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Match Report: Shrewsbury Town 2 – 1 Bolton Wanderers

Shrewsbury Town seal passage to the knockout stages of the EFL Trophy with a narrow win against Bolton Wanderers.

Ryan Barnett made it two from as many EFL Trophy games to get the ball rolling in the 19th minute; and Jason Cummings staked a claim for a league starting berth by effectively wrapping up the win just before half-time.

The visitors probably deserved more from their trip to Shropshire, but could only muster a consolation through teenager Adam Senior.

The big news prior to kick-off was the surprising debut of Brentford loanee Jan Zamburek. The Czech midfielder only joined on Monday night, but he was one of a handful of changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Gillingham at the weekend. Shillow Tracey was handed his debut, whilst Matt Millar was on the bench.

As for Bolton, it’s a far cry from the days of top half Premier League finishes. Ivan Evatt made nine changes from the side that beat Harrogate 2-1. There was no place in the squad for Captain and ex Shrewsbury midfielder Antoni Sarcevic; but former Town man Arthur Gnahoua made his second appearance for the Trotters.

Shrewsbury Town dominated the early possession without carving any clear chances to test goalkeeper Billy Crellin.

Town’s last win against Bolton arrived 30 years ago, with these two sides rarely meeting during the past three decades due to differing league fortunes. However, Shrewsbury entered their latest clash against the Greater Manchester side as favourites, and it did show early on. Bolton looked nervous in possession, demonstrated by Brandon Comley’s pass back to his goalkeeper which had far too much on it.

Whilst Bolton got away with that one, they were punished for their next mistake. Former Leicester defender George Taft gifted possession to Ryan Barnett who sized the initiative, before firing beyond Crellin and into the bottom corner.

Yet Bolton came back swinging and should have been level two minutes later. Arthur Gnahoua, who scored just one league goal for Town, connected to Lee Gordon’s cross and Harry Burgoyne was forced into a reaction save.

Arthur Gnahoua was in the mood to impress and he won his side a penalty with the combination of Aaron Pierre and Scott Golbourne upending the forward. Tom White took responsibility, but his effort struck the post and Brad Walker cleared his lines.

Shrewsbury were looking to punish Bolton for their failure to convert from 12 yards. Tottenham loanee Shillow Tracey cushioned the ball to ex Wanderers man Josh Vela who struck wide of the target.

The visitors were still creating opportunities of their own. Ronan Darcy found Lee Gordon with a tremendous switch of play, but Bolton couldn’t profit from the situation.

Instead, Town doubled their advantage two minutes before half time. Brandan Comley was again at fault for sloppy play and Jason Cummings took control – the former Nottingham Forest striker zipped a low attempt from roughly 20 yards past Billy Crellin.

At the beginning of the second half, the impressive Jan Zamburek won possession high up the field. The ball eventually reached Jason Cummings who lifted his shot over the bar.

Bolton reduced the arrears in the 64th minute. Ronan Darcy’s free-kick was met by Ross Greenidge and Adam Senior bundled home to score his first goal for the club.

Ivan Evatt’s side were rejuvenated. Ross Greenidge guided the ball back across goal to Arthur Gnahoua who nodded wide – the flag spared the forward’s blushes who should have done better from close range.

Shrewsbury continued to push forward in an attempt to dampen the away sides spirits. Billy Crellin was able to deny Ryan Barnett from netting a brace.

Bolton tried in vain to locate an equaliser with Hickman and Darcy linking up brilliantly, but the former could only blast wide.

However, Town held on for the win, to ensure that the final group clash against Crewe is a dead rubber.

Shrewsbury’s league game against Doncaster, which was initially scheduled for Saturday has been postponed, meaning that their next game is away to AFC Wimbledon on October 17th. Bolton host Grimsby at the weekend.

Team Line Ups:

Shrewsbury Town

1. Burgoyne, 18. Fossey, 16. Walker, 2. Pierre, 3. Golbourne, 25. High, 10. Vela (45), 13. Zamburek, 20. Tracey (80), 35. Cummings, 19. Barnett

Subs: 6. Goss, 14. Millar (80), 17. Love, 21. Gregory, 22. Daniels (45), 26. Rowland, 30. Caton

Subs Not Used: 6. Goss, 17. Love, 21. Gregory, 26. Rowland, 30. Caton

Bolton Wanderers

1. Crellin, 34. Senior, 6. Delaney (45), 4. Taft, 12. Hickman, 14. White (37), 8. Comley, 3. Gordon, 17. Darcy, 24. Gnahoua, 37. Hurford-Lockett (69)

Subs: 15. Mascoll (69), 16. Greenidge (45), 40. Conway, 41. Tweedley, 42. Le Fondre, 43. Alexander, 44. Riley (37)

Subs Not Used: 40. Conway, 41. Tweedley, 42. Le Fondre, 43. Alexander

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