MATCH REPORT: SHREWSBURY TOWN 0 CAMBRIDGE UNITED 1
A first half goal by Joe Pigott saw Cambridge United begin their Checkatrade Trophy campaign with a 1-0 away win over League One side Shrewsbury Town.
The forward claimed his first competitive strike for the U’s in a dominant first half display, with a solid collective performance securing United the result in the second half.
U’s boss Shaun Derry made a number of changes for the Northern section Group G opener; most notably offering a senior debut to Academy player Leon Davies at right back. At 16-years and 283 days old, the defender became the second youngest person ever to represent the U’s after Andy Sinton (16 yrs, 223 days).
United took control of the tie early on, as Ben Williamson tested goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler with a low shot from close range after linking up with striker partner Pigott inside the host’s area on two minutes.
The Shrewsbury shot stopper was called into action nine minutes later, when Leon Legge charged onto to a corner delivery by Jake Gosling and headed powerfully on target, which Leutwiler palmed away at point blank range to keep it goalless.
However, the U’s continued to enjoy the best of the first half play and took the lead through Pigott on 19 minutes, who wrestled the ball over the line after a superb cross by Medy Elito from the right wing.
Shaun Derry’s men remained the dominant side, with Leutwiler denying the U’s a second on 39 minutes after Conor Newton burst through the home side defence and poked an effort towards goal.
It also seemed United had doubled their advantage moments before the break when the ball fell for Legge inside the Shrews box to finish clinically, but referee Chris Sarginson chalked off the effort to the bemusement of many in the ground.
The pattern of the first half continued after the break, with a great chance falling to Jake Gosling on 57 minutes as the winger went through one-on-one with Leutwiler at an angle to goal, but agai the keeper denied United the opportunity extend their lead.
Both sides elected to make a triple substitution around the hour, with the U’s introducing Piero Mingoia, Uche Ikpeazu and Sean Long to proceedings, which signalled the end of a commendable debut for Leon Davies who received a warm applause from his fellow first team colleagues as he departed the field.
Will Norris was forced to throw his body where it hurt, as Shrews sub Louis Dodds charged at goal on 68 minutes. Ian Black fired a long range attempt towards the U’s goal on 75 minutes, which Norris watched with great care as it sailed over the bar.
The Shrews pushed hard for an equaliser during the latter stages of the game, but the U’s held firm to take the spoils
Shrewsbury Town: Leutwiler, Riley, Sadler, Lancashire, Black, Ogogo, Brown, Leitch-Smith (Mangan, 56 mins),Choulay (Deegan, 56 mins), Waring, Jones (Dodds, 56 mins)
Cambridge United: Norris, Taylor, Legge, Dallison, Davies (Long, 61 mins), Gosling, Clark, Newton, Elito (Mingoia, 61 mins), Pigott, Williamson (Ikpeazu, 61 mins)
Goal: Joe Pigott
Attendance: 1,187 (63 away fans)