Exeter 0 Shrewsbury Town 2 - Report

Shrewsbury Town signed off their pre-season in style as they made it three wins from three beating a resolute Exeter City side 2-0 at St James Park, writes Daniel Clark.

Dan Udoh of Shrewsbury Town celebrates with his team mates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1. (AMA)
Dan Udoh of Shrewsbury Town celebrates with his team mates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1. (AMA)

Daniel Udoh struck twice in the opening ten minutes to put Salop ahead as they dominated the early stages against the League Two Grecians to make it four goals in three games for the ex-Telford man.

Firstly the 24-year-old tapped home from close range after unselfish work from former Exeter man Ryan Bowman, and then moments after the summer signing had a shot cleared off the line, the Nigerian drilled home from the edge of the box.

Shrewsbury were the better side, although rarely tested Cameron Dawson in the City goal, and relied on Marco Marosi making a series of saves at the end of the first period to stay ahead, before the second half petered out into a non-event with little in the way of goalmouth action.

David Davis of Shrewsbury Town and Sam Nombe of Exeter City. (AMA)

In what was a first home game of pre-season for Exeter City on the newly re-laid turf at St James Park, manager Matt Taylor again stuck with the 3-4-3 system and named new signings Dawson and Jonathan Grounds in the line-up for the first time.

For Shrewsbury, Steve Cotterill made two changes from the side that beat Hereford 11 days ago, bringing in Udoh to replace Tom Bloxham upfront, with him starting alongside Bowman, who had the captain’s armband on. The other alteration saw George Nurse, who joined this week from Bristol City, replace Ethan Ebanks-Landell in the defence,

Marosi started in goal, with Matthew Pennington, Luke Leahy and Nurse in the back three, Elliot Bennett and Nathanael Ogbeta as wing-backs, Shaun Whalley, Josh Vela and David Davis in midfield, with Bowman and Udoh upfront.

Town could only name five substitutes, with club skipper Oliver Norburn again not involved after being involved in Gold Cup action with Grenada this summer, although Aaron Pierre was named on the bench.

And within the first three minutes, City could have taken the lead. Josh Key, linked with a move to Sunderland, found space down the right and swung in a cross which was chested down by summer signing Sam Nombe, but his half-volley was expertly kept out by a fingertip save by Marosi.

Dan Udoh of Shrewsbury Town celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-2. (AMA)

Moments later though, Salop broke the deadlock. Bowman chased down a long ball and got the better of George Ray, outmuscling him and coming away with the ball, and unselfishly squared the ball for the Nigerian to tap home from close range.

Salop were on top, and after Pennington swung a cross from deep, which Whalley kept alive, only a goal-line clearance from Pierce Sweeney stopped Bowman from scoring against his former club, but the reprieve lasted seconds.

City couldn’t clear their lines, Udoh was allowed time and space to turn on the edge of the box, take a touch, and drill home with his left foot past Dawson to put them 2-0 up inside ten minutes.

And on 25 minutes, it could have been three. The City midfield got in each other's way in the midfield and the ball broke to Udoh, who sprinted forward. But rather than shooting from the 18 yard line, chose to slide in Whalley, but Grounds managed to race back and block his tame effort on the line. From the resulting corner, Pennington rose highest, but headed straight at Dawson.

But gradually the Grecians were finding some confidence and on 35 minutes came close to pulling one back. Jevani Brown and Timothee Dieng combined slickly down the left, and the former rounded Marosi, but his effort from a narrow angle was headed off the line by Leahy, with the Slovakian keeper having a lucky escape from the corner when he nearly punched into his own net.

The new signing from Coventry had to atone for another error just before the break after a poor clearance gave the ball straight to Brown, but his low curling shot was palmed away by the 27-year-old, with the goalkeeper also denying Key with an outstretched arm as he drove into the box and looked set to score.

Shaun Whalley of Shrewsbury Town and Harry Kite of Exeter City. (AMA)

Bowman thought he had his goal, but was denied by the offside flag, in what was a rare piece of action after the break, before Dawson foiled him from twice close range, while at the other end, Leahy threw his body in the way to block a goalbound Nombe strike.

After beating AFC Telford United 3-2 and Hereford 2-1, it’s three wins from three in pre-season for Cotterill’s men before they host Burton Albion next weekend in League One.

Teams

Exeter City: (3-4-3) – Cameron Dawson, Pierce Sweeney, George Ray, Jonathan Grounds (Callum Rowe, 60), Josh Key, Archie Collins (Timothee Dieng, 15, Harry Kite, 75) Nigel Atangana, Jack Sparkes, Jevani Brown (James Dodd, 86), Sam Nombe, Joel Randall (Ben Seymour, 73)

Subs: Harry Lee, Jake Caprice, Jordan Dyer.

Shrewsbury Town: (3-5-2) - Marco Marosi, Matthew Pennington, Luke Leahy, George Nurse, Elliot Bennett (Rekeil Pyke, 71), Shaun Whalley, David Davis, Josh Vela, Nathanael Ogbeta (Joshua Daniels, 71), Daniel Udoh, Ryan Bowman.

Subs: Harry Burgoyne, Cam Gregory, Aaron Pierre,

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