Striker praises 20th clean sheet of the season
Scott Vernon admitted it had been a "long time coming" in scoring his first league goal for Shrewsbury in Saturday's 2-0 win over Wimbledon at the Greenhous Meadow.
The striker's header early in the second half from a corner sealed a 5th win in 6 games and kept Town top of the League 2 table, level on points with 2nd place Burton Albion.
"I've been a bit frustrated with a lack of appearances and goals," admitted the former Aberdeen and Blackpool frontman. "It's part of football though. To score was an amazing feeling and to win the game was even better. I really enjoyed it out there. It was a great ball in from Liam Lawrence and I've made a run at the near post and got enough behind it to beat the 'keeper.
"It does affect your confidence when you don't score. As a striker, you're judged on that and assists. From a young age, I've always looked at games and asked whether I've scored or set a goal up because that's my job. I've scored more than 100 goals in my career so you've got to keep the faith and keep plugging away."
Lawrence's well taken opener in stoppage time at the end of the 1st half put Town in front and against a spirited Wimbledon, the home side may have added further goals with James Collins hitting the bar.
"Overall, it was a pretty good performance," said Vernon. "We controlled the game really well and it was nice to get a goal in the first half as a lot of games here have been settled late on. They gave it a good go in the second half and pushed bodies forward like you'd expect but we saw it out relatively well."
It was also another clean sheet for Shrewsbury, their 20th of the season.
"It's an outstanding achievement, credit to the boys," he said. "We all work hard for each other and that's something the management have installed in us. The basis of us being successful is working for each other and putting a shift in. If someone isn't doing it, they get told - it's as simple as that. That's how we'll be successful."
Vernon says he's enjoying playing in a new role for Shrewsbury, just behind the strikers and is hoping he's done enough to get an extended run in the team.
"I came on against Carlisle and enjoyed that role and the gaffer gave me the nod again to play at the head of a diamond," he said. "I really enjoyed it as you get lots of freedom and you can go and find space, get on the ball and you're facing the goal more too. I have played there before but not very often. It's not that foreign too me and it takes a bit of getting used to again as it's been a while since I played there."
Vernon also paid tribute to midfielder Jordan Clark who started a Shrewsbury game for the 1st time since October.
"He was brilliant," said Vernon. "He's a great little lad, always positive and chirpy around the place. He's well liked in the dressing room and we know he's quality. He had a great start to the season and he's probably been a bit frustrated like all players are when they're not involved."
The win keeps Town at the top of the table and with a 6 point cushion between themselves and 4th place Luton Town.
"It's always nice to see us top of the league but we know there's a long way to go," said Vernon. "It's going to need a big effort between now and the end of the season. Each game is a cup final but if you get too carried away it will slip from your grasp. We've got a good set of lads who are professional and we'll do all we can."
Vernon was also happy to score in front of his former manager Iain Dowie, who was covering the game for SKY Sports.
"He was my manager at Oldham and is a great guy," he said. "I've got a lot of respect for him. He gave my debut at 18 so I've got a lot to thank for him. I'm glad he was here watching and it was nice he got to see me score."