Cup glory takes a back seat says Nigel
A BREAD and butter victory tasted even better to Nigel Clough than Sheffield United’s headline-grabbing FA Cup success at Fulham in midweek.
Quickfire goals from Ryan Flynn and new signing Stefan Scougall inside 17 minutes lifted United to the brink of safety against Shrewsbury.
In contrast, the 50-point survival target set by Shrews caretaker boss Mike Jackson looks a long way off on this tame evidence.
Asked about the relative value of the two wins, the Blades boss said:“It was more important because we started second bottom in the league.
“It was a hard working, professional performance from us.
“We played some lovely stuff in the first half and, whilst we didn’t sit back, we made it as hard as possible for them to create chances.
“We lost a two-goal lead at home to Bradford and couldn’t afford that to happen again.
“Stefan got himself a goal and his performance was as good as anybody’s in our side.We’ve got more ability than some sides in this league but we’re going to need everything.”
Livewire Scougall also made the opening goal to present Blades with the perfect tonic start.
The attacking midfielder produced the perfect cut back for Ryan Flynn to drive confidently past Chris Weale in the 11th minute before sneaking a second with a 25-yard daisycutter the Shrews goalkeeper should have stopped.
Paul Parry was the instigator of Shrewsbury’s best chances in either half. Joseph Mills could only drag his cross into the side netting in the 33rd minute but Jon Taylor should have done better than shoot wide from a fine position ten minutes after the break.
Those were isolated moments of danger, however, from a neat Shrews side as Blades held them at arms length with Harry Maguire again dominating a steady-looking back four.
For Blades, Jose Baxter volleyed over from a good position after the opening salvo and Jamie Murphy sent a powerful shot just over in the second half.
An honest Jackson said: “We didn’t do enough to get anything from the game.We weren’t flat in terms of energy but we were in tempo.
“We shuffled the ball from side to side and backwards and that enabled them to get players behind the ball.
“It’s going to take a rollyour-sleeves-up job from us because nobody is going to give us anything. We need 23 more points from our last 16 games. I’m still confident we can do it.”
STAR MAN STEFAN SCOUG
ALL Sheff United