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Shrewsbury Town U18 0 PNE U18 5

15 April 2013

Brandon Zibaka starred as North End U18s secured the runners-up spot in their final North West Youth Alliance fixture.

Jack Sowerby’s first-half strike sent the visitors in ahead at the break, before goals by Tyler Forbes, Ben Davies, Zibaka and substitute Jack Ryan completed the rout.

The young Lilywhites knew a win would see them pip Rochdale to second place, and they made a bright start, when Zibaka pulled the ball back for Sowerby who fired over inside two minutes.

And just ten minutes later, Sowerby struck Shrewsbury’s first blow, by meeting Matt Greenwood’s corner unmarked with a first-time volley which gave goalkeeper Connor Wearing no chance.

Greenwood blazed an effort over the bar as North End went in search of a second, following Zibaka’s powerful run at the heart of the Shrews defence. 

And Forbes found a chance on the right wing to double the lead, but saw his low strike whistle past the far post when teed up by Zibaka.

A goal for Greenwood, who thought he was onside, was flagged up just after the 20-minute mark when he stroked the ball past Wearing after being picked out by Sowerby.

The young Lilywhites had created more than enough chances to be cruising into half-time, and they missed a great opportunity just moments before the break.

Greenwood whipped another pinpoint corner right onto the penalty spot where Davies was waiting, but the defender fired his header over the crossbar when in acres of space.

And before the referee called for the interval, Greenwood struck a sweet effort with the outside of his right foot, only to see it crash back off the upright.

Preston should, in truth, have secured the win by the half-time with the number of chances that fell to them, and they were almost punished within minutes of the restart.

Shrewsbury striker Sam Molineux hit a curling effort from range on the left of the area, and was desperately unlucky to see it rebound off the post with Preston goalkeeper Steve James beaten.

Greenwood should have scored North End’s second when he missed a one on one with Wearing, but the visitor’s goal came albeit in fortunate circumstances.

Shrews captain Warren Holmes played a short back pass to his goalkeeper, who was unable to nick the ball past the oncoming Forbes as the Preston winger tapped into an empty net.

There was nearly a third for North End within two minutes of scoring their second, as Zibaka cut in onto his right foot from the left and unleashed a powerful strike which had to be parried around the near post.

And from the resulting corner, defender Davies popped up to meet Greenwood’s corner with a well-timed header into the far corner of the Shrewsbury net.

The home side kept on going and created opportunities to pull a goal back, particularly when Dillon Stephenson fired straight at James in Preston’s goal.

And James made a reflex stop to deny Molineux in a one on one, which saw him keep a clean sheet and play a role in North End’s fourth.

The young Lilywhites ran down the pitch following the save and found Zibaka in the box, who danced around the defenders and goalkeeper before firing in off Jack Richards on the line.

Zibaka was a menace to the Shrews defence all afternoon, and unselfishly created the final goal of the game for team-mate Ryan in stoppage time. The striker opted to chip the ball across to Ryan with an empty net when left one on one with goalkeeper Wareing.

North End’s win moved them onto 45 points in the North West Youth Alliance, and was their 14th win of the campaign.

The young Lilywhites now look forward to a cup semi-final with the domestic season over; details of the Lancashire Youth Cup game will be announced on PNE.Com over the coming days.

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