Ruth: Players did everything right in Shrewsbury draw

Our under-21s drew with the Shrews in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday.

By Richie Mills • 20 September 2023

By Clive Howes
Shannon Ruth's team beat Walsall in their opening EFL Trophy match, before drawing with Shrewsbury on Tuesday.

Under-21 boss Shannon Ruth feels Albion's penalty shootout loss to Shrewsbury Town will be a character-building experience for his side. 

Albion shaded the chances in their EFL Trophy match against the League One team on Tuesday night but ultimately lost 4-1 in the shootout, following a goalless draw in 90 minutes.

Although they secured a clean sheet in normal time, which brought with it a point, Ruth was left thinking about what might have been after leaving The Croud Meadow.

"We are slightly disappointed with the result considering the effort the lads put in. I thought we stood up to their [Shrewsbury's] direct play, their levels of physicality, and to get a clean sheet against a League One side with the threats they have is a good accomplishment for our young players," he said.

By Clive Howes
Our men's under-21s face Forest Green Rovers in their final group stage match in November.

"They have been thrown things they are not used to week in, week out in Premier League 2 and that is what makes this competition so important for the players' development.

"We are really pleased to get that clean sheet and then our personality with the ball and how we tried to control the game and the chances we created we were happy with - just a little bit disappointed not to score."

We had multiple opportunities to emerge victorious on the night but came up against an in-form Shrews keeper Marko Marosi, who repeatedly kept Mark O'Mahony and substitute Benicio Baker-Boaitey at bay. 

"I thought their goalkeeper was man of the match, he made some terrific saves," said Ruth. "They played with a back five so there wasn't a lot of space in and around their box so we had to work really hard to get behind or through them, so that nullified the quality of chances that we normally create. The keeper played well, the lads did everything right, so a mixture of everything but we felt we created enough to score."

By Clive Howes
Albion have four points from their first two EFL Trophy group stage matches.

When penalties arrived, O'Mahony and Luca Barrington missed from the spot, whereas Tom Bayliss, Ryan Bowman, Elliott Bennett and Joe Anderson all scored for the hosts. 

While Baker-Boaitey was the only Albion player to score from 12 yards, Ruth was quick to praise his young team.

"We practice [penalties] but the thing we don't have is experience in that type of situation," he said. "Even though we lost the shootout, we will be far better for it. To be fair to Shrewsbury, they were composed in that situation and they have some experienced players who have been in these types of situations. Dealing with pressure takes over and the young players will learn from this."

Brighton return to EFL Trophy action on Tuesday 7 November when they take on League Two outfit Forest Green Rovers in their final group stage match.