MELLON AND HIS MERRY MEN CLIMB TO THE TOP
Super-sub Akpa Akpro nicks it
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
PLACED: Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro scores the decisive goal for Shrewsbury past Newport goalkeeper Joe Day
STAR MAN MARK BYRNE Newpo