Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury Town 2 Aston Villa 1 - Report and pictures

Late goals from Zak Jules and Arthur Gnahoua earned Shrewsbury Town victory and ensured John Terry’s Villa debut ended in defeat.

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Jules and Gnahoua both struck in the final 15 minutes of a low-key friendly at Montgomery Waters Meadow.

Town took the lead when Jules took advantage of slack marking to head home at a corner before Gnahoua, on as a substitute, grabbed the second with a fine solo effort.

Villa failed to register a shot on target before Henri Lansbury fired home a stoppage time penalty after Jordan Lyden had been felled by Christos Shellis.

Terry’s inclusion in the Villa team - and his appointment as skipper for the season - was the big pre-season news for the visitors.

But the performance of Steve Bruce’s team was rather subdued and they succumbed to two late strikes following a raft of changes which saw Terry and seven others withdrawn just past the hour mark.

Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst will have taken far greater encouragement from the performance of his team with a number of new signings standing out, including Gnahoua, who capped his cameo performance with a fine goal.

The Town starting XI featured five new boys, Dean Henderson, Zak Jules, Ebou Adams, Jon Nolan and Carlton Morris, with plenty more on the bench.

Morris, Town’s new No.9 was making his first start after missing out in the defeat at Brackley. In stayed Shelis, a youth product who joined Hurst in moving from Grimsby and has featured both in Portugal and in midweek.

By far the biggest team news concerning the visitors was the inclusion of Terry in the starting XI, with Villa confirming the 36-year-old had been named captain for the season around an hour or so ahead of kick-off.

Villa’s team also included goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who rejoined on Friday from Manchester United on a season-long loan, while boss Steve Bruce opted for a midfield pairing of Conor Hourihane and the wantaway Jordan Veretout. Ross McCormack and Scott Hogan started up front.

Town were rigid in their 4-4-2 and squeezed out Villa’s early passing momentum, with debutant forward Morris occupying Terry well in Shrewsbury’s final third.

Villa enjoyed a little bit of joy down their right, with Alan Hutton and Andre Green combining on occasions as they looked for the byline.

The game was 20 minutes old before its first effort on goal. Shaun Whalley was alive to a loose ball and lashed a first-time volley over the top from distance.

Conor Hourihane lashed a free-kick harmlessly over for Villa before Jon Nolan, starting on the left flank, headed a great opening just wide.

The ball fell perfectly from a deflected Morris cross but the ex-Grimsby man could only help it inches wide of Johnstone’s far post.

That was it as far as efforts on goal were concerned until just before the break, when Louis Dodds, Shrewsbury’s top scorer last season, escaped the clutches of Terry with a nice touch before dragging his finish across goal and wide.

Dodds was also off target early in the second period, this time from a slightly better position. Whalley’s knockdown from Nolan’s cross appeared to sit up perfectly for the attacker but his shot was sliced well over the bar.

Both teams made extensive changes just past the hour mark, with Villa making no fewer than eight in one go.

Alan Hutton headed over a free-kick from one of the new arrivals, Lansbury, shortly afterward. Gary Gardner then came closer than anyone to breaking the deadlock when he drove a 25-yard free-kick onto the outside of the post.

Gnahoua pulled an effort wide as the game entered the final 20 minutes and soon it was the hosts who got their noses in front in simple fashion. Jules met substitute Bryn Morris’ corner unmarked at the far post and got enough on his header to beat Johnstone in goal.

John-Lewis then dragged a shot wide as Town went in search of a second and it duly arrived with ten minutes remaining.

Gnahoua showed great poise to ride two challenges before lashing a shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.

Villa at least enjoyed a late consolation when Lansbury fired home with the final kick of the game from the spot after Lyden had been upended.


Town (4-4-2): Henderson (MacGillivray, 53); Shelis, Nsiala, Jules, Brown; Whalley (Rodman 61), Ogogo ©, Adams (B Morris 61), Nolan (James 61); Dodds (Gnahoua 61), C Morris (John-Lewis 61) Subs not used: Gallagher, Sears, Roberts.

Villa (4-4-2): Johnstone, Hutton, Chester (Richards 62), Terry © (Bree 62), Taylor (Amavi 62), Green (Gardner 62), Veretout (Tshibola 62), Hourihane (Lansbury 62), Bjarnason (Lyden 86), Hogan (Agbobnlahor 62), McCormack (Davis 62) Subs not used: Samba, Lyden, Bunn (gk), Sarkic (gk).