears turned hero at the other end. A deep corner was headed downwards by Connell Rawlinson, but Sears managed to clear the ball off the line before it crept in.
The pressure finally tolled on Shrewsbury. Kieran Kennedy failed to deal with Hannant’s cross, and Tom Pope had the simplest of tasks to prod home.
That equaliser led to a tense penalty shootout. Fejiri Okenabirhie, Lee Angol, and Ryan Barnett converted for Shrewsbury, but Alex Gilliead and Abo Eisa unfortunately missed theirs. And with Oyeleke, Miller, Kay, and Hannant converting, the visitors exited the competition.
Shrewsbury welcome Charlton Athletic on Saturday, whilst Port Vale are at home against Colchester United.
Attendance: 1,355 (192 Town fans)
2>Team Line Ups:
Port Vale: (4-3-3)
1. Brown, 2. Gibbons, 15. Smith, 13. Rawlinson, 23. Clark, 6. Kay, 4. Joyce (66), 8. Oyeleke, 11. Hannant, 24. Whitfield (78), 9. Pope
Subs: 7. Worrall, 10. Miller (78), 12. Hornby, 19. Dodds, 20. Angus (66), 21. Vassell, 22. Conlon
Subs Not Used: 7. Worrall, 12. Hornby, 19. Dodds, 21. Vassell, 22. Conlon
Shrewsbury Town: (5-4-1)
1. Coleman, 2. Emmanuel (91), 39. Shelis, 4. Kennedy, 6. Beckles, 27. Sears, 21. Eisa, 19. Loft, 35. Rowland (91), 38. Barnett, 9. Angol
Subs: 12. Okenabirhie (91), 15. Arnold, 18. Gilliead (91), 34. Taylor, 37. Mwandwe, 40. Leask, 41. Turner
Subs Not Used: 15. Arnold, 34. Taylor, 37. Mwandwe, 40. Leask, 41. Turner
Other Checkatrade Trophy Round 3 Results:
(at the time of writing)
Accrington 2 – 4 Bury
Cheltenham 1 – 1 Oxford (Oxford win 4-1 on pens)
Northampton 1 – 2 Bristol Rovers
Rochdale 2 – 4 Manchester City U21
Southend 0 – 2 Portsmouth
Sunderland 4 – 0 Newcastle U21
Report by: Ryan Hillback