MEL­LON AND HIS MERRY MEN CLIMB TO THE TOP

Su­per-sub Akpa Akpro nicks it

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By An­thony Parker

SHREWS­BURY Town manager Micky Mel­lon is warn­ing his side to keep their feet on the ground de­spite surg­ing to the top of League Two with a bat­tling three points at pro­mo­tion-ri­vals New­port County.

Sub­sti­tute Keith South­ern def­i­nitely didn’t keep his feet on the ground as he saw red for a wild chal­lenge in stop­page time.

But the Shrews held on to the lead given to them by fel­low sub Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro 13 min­utes from time to climb above Wy­combe Wan­der­ers on goal dif­fer­ence.

Wy­combe are the only other side to come away from Rod­ney Pa­rade with a win this sea­son and Mel­lon was rightly pleased with a big three points, but he won’t let any of his play­ers get car­ried away.

“It’s nice to go top but noth­ing’s been won yet,” said the Shrews boss.

“We are de­lighted with the work we are do­ing and we’ll en­joy this victory but then get our fo­cus back for the next game.

“It was a per­for­mance that was full of de­ter­mi­na­tion and grit in very dif­fi­cult con­di­tions against a very com­mit­ted side.

“The pitch was bumpy, the wind was strong and it was a typ­i­cal League Two battle – I am just very happy we came out on top.”

Su­per-sub Akpa Akpro took ad­van­tage of some sloppy de­fend­ing from

the usu­ally de­pend­able Dar­ren Jones and fin­ished su­perbly in­side Joe Day’s far post to edge a con­test that seemed to be head­ing for stale­mate.

“When I get things wrong peo­ple will bring it up so it’s nice to make a sub­sti­tu­tion that comes off,” added Mel­lon.

“To be fair to Jean-Louis you can see in train­ing when he is on fire and al­ways worth giv­ing a run-out on Satur­day.

“He was bril­liant on Thurs­day and Fri­day so I knew he was go­ing to give us some­thing.

“Thank­fully he popped up with the win­ner. It would be fair com­ment to say he does- n’t quite get enough goals but I am chuffed he got one here.

“I’ll have to ask the ref­eree about the send­ing off be­cause I didn’t think it was any worse than some of the oth­ers.

“There was more in­tent in some of the oth­ers, he was com­mit­ted but I thought it was just a com­ing to­gether of play­ers and I was sur­prised to see a red.”

County manager Justin Ed­in­burgh was pleased with his side’s im­proved per­for­mance fol­low­ing two heavy de­feats at Cam­bridge and Northamp­ton, but an­gry at the man­ner of the de­feat.

“I’m ex­tremely frus­trated,” he said. “It was a tough game out there in tough con­di­tions with two teams who worked very hard and un­for­tu­nately a mis­take has cost us the game.

“They shouldn’t have had the op­por­tu­nity and we’re dis­ap­pointed but it was more about the per­for­mance here.

“We went toe-to-toe with a top team and we matched them but one costly er­ror means it is three de­feats on the spin.

“We’ve got an­other tough away game at Wim­ble­don now where we’ve got to start a run.

“Some­times you for­get how hard it is to win foot­ball matches and we’ve cer­tainly found that in the last three games. But I be­lieve in our sys­tem and I be­lieve in the in­di­vid­u­als to get us on an­other run.

“We’ve got to go to Wim­ble­don now and get a re­sult.

“We’ve got to find an in­ner strength and a be­lief and get back to what we did well.

“But no one is go­ing to give you any­thing in this league.”

Top-scorer Aaron O’Con­nor did have the ball in the net in the first half but the Shrews were saved by the as­sis­tant ref­eree’s raised flag on a day of frus­tra­tion for the hosts.

But it was all smiles for the vis­i­tors who are now top of League Two, al­beit on goal dif­fer­ence as they and Bur­ton Al­bion sit on 54 points.

HEATED: Tem­pers flare up dur­ing the fi­nal mo­ments of the game

PIC­TURES: Matthew Ash­ton/AMA

PLACED: Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro scores the de­ci­sive goal for Shrews­bury past New­port goal­keeper Joe Day

STAR MAN MARK BYRNE Newpo

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