Graham Turner's thoughts after the defeat away to Portsmouth
Graham Turner felt the scoreline was a harsh reflection on Shrewsbury's performance. “We dominated the first half, their keeper has made some good saves, we've had other shooting positions, said the Town manager.
“We were a bit sluggish at the start of the second half, but you can't concede goals like we have to give them the lead. We got back into it and it was a severe blow having Marvin Morgan sent off. Even down to ten men we had other opportunities. Again, the keeper has made saves, they were getting blocks on shots, and there were goalmouth scrambles. We shouldn't have lost this game today.
On Morgan's red card, just two minutes after the striker had given Shrewsbury a lifeline, Turner reflected: “I haven't had a chance to see the referee yet but what's being said is that it was a yellow card for the tackle, but he got the ball and it was an innocuous tackle anyway, and then a straight red. The official outside the referees room has said it was for intimidating the referee but Marvin says he never swore at him.We will wait for the report and see what comes of it. It depends what the circumstances were, so I don't know whether he'll miss one game or three.
The Town manager felt the decision proved crucial in the final result. “We've played well, we've put a lot into it and the players confidence shouldn't be knocked back by this. There is no doubt for long periods we dominated it, should have been in the lead, and were miles the better team. We should have been in the lead at half time, for all our good play. With Portsmouth kicking towards their popular end in the second half, the crowd were always going to get behind them. We had to keep doing things we did well in the first half, but for whatever reason there were changes in what we tried to do which put us on the back-foot at times. Having got back to 2-1, if Marvin stays on the pitch, we've got a very good chance of getting something from the game. Even then, we stuck at it, there were goalmouth scrambles, we worked that little bit harder – on another day we might have had one or two that might have gone in.”
Turner felt the third goal, in second half stoppage time, flattered the hosts. “There were hanging on at 2-1. They were wasting time and we looked as though we might get something back from the game.”
On the season so far, Turner remained philosophical. “It has been difficult to assess what we've done. There have been many times where we have played some very good football, created some good scoring opportunities and yet we find ourselves in the wrong end of the table. We have to keep working on what we believe in, what the players are good at and sooner of later it will turn.
Ahead of Tuesday's home match against Yeovil, Turner said: “We go into the game under a little bit of pressure now because of this result. We've got to be able to cope with that pressure. You've only got to look around Fratton Park and the noise that was being made. Players have to show they are coping of playing in hostile places like Portsmouth rather than Macclesfield and Accrington. So far they've shown me they can play in these environments.
There was also a surprise inclusion on the bench for 42 year old goalkeeping coach Gavin Ward. Turner explained: “Joe Anyon was injured in the Crewe game and while he was fit enough for the bench in the Walsall match, he felt his hip during the week in training, so Gavin Ward came in. He's got a lot of experience, he sometimes keeps goal in training and is still agile enough and a good enough keeper to have on the bench in an emergency. He's a steadying influence rather than having a 16 year old on the bench.”