Final day victory pleases GT ahead of 2013/14 preparations
By Matt Johnson
A thrilling 3-2 victory over Portsmouth in the League One season closer left Graham Turner in a reflective mood of the past nine months work.
Connor Goldson gave Town the lead early on against Pompey and a second free-kick in successive games for Joe Jacobson made it two before the break. Loanee Akwasi Asante put Town three ahead in the second half but Portsmouth twice responded to set up a tense ending.
“It was nice to end on a five goal thriller,” said Turner. “I thought we dominated for long periods and then perhaps just that lack of experience where at 3-0, we should’ve taken the sting out of the game, but we nearly paid a heavy price for not doing it.
“The enthusiasm, energy and hard work we showed again for most of the game was first class. We should’ve had one or two more in the second half too when we got in good shooting positions, and even late in the game we perhaps could’ve scored and added to the three goals that we got, but overall it’s been good.”
Against the odds, Town recovered from a relegation scrap to finish 16th in League One after victory over Pompey – the highest position the Club has finished in the Football League pyramid for 23 years.
“I had no idea about that record, but it’s nice to look back on that and face it as a season where it hasn’t gone exactly as we wanted, but we’ll move on and make sure we’re stronger next season.
“I think we’re happy with the final league position after the way it went. We’ve talked about it before after a good start to the season in terms of performances but the results didn’t come, and we found ourselves at the wrong end of the table.
“Character was shown and we finished 16th, and I would think that we’ve got to be very satisfied with that given the circumstances of the trials and tribulations of being near the bottom of the table.”
Looking ahead to next season, Turner admitted strengthening the playing squad is his immediate priority if he is to achieve the aim of competing for a top six finish.
“A lot of people from outside of Shropshire would think ‘what’s he talking about,’ but we’ve defied the odds before. You look at Yeovil and what they’ve done this season, you look at Walsall too so there is scope for smaller clubs to compete.
“We’ve obviously got to improve the playing staff; that is the first thing. We need to bring in a bit more quality, but the vast majority of players have done a super job for us this season and we’ve learnt a lot. So we stand a chance if we can add to the squad that we’ve got.
“After an indifferent home season, you hope that the supporters take some comfort from the last two victories and the way that they’ve been won and take that through into next season.”