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Steve Cotterill reflects on Shrewsbury's final game of 2021

30 December 2021

Shrewsbury Town manager Steve Cotterill gave his thoughts on Wednesday night's 0-0 draw at home to Accrington Stanley.

Salop's last game of the season proved a tight contest against an in-form Accrington side. Shrewsbury had enough chances to put the game beyond the visitor's reach in the first half-an-hour but failed to capitalise on them.

Accrington forced Town to defend resolutely for the last hour of the game, using their size to cause issues for the host's defence.

Overall, Cotterill was happy with the performance his team displayed, but said it was lacking the sharpness required to earn all three points.

The Gaffer’s assessment of the game: 

“The assessment is that, after 14 minutes, we should have been three-nil up. After 27 minutes, we should have been four nil up and I don't think we played sharply enough tonight. There was a bit of sharpness that I felt was lacking in our play, and I think that sharpness is why we ended up not taking our chances. They fell to people who you think yeah, you'd be quite happy for it to fall to those people, and they're not always going to be bob-on with everything they do, so then it ends up being an awkward game. 

“Then in the second half, there is a little bit of wind and then all of a sudden, the long balls come in your box and they put you under a lot of pressure airily. They're a big team and what they do is they back it up really well so when they play long, they back it up and they get on that second ball, and the next one falls back in there, and then you end up doing a lot of heading and you end up doing a lot of hooking [the ball away]. Then they get in charge of the game, territorially, and that's probably what happened a little bit in the second half, but that only happened because we weren't sharp tonight, that was what I felt. 

“I said to the boys that I can’t fault them for effort. I’m doubly proud of them because on another night, when everything is not going well for you, it only takes one person to buckle or give in and you get beat tonight. I think our supporters realise that as well, you know, as the game was going on I remember that, around about 69 minutes, they all came into the game because they sensed it and they gave the boys the energy to get through to the end of the game.” 

On the Accrington’s attack: 

“They asked questions of us, that’s what they do. You only have to look at their win to loss record to know they either play like that or they go on and win but if you look at the first part of the game, that could’ve been where they lost so there’s very little in between. I thought we did well with a side that’s not as big as their side. It would’ve been easier if we’d had a couple more players available like Aaron Pierre - that might have been handy tonight - but it wasn’t meant to be. I’m doubly proud of the lads tonight for the way they played; we didn’t give in. A couple of months ago, and certainly last season, we would've got beaten in that game.” 

On the club’s COVID cases: 

“Yeah, we've got a couple. You'll know Arron [Pierre] and also [Khanya] Leshabela wasn’t available tonight and that’s because he tested positive so yeah, we’ve got a couple. We just hope that we don’t get anymore and that all other clubs don’t get more.” 

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