Shrewsbury Town begin their EFL Trophy campaign with a convincing win against Newcastle United’s U21 side.
Sam Ricketts named a strong starting line-up more out of necessity than choice. Town are thin on the ground, with Rekeil Pyke (thigh) and Josh Daniels (knee) adding to a growing injury list. Dave Edwards will miss six weeks of action with a stress fracture, whilst Sean Goss remains absent with a rib injury.
To make matters worse, both Ryan Sears and Brad Walker couldn’t complete the match – as Shrewsbury’s medical room threatens to become overcrowded even further.
However, there was some positive news. Aaron Pierre returned to the fold after missing the Northampton game through suspension, whilst Ollie Norburn played 45 minutes following the tragic passing of his son. Aris and Bloxham appeared in a senior squad for the first time in their careers.
The home side wasted little time in stamping their authority on the contest. Huddersfield loanee Scott High broke the deadlock in the 11th minute, with Ryan Barnett doubling Town’s advantage seven minutes later. Jason Cummings completed the scoring in the 55th minute, as Shrewsbury kick-off their EFL Trophy in style.
Town were commanding in the opening ten minutes with controlled measured play an early sign of things to come.
They were duly rewarded in the 11th minute. Josh Vela robbed full-back Adam Wilson in possession and found Scott High. The midfielder’s effort from outside the box squirmed under Will Brown and into the back of the net.
But the youngster didn’t allow time to feel sorry for himself, as he made a flying stop to deny Jason Cummings, and also got up quickly to thwart the rebound.
However, Town were in cruise control and were soon 2-0 up. Scott Golbourne’s lofted cross was met by Ryan Barnett and Shrewsbury were effectively done for the evening.
The visitors were being pulled from pillar to post as Shrewsbury continued to lay siege to the Magpies goal. Ex AFC Telford loanee Ryan Barnett and Scott High linked up well before the former worked Will Brown. Then, High tried the audacious with a 40-yard chip that just cleared the bar.
Shrewsbury took 10 second half minutes to complete the rout. Substitute Ollie Norburn diverted Josh Vela’s corner into the path of Jason Cummings who prodded home from close range.
Further opportunities for Ollie Norburn and Ryan Barnett threatened to increase the scoreline, but Town were comfortable 3-0 winners in this one.
Shrewsbury’s long trek to Plymouth on Saturday has a slight question mark hanging over it. The Pilgrims faced Leyton Orient at the weekend, and the London based side have had to postpone their Carabao Cup tie against Tottenham after several players tested positive for COVID-19.
Newcastle U21s kick-start their Premier League 2 campaign against Burnley on Friday.
Team Line Ups
31. Sarkic, 17. Love, 3. Golbourne, 12. Sears (50), 2. Pierre, 25. High, 16. Walker (45), 10. Vela, 35. Cummings, 23. Udoh (66), 19. Barnett
Subs: 1. Burgoyne, 5. Williams (50), 7. Whalley, 8. Norburn (45), 26. Rowland, 37. Aris, 39. Bloxham (66)
Subs Not Used: 1. Burgoyne, 7. Whalley, 26. Rowland, 37. Aris
Newcastle United U21
53. Brown, 34. Cass, 47. Brookwell, 46. Francillette, 52. Wilson (15), 45. Longelo (85), 63. Thomson (62), 51. Young, 55. Flaherty, 57. Anderson, 39. Toure
Subs: 58. Gamblin (85), 61. Carlyon (62), 64. Brennen, 72. Stephenson (15), 77. Banda
Subs Not Used: 64. Brennen, 77. Banda