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EFL Trophy: Shrewsbury Town 0-4 Port Vale

Shrewsbury Town were dumped out of the EFL Trophy at the group stages for the second successive season after they were comprehensively beaten by Port Vale.

Tom Bloxham of Shrewsbury Town and Liam McCarron of Port Vale (AMA)
Tom Bloxham of Shrewsbury Town and Liam McCarron of Port Vale (AMA)

Salop rarely laid a glove on Vale just three days after the sides had met in the league - and were behind at the break as Dennis Politic's deflected strike found the corner.

The game was settled inside ten minutes of the second period as Politic capitalised on indecision at the back to complete his hat-trick.

And then former Salop midfielder Brad Walker got in on the act - scoring the goal of the net, lashing home for 25 yards to complete the route.


As expected it was a much changed line-up on both sides - with Steve Cotterill making nine alterations from the side that were beaten at Vale Park three days earlier.

Only Carl Winchester and Taylor Moore retained their places - with youngsters Declan Hutchings and Josh Bailey coming in at the back after impressing in the previous EFL Trophy game against Wolves under 21s.

And Elliott Bennett, just days after making the bench at Vale, was named handed his first appearance this season since returning from injury.

Elliott Bennett of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)

And Darrell Clarke went two better - making 11 changes from the side that grabbed the 91st winner in the league meeting between the sides.

Both teams enjoyed spells of possession in the opening quarter of an hour, as Ryan Bowman flashed a header over from Bennett's corner, with Thierry Small allowed room to draw a simple save out of Harry Burgoyne at the other end.

Salop had already had a warning but didn't heed it and on 15 minutes Politic took full advantage of the room he was given on the edge of the box to put Vale ahead.

He was allowed to cut inside 18 yards out and compose himself before firing home into the corner with the aid of a deflection.

Vale debutant Liam McCarron then skipped past two players before failing to get a shot off - with Vale having the upper hand over Salop.

Tom Bloxham of Shrewsbury Town and Dennis Politic of Port Vale.

And much of that was down to the midfield, with the experienced Vale skipper Tom Conlon pulling the strings in midfield and using his experience to conduct the game.

Going the other way Salop were struggling to create anything meaningful - with the front line unable to make the ball stick throughout the half.

One positive Cotterill and his coaching staff would have taken from the opening 45 though would have come in the way of Bennett's return to the side.

Taking the armband on his first appearance since ankle surgery in July, the experienced full back was solid, won his tackles and put in a couple of dangerous balls into the box.

And he dug out a teasing cross late in the half which Charlie Caton got on the end of - but the youngster could only turn the cross over the bar.

Josh Barlow of Shrewsbury Town (AMA)

The visitors saw a tame penalty shout waved away at the start of the second period - before Burgoyne had to be sharp to keep the hosts in the game minutes later.

Small found space 12 yards out with Burgoyne sticking out a leg to prevent his effort nestling in the bottom corner.

But then within the space of two minutes the game was put beyond all doubt as Politic capitalised on some more slack defending to bag a hat-trick.

First a cross from the right was headed into his path and he lashed a strike past the helpless Burgoyne.

Tom Bloxham of Shrewsbury Town and Connor Hall of Port Vale (AMA)

And then Salop looked all at sea at the back as they failed to capitalise and the Romanian fired into the top corner to all but end the tie with more than 30 minutes left to play.

Substitute George Nurse saw a long range effort blocked but all the play was in Salop's half and it looked like if anyone was to score again it would be the visitors.

Bowman lifted an effort over the bar for Salop and that was about as close as they came all half - before a short free kick caught Salop cold at the other end and Walker took full advantage to arrow an effort home from 25 yards out.

Salop showed little in the way of getting back into the game in the final quarter with Vale finishing the stronger side - as Salop slipped out at the group stages for a second time in two seasons.

Salop (4-2-3-1): Burgoyne, Bennett (Owusu 82), Hutchings, Moore, Bailey, Caton (Etienne 76) (Hernes 82), Winchester (Antal 58), Barlow, Street, Bowman, Bloxham (Nurse 46)

Subs not used: Bevan,Warner

Port Vale (3-5-2): Stone, Walker, Hall, Worrall (Shorrock 75), Conlon (Plant 62), Forrester, Small, Robinson, McDermott, McCarron (Cass 62), Politic (Massey 62)

Subs not used: Jones, Benning, Massey, Stevens, Plant

Attendance: 1,635 (253 Port Vale)

Referee: Ben Toner

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