Shrewsbury Town are through to the next stage of the EFL Trophy thanks to a comfortable victory against troubled Macclesfield.
Two out of three ain’t bad as Meatloaf would say, and that is exactly the scenario which has seen Shrewsbury progress to the next round of the EFL Trophy.
With a victory and a defeat from their opening two matches, Town needed to beat their League Two opponents to advance.
Sam Ricketts’ outfit were completely in the dark as to what type of Silkmen side they would face. A dispute over unpaid wages caused first-team players to strike, contributing to a 4-0 hammering against non-league Kingstonian in the FA Cup.
But as wages for October begin to see bank accounts, boss Daryl McMahon was able to call upon his senior pros. That meant a start for former Shrewsbury goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook, whilst ex Town man Arthur Gnahoua was on the bench.
As for the home side, the pack was predictably shuffled from the team that drew 1-1 with Bradford City in the FA Cup. Louis Thompson, Brad Walker, Dave Edwards, and Ryan Giles were amongst those given a chance to impress. Lenell John-Lewis made a welcome return to the matchday squad for the first time since suffering an ACL injury ten months ago.
A sparse crowd enjoyed a positive Shrewsbury start. Norwich City loanee Louis Thompson drilled an effort that was gathered by Charles-Cook.
Then, Shaun Whalley delivered a deflected cross which narrowly cleared the crossbar. Brad Walker’s blocked shot was another warning sign for the visitors.
At the other end, Town failed to convincingly clear a corner. The ball fell to Joe Ironside, and the former Sheffield United striker angled a volley just wide of the right-hand post.
But Shrewsbury always looked the most likely and duly took the lead with 28 minutes on the clock. Ro Shaun-Williams sent a diagonal pass out toward Ryan Giles. The Wolves loanee’s accurate cross was intricately volleyed home by Louis Thompson.
The home side began the second period in the ascendancy. Dave Edwards was loitering with intent, and he managed to connect a half volley which just evaded the target.
Brad Walker’s ambitious 35-yard free-kick had Charles-Cook worried, but fortunately for the Arsenal academy product, the effort dipped too late. The former Crewe midfielder also saw his snapshot whistle wide.
Arthur Gnahoua was subbed on at the break, and the ex Carlisle man certainly had a point to prove.
The winger struggled to make an impact whilst at Shrewsbury, featuring in just 12 league fixtures during a two-year spell.
The Frenchman was determined to show his capabilities, and he managed to do so – playing a big part in the equaliser. His fierce cross escaped the attentions of Ryan Giles, and Theo Archibald picked up the baton to curl a sublime effort beyond Joe Murphy’s grasp.
Buoyed by the leveller, Macclesfield went in search for another. Former Oxford United defender Fiacre Kelleher powered wide Kirby’s set-piece.
Despite a mini revival, the visitors fell behind once more. Shaun Whalley’s delivery was fired home by Dave Edwards.
However, it was a bittersweet moment for Town as the referee brandished a second yellow card toward the direction of Donald Love presumably for dissent.
Fortunately for Shrewsbury, the visitors never looked like making their numerical advantage count, and the safe passage to the next round was sealed with seven minutes remaining.
Brad Walker’s free-kick bamboozled Charles-Cook who was unable to adjust as the ball gleefully crossed the line.
Job done for Sam Ricketts’ side as they remain on the path to reach the third EFL Trophy final of the club’s history. Shrewsbury are not in action at the weekend owing to international call-ups. Their next fixture is the FA Cup replay against Bradford City on November 19th. Macclesfield welcome Mansfield on Saturday.
Attendance: 1,065 (41 away fans)
Team Line Ups
Shrewsbury Town: (3-4-3)
1. Murphy, 5. Williams, 24. Ebanks-Landell, 3. Golbourne, 7. Whalley, 28. Laurent, 15. Walker, 11. Giles, 21. Thompson (67), 10. Okenabirhie (88), 4. Edwards
Subs: 14. John-Lewis (88), 17. Love (67), 18. McCormick, 26. Rowland, 30. Gregory, 33. Ward, 35. Cummings
Subs Not Used: 18. McCormick, 26. Rowland, 30. Gregory, 33. Ward, 35. Cummings
Macclesfield Town: (3-4-1-2)
13. Charles-Cook, 15. Horsfall, 5. Kelleher, 6. Vassell, 12. Welch-Hayes (45), 8. Harris, 14. Kirby, 11. Archibald, 20. Osadebe (76), 9. Ironside (45), 10. Stephens
Subs: 1. Evans, 7. Gnahoua (45), 18. Blyth, 22. Ntambwe, 23. Fitzpatrick (45), 24. Rose (76), 25. Cameron
Subs Not Used: 1. Evans, 18. Blyth, 20. Ntambwe, 25. Cameron
Other EFL Trophy Results
Scunthorpe 3 – 0 Sunderland
Crawley 1 – 4 Oxford
Walsall 6 – 0 Forest Green
Cheltenham 4 – 7 Newport
MK Dons 1 – 2 Wycombe
Peterborough 2 – 1 Cambridge
Tranmere 0 – 2 Salford
Port Vale 2 – 1 Newcastle U21
Burton 1 – 2 Mansfield
Bradford 1 – 2 Rochdale
Morecambe 3 – 1 Carlisle
Lincoln 3 – 0 Rotherham
Gillingham 2 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur U21
Colchester 1 – 0 Ipswich
Southend 3 – 1 AFC Wimbledon
Exeter 3 – 1 West Ham U21
Bristol Rovers 1 – 0 Swindon
Fleetwood 5 – 2 Oldham