Gaffer's thoughts after the 4-0 home win over Exeter CityShrews boss Micky Mellon described his side’s convincing 4-0 victory over in-form Exeter City as a ‘masterclass.’
A brace from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and strikes from James Collins and substitute Tyrone Barnett ensured Town remain on course for promotion, whilst bringing playoff-challenging Exeter’s eight-game unbeaten run to a compelling end.
“I thought that was an absolute masterclass from the first minute to the last,” said the delighted gaffer.
“Exeter are a very good side and I think they can count themselves amongst the best football teams in the division. We went down there and were two nil up at half time and lost 3-2. We were determined we weren’t going to let that happen again.
“We had an awful lot of changes to make because of the personnel we were missing and the lads who came in, as well as the lads who continue to play, adapted so well to a new system and at a time of the season where things are so crucial, so every credit to the players. There were some fantastic goals and a terrific performance.”
Two of those changes saw Town’s ever-present duo Connor Goldson and Ryan Woods miss the game through suspension, with Keith Southern and Jordan Clark rising to the challenge of replacing them.
“They deserve to be praised because they have come in and done a job for the team. I thought the two of them were absolutely sublime. Keith showed that calmness that we knew he would bring to the club at this stage of the season and Clicker (Jordan Clark) is just a terrific footballer. But all through the group we are delighted with the performance and the result.
Town striker Akpa Akpro was a thorn in the Exeter defence all afternoon and Mellon was pleased to see the popular Frenchman get his first goal since he grabbed the winner at Newport back in January.
“We all know what he’s capable of so it’s no real surprise,” added Mellon. “The only real surprise is that he doesn’t do it more. He’s a terrific player and a big part of what we do here.
“But it would be wrong of me to single out any performance because I just thought that right throughout the side everyone of them stuck to the plan and executed a top class performance.”
As well as the impressive attacking on display at the Greenhous Meadow this afternoon, there were reasons to be cheerful with the performance of the defence, with today’s shut-out equalling a club league record 21 clean sheets set back in 1968.
“It’s terrific but we wont be happy till we’ve beaten that and we’ll continue to go into every single game and try and win it. Like I said before our pride won’t allow us to think otherwise.
“Defending is a very big part of the game so we take it seriously and take great pride in. The players today have done fantastically well – right to the very end. They never got sloppy at any stage of the game so credit to them.”
Town now head to Bury on Tuesday night in what promises to be a fantastic game and even though a victory would put them on the cusp of promotion, Mellon is expecting no favours from one of his closest friends.
“I’m very close to Flicker (Gary Flitcroft) and it will be interesting going toe to toe with my great friend again but there’ll be no quarter given, both of us will be determined to get a result,” claims Mellon.
“But it will be good to see him and we go up there looking forward to the challenge.”
And when questioned about his side being so close to gaining promotion, the gaffer was quick to show his poker face.
“I’m just enjoying watching games like today and being a part of this fantastic football club and working with these players. Going up on Tuesday night is already getting me excited. I think it will be a terrific game that you would absolutely want to be involved in.
“We’re going up there to win, to perform well and get a result. That won’t change our mentality al all. We’ll continue to do that right until the very end and if that’s enough to get us over the line then so be it.”