The scoreline suggests a routine victory for Shrewsbury Town but the visitors did threaten in an entertaining contest.
Shrewsbury bounced back from their opening defeat in the competition against Port Vale, to put their first three points on the board.
Fejiri Okenabirhie gave the hosts the lead in the 22nd minute, with Jason Cummings adding a second 12 minutes before the interval.
Newcastle United rallied in the second half, and were mightily unlucky not to halve the deficit, as they struck the woodwork twice.
The Magpies were made to pay for their failure to convert, as Dave Edwards notched his first goal in a Shrewsbury shirt since his return, to wrap up the win.
Unsurprisingly, Sam Ricketts made eight changes from the side that beat Tranmere Rovers 1-0. Joe Murphy, Brad Walker, Scott Golbourne, Dave Edwards, and Fejiri Okenabirhie were amongst those given a chance to impress.
There was a pre-match darts theme to proceedings. Acclaimed walk-on music “Sweet Caroline” and “Seven Nation Army” blared out of the tannoy, whilst referee Peter Wright was on hand to check out any foul play.
As expected, Shrewsbury came out of the blocks the quickest. Norwich City loanee Louis Thompson surged forward and turned possession over to Shaun Whalley. The reinstated winger crossed for Fejiri Okenabirhie, who saw his attempt deflect wide.
The home side had tentative calls for a penalty turned down. Jason Cummings’ delivery appeared to brush the hand of a Magpies defender, but on reflection a spot kick would have been harsh.
Shaun Whalley enjoyed a lively start to the contest. The ex Luton man was looking to float deliveries into the danger area at the earliest opportunity. This time Jason Cummings profited, but he was thwarted by the quick reactions of Daniel Langley in the Newcastle goal.
After a flurry of early scares, Neil Redfearn’s side, marshalled by Jamie Sterry, were able to settle somewhat. Luke Charman, who scored the games only goal against Hull last time out, drilled an inviting cross into the middle, but there were no takers.
In the 17th minute, Newcastle were flexing their muscles down the right once more. This time Thomas Allen put the ball into a dangerous area, but again his teammates couldn’t capitalise.
Newcastle were punished for their failure to convert as Town took the lead midway through the first half. Shaun Whalley clipped a pass to Fejiri Okenabirhie on the edge of the box. The ex Dagenham man cushioned the ball on his midriff and sent a low angled effort beyond the reach of Daniel Langley.
In fairness to the away side, they didn’t immediately go under. Former Coventry loanee Jamie Sterry found Elliot Anderson inside the area, and the youngster saw his deflected shot balloon wide.
But Town were hungry for more, and they managed to double their lead in the 33rd minute. Shaun Whalley’s accurate corner was nodded home by Jason Cummings.
Shrewsbury continued to put pressure on their opponents. Fejiri Okenabirhie showed some wonderful skill to elude his marker. His shot was gathered at the second attempt by Daniel Langley.
Newcastle continued to keep their heads above water and produced chances of their own. Neil Redfearn made the unusual decision to make two tactical substitutions before the break. That decision almost paid off as Town failed to clear their lines – the ball fell invitingly for substitute Ludwig Francillette, but he could only hook his attempt wide. The corner arrived as Shaun Whalley sliced Jack Young’s cross over the bar.
The visitors dominated the early part of the second half, and Shrewsbury were guilty of taking their foot off the gas. Oisin McEntee should have done better after a delightful delivery from the right-hand side.
Newcastle continued to grow in confidence and came within a whisker of reducing the arrears. Victor Fernandez’s guile saw the Spaniard get to the byline line and lift a pass for Thomas Allan. The midfielder agonisingly guided his attempt onto the crossbar from close range.
Then Oliver Walters engineered himself some room and let fly from 25-yards. His powerful strike narrowly missed the target.
Shrewsbury were fortunate not to concede once more as Victor Fernandez swarmed forward and cracked a shot off the base of the post. Joe Murphy saved Dylan Stephenson’s rebound.
Town didn’t get going in the second half until the 69th minute. Jason Cummings outmuscled Ludwig Francillette but Daniel Langley rushed off his line to smother the ball.
Sam Ricketts’ side did begin to settle down and retain possession. They sealed the victory with three minutes of normal time remaining. Shaun Whalley’s lofted free-kick was helped on by Fejiri Okenabirhie. Dave Edwards turned sharply, and the Town skipper for the night fired the ball into the roof of the net.
Town’s win gives them an opportunity to qualify for the next stage. Their next meeting in the competition in November against Macclesfield will decide which side goes through.
Shrewsbury are not in action again until Friday October 18th when they visit Lincoln. Newcastle U21’s face rivals Sunderland on October 21st.
Attendance: 1,408 (55 away fans)
Team Line Ups
Shrewsbury Town: (3-5-2)
1. Murphy, 17. Love, 5. Williams, 15. Walker, 7. Whalley, 22. Goss, 4. Edwards, 21. Thompson (60), 3. Golbourne, 10. Okenabirhie (87), 35. Cummings (72)
Subs: 8. Norburn, 18. McCormick, 19. Barnett (87), 23. Udoh (72), 25. O’Leary, 26. Rowland, 28. Laurent (60)
Subs Not Used: 8. Norburn, 18. McCormick, 25. O’Leary, 26. Rowland
Newcastle United U21’s: (4-4-2)
54. Langley, 25. Sterry, 45. Cass, 59. McEntee, 52. Walters, 50. Allan, 60. Young, 77. White (38), 67. Anderson (38), 46. Charman (65), 35. Scott
Subs: 38. Fernandez (38), 39. Turner, 55. Francillette (38), 63. Gamblin, 76. Stephenson (65)
Subs Not Used: 39 Turner, 63. Gamblin
Other EFL Trophy Results
Sunderland 3 – 2 Grimsby
Oldham 0 – 3 Accrington
Tranmere 2 – 1 Aston Villa U21
Mansfield 1 – 1 Crewe (Crewe win 4-3 on pens)
Rotherham 3 – 2 Doncaster
Colchester 1 – 1 Tottenham U21 (Tottenham U21 win 6-5 on pens)
Ipswich 4 – 0 Gillingham
Oxford 2 – 2 Portsmouth (Portsmouth win 6-5 on pens)
AFC Wimbledon 3 – 0 Leyton Orient
Forest Green 0 – 0 Coventry (Forest Green win 8-7 on pens)
Cheltenham 4 – 3 West Ham U21
Newport 0 – 2 Exeter
Swindon 0 – 3 Plymouth
Wycombe 0 – 1 Stevenage
Cambridge 0 – 1 Northampton