Fleetwood Town Under 18s were held to a 0-0 draw against Shrewsbury Town to make it four games unbeaten in the Youth Alliance League.
Town had a number of opportunities to claim three points, with defender James Hill going close on three separate occasions. Striker Kian Makepeace almost won it for Town when he met the end of Shayden Morris’ cross, but his effort was tipped onto the post by Shrewsbury goalkeeper Jack Atkinson. Town were left disappointed at the final whistle as they were held to their second consecutive goalless draw.
It was a much-changed team for Fleetwood as Carl Johnston and Dylan Boyle, who was captaining the side, made their debuts having been granted international clearance. They replaced Alkeo Bani and Ryan Rydel in the starting 11, while Makepeace also came in for Sam O’Halleron.
Town had a chance to take the lead in the 5th minute when attacking midfielder Jay Matete swung in a brilliant corner that found Hill in the box, and his header was well saved by Atkinson.
The Shrews’ first attack came when full back Zac Hartley crossed the ball in from the right, but Luke Ward’s header was well blocked. The ball then found its way to Kian Taylor on the edge of the area, whose effort was fired well over.
Morris then threatened for Fleetwood as he took on Dan Walker and delivered a low cross into the box, but Cian Hayes’ failed to capitalise.
Shrewsbury almost took the lead in the 15th minute as forward Jamaine Turner was played in on goal, but Town stopper Alex Clayton denied him with a fine save. The rebound fell at the feet of Lifumpa Mwandwe inside the box, and he sliced the ball wide of the near post.
Hill then had his second chance of the game, and once again it was from a Matete corner. The Town defender had a free header from six yards, but he couldn't keep the ball down as he saw his effort flash just inches over the crossbar.
Fleetwood then came excruciatingly close to taking the lead when Morris once again beat his marker for pace, crossed the ball in and Makepeace guided the ball towards the far corner. A stunning fingertip save by Atkinson saw the ball bounce back off the post and cleared from danger.
Shrewsbury then had an opportunity to break the deadlock when Taylor found Mwandwe at the back post, but his header was straight at Clayton.
With 42 minutes gone, Makepeace squared the ball to debutant Johnston and he shot from 30 yards, and his effort went narrowly wide of the bottom corner.
Fleetwood started the second half brightly as Hayes battled well to win a corner, and Atkinson denied Morris from the resulting ball into the box.
After a wonderful performance against Carlisle United last weekend, Hayes produced another impressive display for Town. With 60 minutes gone, he dribbled past two defenders and fizzed in a dangerous ball, but it went agonisingly wide.
Matete was a creative spark throughout for Town as they searched for the opening goal, and he went close from distance but couldn't find the target.
Johnston impressed on his debut in a central midfield role alongside Anthony Williams, and after some clever skill in the box, he found a yard of space and unleashed a goal bound effort, but once again Atkinson saved.
Shrewsbury pushed forward when Mwandwe’s shot from distance took an awkward deflection, and once again Clayton produced a fine stop. Another flawless performance made it just two goals conceded in five matches this season for the Town goalkeeper.
Town continued to press forward as Matete’s flick on saw Makepeace clean through on goal, he lined up a strike but a last ditch recovery tackle by Walker denied him.
Hill then had his third chance of the match, and once again it was Shrews’ number one Atkinson who denied him. At the other end Hill put in a strong display when up against a physical opponent in Shrewsbury striker Ryan Grosvenor. The Town back four also consisted of Boyle, Liam Goldsborough and Jamie Cooke, and their clean sheet was thoroughly deserved.
Town pushed for the winner in the 78th minute as Morris cut in from the left wing, his deflected effort was heading for the bottom corner and it was well saved.
Shrewsbury pressed for a late goal when substitute Archie Elmore dribbled past two defenders on the right and won a corner, but Clayton cleared from danger to ensure a well-earned clean sheet.
It finished goalless between the two sides, as Town’s third draw in four league games this season was enough to retain their unbeaten status. Fleetwood had numerous opportunities to claim the three points, but they couldn't find the breakthrough they deserved against tough opposition, on what proved to be a challenging outing at Poolfoot Farm.
Town XI: Clayton (GK), Boyle ©, Hill, Cooke, Goldsborough, Williams (Smith 70’), Johnston, Matete, Morris, Hayes, Makepeace.
Subs not used: Mason, Boult.
Shrewsbury Town XI: Atkinson (GK), Hartley, Walker, Rowland, Ward, Davies, Turner (Redding 58’), Taylor, Grosvenor, Leask (Elmore 58’), Mwandwe.
Subs not used: Agius, Davies, Corfield.