ACADEMY: Callum McKenzie Post Blackpool
By Media Team on 11/01/2020
Shrewsbury Town's U18s progressed through to the semi-finals of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup after a dramatic penalty shootout win over Blackpool.
It was an open and end to end game which gave great entertainment to the supporters, but probably was a bit more open than both sets of coaches would have liked.
Town looked to be on top early on and went 2-0 up, but Blackpool hit back, and in the end, it took a fourth goal from Charlie Caton late on to take the game to penalties.
ShrewsWeb spoke to Callum McKenzie after the game to get his thoughts on the game.
"I don't really know where to start with that, the first 20 minutes I thought we were excellent", said Callum.
"We changed our shape today for the first time in a number of weeks, to go to a back three.
"I thought we coped well, started the game on the front foot and dominated the ball.
"They sat off us a little bit, which helped, and we created good chances and were positive.
"We were 2-0 up, but then Blackpool started to press us a little higher, this made the game quicker, and we began to make a few mistakes.
"We weren't quite as comfortable out of shape as we were at the start and Blackpool started to get a foothold in the game.
"It then started to see-saw a bit, 2-1, 2-2, we went 3-2 up, and I thought we then might go on and win the game comfortably.
"They then got the equaliser and went in front, you then fear as we've been there a few times this season where we've played really good football but got hit by a sucker punch and lost the game.
"Fair play to the lads they showed a lot of resilience to get another goal and take it to penalties.
"Penalties can be a bit of lottery, but we do practice them, and the lads got the reward for their hard work during the year."
There was a stand out performance from striker Charlie Caton who scored four goals, as well as converting his penalty kick.
"He was clinical today, but to be fair to him he has been like that all season", said Callum.
"He could probably have had a couple more today as well, in the first half in particular.
"Some of his finishing today outstanding, all different types of goals, ones from outside the box, headers.
"He's got a real chance if he keeps working hard, he's a really humble lad, but he has good quality.
"In fairness to the team, he got good service today for parts of the game, where lads have put goals on a plate for him."
Town converted their penalties, and a great save from keeper Luke Burton saw Town win the game. Luke is back in the Town U18s and working hard, and Callum had words of praise for him.
"Luke has come back in, and I'm so pleased for him, it's good to have him back in the academy", said Luke.
"He's been working really hard for the three or four months since he came back in, to get his fitness levels up as he hasn't played a great deal of football over the last 18 months.
"He's still not right there, and he knows that but he's starting to get there, and I think today will give him a boost for the remainder of the season."