Shropshire FA chiefs to hold talks with Shrewsbury Town and AFC Telford
Embarrassed Shropshire FA chiefs want talks with AFC Telford and Shrewsbury Town following their Shropshire Senior Cup exits.
The two teams were knocked out at the competition’s semi-final stage on Thursday – Town losing 5-3 on penalties after drawing 1-1 against Shawbury United and the Bucks being thrashed 14-1 by The New Saints.
Neither Shrewsbury and Telford were at full strength, although Town often use the competition to give youngsters experience. The Bucks, who beat Town in last year’s final, have came in for more criticism as their fixture at Park Hall was a complete mismatch – a group of inexperienced teenagers going up against several professional Saints first-teamers, including New Zealand international Greg Draper.
Competition rules state teams should put out ‘the strongest side available’, although there is nothing to stop them fielding youth sides in the senior competition.
Shropshire FA chairman Dave Ralphs said: “It’s extremely disappointing and quite honestly embarrassing, embarrassing for the Shropshire Football Association.”
The final between Saints and Shawbury takes place at Whitchurch Alport on Wednesday.
Telford announced earlier in the week they would field a ‘Telford XI’ for the fixture.
And their expectation was that the Saints’ side would also be made up primarily of youngsters, given they had played in a Champions League qualifier against Rijeka two nights before.
A lot of supporters were angered by Telford’s decision to select such a young team, while other fans feel the competition does more harm than good and could be timed better – given the fact the Bucks had friendlies last Saturday, on Tuesday and one today.
Luke Shelley, Telford’s head of youth, said: “Although the result did not go as we hoped, planned or expected, it was a good experience for the boys to play for the club in a competitive fixture.
“It is a learning experience for them.
We understand fans’ frustration. As well as all the negatives though, there were some positives to take out of it.”
Town chief executive Brian Caldwell said: “I don’t think it would have been fair for us to play a full strength team against Shawbury, no disrespect to them.
“I think it’s normal for senior teams playing in local semi-finals to play an under-23/reserve team.”