Sam Ricketts reflects on Town’s draw today against Bolton.
Town were a goal behind after the first 45 minutes after Verlinden scored the opener. However, lone striker Dan Udoh scored the equaliser shortly after the second half. Bolton went down to 10 men after Lowe made a reckless challenge on Norburn.
Shrewsbury had many chances throughout the 90 minutes but were unlucky not to find the winning goal. Whalley had his goal disallowed after an offside call, Pierre had a couple of his headers cleared off the line and Bolton’s goalkeeper, Matthews, produced two quality saves at the end of the game to keep the scoreline level.
“A little mix of emotions because I thought that we started the game well within the first 5 or 10 minutes, we should’ve been a couple up really, and then we fell away. We were our own worst enemy in the first half. We couldn’t string two or three passes together, as soon as we did, we looked a far better team.
I’m really disappointed with the goal, it was sloppy by us and we struggled to get going then. I'm more disappointed because the game was there for us, it was all there for us first half and we spoke at half-time and we started off the second half and you could see the difference. Better quality of passing, better quality touch and actually stringing passes together, this is before they went down to 10 men and you can see the difference straight away.”
Sam reflects on Town’s chances late on during the second half. “We get back in the game at one-all and then it’s just a case of pushing on and doing the same over and over. Some really pleasing aspects of it especially late on but we just didn’t get the goal, the keeper made two unbelieve saves at the end and we had another one cleared off the line and out shots just whistled past the post. You’re kind of happy with a point but we came here for three.”
Dan Udoh scored Town’s only goal today. “Dan has done really well this year, whether it be starting in the odd game or coming off from the bench. His enthusiasm and to give everything that he’s got to the team. He sacrifices himself a lot and that’s just his general play, I thought he played really well today for a player who’s made such a big step up in the football period.”
Ricketts made four changes from Boxing Day and Udoh was one of them. Sam talked about how he was happy with the changes he made today. “First half, I was more disappointed but I thought we could up it, we could’ve and should’ve blown Bolton away. The second half, the players reacted in the way that I wanted them too, the performance was far better and we pinned them in and even before they went down to 10 men and after that, we moved the ball well.”
Bolton went down to 10 men with 30 minutes of play remaining after Lowe lunged in high on Norburn. Sam shared his thoughts. “It was a straight red. There’s no arguments about it. Luckily, Norb's’ leg is actually off the ground and he still caught him just below the knee. I think it’s one of them if it’s planted it causes a real problem.”
“It’s hard to play against 10 men, we played with 10 men the other week against Mansfield at 0-0 and we go on to win the game 2-0. You have to respect that against 10 men it’s hard but I thought we did it really well and we pinned them in and left them with very little. The aspect of breaking teams down in football is the hardest thing to do.” Sam said.
Sam’s two subs he made today were fairly late on in today’s game. Sam said he was happy with the performance on the pitch. “I was quite happy. We were knocking on the door and we didn’t want to change too much because we had a little bit of fluidity of what we were doing. We tried to make a few late on and then the ball didn’t go out of play for two or three minutes and the referee delayed us getting Fey on.
We were just trying to get two strikers on, it would've left us a little bit vulnerable even though we were only playing against 10 men. I didn’t want throw caution to the win too early because we were in control of the game.”
The referee and Sam had a lengthily chat towards the end of the game. Sam tells us what was said between the both of them. “I said, we had five minutes come up against us last week and we conceded in the 97th minute, I saw five minutes go up today and I think the ball has been in play for not even two and a half minutes of the five and he blows up. I think he played an extra 25 seconds and he blows up just as we get a corner. That was my point really.”
Next time Shrewsbury play, the January transfer window will be open. Sam talks about whether there is anything imminent going to happen within January. “I think we’ve had a fantastic first half of the season, yes we can improve and get better. This transfer window is tweaking a side that are doing very well and you have to get that right and that takes a little bit longer and players are hard to find.”
Shrewsbury will travel to Bristol City for the Third Round of The FA Cup. Town will next be in action on January 4th after having no New Years’ Day game. “We can recover now off the back of this, there’s a few illnesses knocking about and a few little niggles, so the players will be off tomorrow to try and get over that and they’ll be back in Tuesday.”