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Sunday, November 28, 2021

FA Cup Round One Match Report: Stratford Town 1 – 5 Shrewsbury Town

A five-star performance from Shrewsbury Town saw Steve Cotterill’s side advance to the second round of the FA Cup.

Shrewsbury were widely expected to ease beyond non-league Stratford with an embarrassing defeat likely to have resulted in a backlash.

However, Shrewsbury remained professional and saw off their opponents, despite falling behind early on. Will Growcott had ITV viewers and home supporters believing that a shock was on the cards as his 5th minute opener stunned the visitors. But a Ryan Bowman brace, and goals courtesy of Luke Leahy, Elliott Bennett, and Tom Bloxham saw Town run out convincing winners.

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Steve Cotterill made three changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Lincoln last time out. Marko Marosi and Matthew Pennington were absent after testing positive for COVID-19, whilst Shaun Whalley was not in the squad. Harry Burgoyne, Aaron Pierre, and Rekeil Pyke were handed starts. Josh Vela returned to the bench after a month out with a knee problem.

Lackadaisical defending from Town gave minnows Stratford a moment to remember. Former West Ham forward Jaanai Gordon took advantage of Aaron Pierre’s poor defending to win a free-kick. Will Growcott linked up with Ashley Sammons and his weak effort somehow went under Harry Burgoyne and into the back of the net.

20 minutes of raucousness ensued, but Salop silenced the cacophony of noise in the 25th minute. Nathanael Ogbeta drilled a cross into the danger area and Ryan Bowman converted from close range. Town stamped their authority on the contest soon after. Dan Udoh’s fierce delivery was skewed wide by Rekeil Pyke and the aforementioned Udoh had a shot blocked as both sides went into the break level.

Nine second minutes lapsed when Town nudged themselves ahead. Nathanael Ogbeta’s sweeping delivery found Ryan Bowman who prodded his shot beyond ex-Portsmouth goalkeeper Liam O’Brien. In the 57th minute, Luke Leahy extended his sides lead with a rasping shot from 30-yards that flew like a missile beyond O’Brien. Elliott Bennett also got himself on the score-sheet. The former Blackburn man whipped a free-kick home as any hopes of a cup shock were well and truly dissipated.

Substitute Tom Bloxham capped off what eventually turned out to be a comfortable afternoon. He raced clear of the Stratford backline prior to calmly slotting home.

Shrewsbury go to Wigan in the Papa John’s Trophy on Wednesday, whilst Stratford face Hednesford.

Team Line Ups

Stratford Town

1. O’Brien, 19. Wilson, 2. Vann, 6. Williams, 3. Issac, 4. Fry, 11. Sammons, 14. Obeng (45 + 7), 10. Growcott, 20. Dawes (83), 9. Gordon (76)

Subs: 7. Lafferty, 8. Power (83), 12. James (45 + 7), 13. Beresford, 15. O’Regan, 16. Chambers, 17. Andoh (76), 99. Elliott

Subs Not Used: 7. Lafferty, 13. Beresford, 15. O’Regan, 99. Elliott

Shrewsbury Town

13. Burgoyne, 4. Ebanks-Landell, 6. Pierre, 23. Nurse, 17. Bennett, 11. Udoh (86), 16. Davis, 3. Leahy, 14. Ogbeta (89), 15. Pyke (89), 12. Bowman (86)

Subs: 9. Cosgrove (86), 10. Vela, 18. Bloxham (86), 19. Caton (89), 24. Leshabela (89), 25. Wilson, 31. Bevan

Subs Not Used: 10. Vela, 25. Wilson, 31. Bevan

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