Lincoln City 1-0 Shrewsbury Town: Elliott Whitehouse strike hands Imps Checkatrade Trophy glory
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 08/04/18 8:12pm
Elliott Whitehouse scored the only goal of the game as Lincoln City beat Shrewsbury Town 1-0 to win the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley Stadium.
Whitehouse made the crucial breakthrough after just 16 minutes, finishing from close range after Dean Henderson had kept out Luke Waterfall's effort following a corner.
Danny Cowley's side held on thereafter to become just the fifth fourth-tier team to get their hands on the trophy, while for Shrewsbury it was a fourth defeat from four appearances at the home of football.
Shrewsbury: Henderson (6), Bolton (6), Nsiala (6), Sadler (6), Beckles (8), Bryn Morris (8), Whalley (7), Nolan (7), Godfrey (6), Thomas (6), Carlton Morris (6)
Subs: Gnahoua, Rodman, Payne
Lincoln: Allsop (7), Eardley (7), Bostwick (6), Waterfall (8), Habergham (6), Whitehouse (9), Woodyard (6), Frecklington (7), Green (6), Rhead (6), Rowe (7)
Subs: Long (6), Palmer (6), Anderson (6)
Man of the match: Elliott Whitehouse
Shrewsbury midfielder Carlton Morris might have opened the scoring after only five minutes after cracking an unstoppable volley against the top of the bar.
However, it was the League Two play-off hopefuls who did take the lead shortly after following a right-wing corner.
The ball somehow made its way through to Waterfall, and after the Lincoln captain's close-range strike was saved by Henderson, there was Whitehouse in the right place to stab home from virtually on the line.
Shrewsbury were more than a little unfortunate not to go in on level terms at the break after Ryan Allsop pulled off a sensational one-handed save to keep out Omar Beckles' close-range header.
Then from the rebound, Waterfall should have given away a penalty and been sent off after blocking James Bolton's goalbound shot with his hand.
Paul Hurst's team pushed on after the interval in search of an equaliser, although it was Lincoln who actually went closet to scoring again.
Defenders James Williams and Scott Wharton, as well as midfielders Tom Pett and Jordan Williams, were all cup tied for the Imps.
Toto Nsiala played after passing a late fitness test, but the defender was forced to wear a protective mask after breaking his cheekbone. Alex Rodman was only fit enough for a place on the Shrews subs' bench after a back problem, but skipper Abu Ogogo was out after suffering a knee injury in training, with Bryn Morris replacing him in midfield.
However, striker Matthew Rhead - who was fortunate only to have been booked after just 10 minutes for a flying elbow in Henderson's face - side-footed over from 10 yards out after being found by Whitehouse's pull back from the left-hand byline.
As much as the League One highflyers huffed and puffed in the second period, Lincoln - playing at the national stadium for the first time in their 133-year history - held out with relatively few alarms.
Man of the Match: Elliott Whitehouse
The Lincoln midfielder found himself in the right place, at the right time, to score his side's winner at the home of football.
The 24-year-old was also behind Lincoln's best opening of the second period, only for frontman Rhead to miss the gaping goal.
Danny Cowley: "Twenty-seven thousand supporters for a League Two club is just incredible, and so I am really pleased for them," he said after the game.
"Because as a football club, it has not had the success that the supporters deserve over its 134-year history.
"But to do what we did last year, and then back it up with another successful season, has been great.
"We are really pleased about this trophy, we are pleased to win it, but we want to use the momentum to help push us on in the league, as that was always going to be our mountain.
"The good thing now is that as a group, we have won something and we will definitely draw confidence from that."
Shrewsbury travel to mid-table Bradford on Thursday night for a crucial clash in their push to win automatic promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.
Meanwhile, Lincoln visit struggling Port Vale on Saturday afternoon as the Imps look to secure a place in the League Two play-offs.