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Paul Hurst post Walsall

14 April 2017

Gaffer's thoughts after the 1-1 draw with Walsall

Paul Hurst revealed that a tactical switch was the catalyst behind Shrewsbury Town’s superb second half fight back vs. Walsall.

Town were second best for large periods of the game before and after conceding the opener to Kieran Morris’ close range header, but Hurst’s side rallied to earn a point through Stefan Payne’s second goal in as many games.

Post-match, Hurst explained the change and the reasoning behind the shift that gave his side a route back into the game.

“We’re pleased with the response that the players produced from 66 minutes onwards, but we’re disappointed with the first 66 minutes.

“Sometimes it’s about running and being positive, and when we could’ve gone forward we went backwards.”

Hurst continued: “In the end we changed it, and I’m not going to make any excuses for playing directly.

“I don’t think we deserved to win the game but realistically we were the team that were pushing in that second period.”

The manager highlighted the importance of being flexible in terms of game plan and reiterated that he will play the way that he thinks gives his side the best chance of survival.

“I’m not saying we’re going to change and suddenly become a long ball team because I don’t think it suits us particularly well.

“We were struggling to pass the ball, Walsall do get men behind the ball very quickly and they make it difficult to break them down, a lot of their games are pretty tight.

“Today it did suit us to get the ball forward a little bit quicker.”

Forward Payne notched in consecutive games for the first time in his Town career, and Hurst was happy that his striker is starting to deliver at the right time.

“He’s scored a good header, from where I’m stood I couldn’t tell if it was going to go in, it took forever but thankfully it went in.

“He’s run himself out I think at the end, he had a couple of shots that I thought might have been spilt for a tap in.”

Jayson Leutwiler was heavily involved in the first period, including a brilliant double save to keep the score at 1-0 just after Walsall had taken the lead.

The boss praised the goalkeeper for his performance and his character after coming under fire at some points in the season.

“He’s come under criticism but when we needed him today in big moments, so credit to him for that, but it is his job!”

Hurst was also full of praise for the Town support, who provided a raucous atmosphere at the Greenhous Meadow to spur his team on in a tightly contested derby match.

“The crowd were superb I have to say, they really helped the players, I would’ve booed them off at half time.

“They stuck with them and in the end we gave them something to shout about.

“You never want to lose a local derby on our own ground, of course we would have liked all three points but it might be a crucial point.”

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