All square between U's and Shrews
Cambridge United and Shrewsbury fought out an entertaining goalless draw at the R Costings Abbey Stadium.
Shrewsbury will feel they should have taken all three points, having struck the bar twice through Nathaniel Knight-Percival and Bobby Grant. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro also missed a glorious chance in the first half, while Chris Dunn made a smart save in stoppage time to foil Andy Mangan.
The return of skipper Ian Miller was one of three changes to the U’s line-up. The centre-back started his first match since sustaining an Achilles injury in the play-off final at Wembley last season. Michael Nelson dropped to the bench, along with Luke Chadwick and Sulley Kaikai, as Robbie Simpson and Tom Naylor also came into the side.
United lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, with the visitors opting for a 5-3-2 shape, and Miller was involved early on to block Akpa Akrpo after the busy striker had robbed Richard Tait just inside the U’s half.
The visitors midfield trio of Liam Lawrence, Ryan Woods and Bobby Grant ensured they dominated possession for much of the half, with Micky Mellon’s side passing the ball out neatly from the back.
Chris Dunn had little to do though, with the only clear cut chanced being spurned by Akpa Akpro, who found himself in the clear after a long ball forward, but with the whole goal to aim at dragged his shot well wide.
For United, Ryan Bird flicked a header wide for United, and was denied by Mark Ellis as he slid in to try and finish off Appiah’s low centre.
Shrewsbury keeper Lutweiler departed the action injured at half-time, but his replacement Mark Halstead remained a spectator for much of the half as the visitors went on the offensive. Knight-Percival saw a flicked header from a corner clip the top of the bar, then Grant, who had forced Dunn into a low save just after the restart, went for goal from long range only to be denied by the woodwork.
And the visitors could have won it in stoppage time, Lawrence cutting the ball back to substitute Andy Mangan, whose shot from 12 yards was parried away by Dunn.
May I Claim Man of the Match: Ian Miller
Cambridge United: Dunn, Tait, Taylor, Miller, Coulson, Champion, Hughes, Naylor (Atkinson 77), Appiah, Simpson (Kaikai 60), Bird (Chadwick 64). Subs not used: Norris, Cunnington, Nelson, Blair.
Shrewsbury Town: Leutwiler (Halstead 45), Passley, Demetriou, Ellis, Goldson, Knight-Percival, Woods, Grant, Lawrence, Akpa Akpro (Mangan 71), Collins. Subs not used: Vincent, Vernon, Gayle, Griffith, Clark.
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 5,346 (away 346)