Gaffer pleased with battling performance that takes Town top of the table
Micky Mellon was delighted with his side’s endeavours during a hard fought clash in South Wales. Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro’s 78th minute winner meant Shrewsbury became the first side to win a League game at Rodney Parade since the opening day of the season.
“It was a performance of determination and grit on an unbelievable pitch and tricky conditions against a very good Newport side. It was a really bumpy and bobbly pitch with the wind and the rest of it making for a typical League Two encounter if you like. I’m delighted we came out on top.”
Asked about his tactical nous introducing the Frenchman less than two minutes before his winning goal past Joe Day, Mellon replied: “You guys tell me I’ve got it wrong when it goes wrong but when JL trains on a Thursday & Friday like he has this week, you can see that he’s on fire and you always know that he’s worth a run out. We knew at some stage we were going to put him on and thankfully he’s popped up with the winner for us. He always does everything right but doesn’t get enough goals and I think that’s fair comment. But when you see the finish today you know he’s well capable of that and you always know what you’re going to get from him. He just needs to add goals to that.”
Mikael Mandron was the player withdrawn for the Frenchman but Micky was pleased with his contribution: “I thought he did really, really well,” he said. “I thought he led the line terrifically well in difficult conditions and three centre backs coming through the back of him all the time. I think he showed some lovely touches and we know that he’ll be a threat and be a good addition to the group.”
It was a 19th clean sheet of the season for a superb Town defence but when asked to recall the importance of two early stops from his goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler, the manager couldn’t bring them to mind. “I can’t remember any of any note but I thought the three central defenders were great today. You have to win your headers and be competitive and we were.”
Mellon thought the red card shown to sub Keith Southern in the dying seconds of added on time was harsh, citing a tackle just in front of the dug-outs 30 seconds earlier was equally bad if not worse. “If I’m honest there was more intent on the other one to wipe out our player in front of me, and look – I never say this, but there was more intent on that than the one in the middle of the park. So I see no difference. He was committed with a lot of things going on around him but I’ll have to ask the referee what he seen because I don’t think anyone else has seen anything. He’s made one superb tackle to get it and then the next thing I see is a red card and I was surprised.”
Town went top of the league to depose overnight leaders Wycombe, but once again the Town chief has his feet planted soundly on terra ferma: “It feels nice and we’ll enjoy this result tonight and over the weekend but then it’s back to work on Monday. It’s nice to be heading things up course it is, but like I always say, nothing’s been won yet. We’re delighted with the work we’ve done because it’s put us top.”
Micky said he was happy with his group of players and that there was nothing imminent before transfer deadline day on Monday. But he didn’t rule anything out if the right type of player was available and would add quality to what he has at his disposal already.
The manager gave the assembled media some good news on the injury front. “Andy Mangan came down to Gloucester yesterday and the specialist had a look at his knee. There’s a bit of floating bone which needs a bit of work but he might be back with the group in 3-4 weeks which is great news because it was a write-off this time last week.”
Finally, the manager paid tribute to the travelling fans who came in numbers to Newport to back their side. “We can’t do it without them. We do it for them and I hope they know that,” said Mellon. “The lads and lassies can be proud of themselves not just in terms of numbers but their noise as well. I’m glad that we’ve given them a result that can make them happy on their journey back to Shropshire.”