Nathaniel leads the way for Shrews
SHREWSBURY Town’s assistant manager Michael Jackson heaped praise on his side’s match-winner Nathaniel Knight-Percival after a well deserved victory at Southend United.
Knight-Percival headed home the only goal of the game in the 56th minute at Roots Hall.
And the effort secured a far happier afternoon for the centre-back who suffered a cruciate ligament injury against the Shrimpers at the start of February.
“I’m delighted for Natty,” said Jackson, after the defender’s third game back from the injury.
“He’s worked so hard to get back fit and he’s hit the ground running.
“He’s a great pro, he was calm at the back and it wasn’t just his goal either because he made a great block at the back there.
“We’re delighted to have him back because he’s a top, top player and he showed that again.”
Shrewsbury could and probably should have seen off the Shrimpers by more goals.
But Jackson was still thrilled to pick up the three points.
“It was excellent, the work-rate was there and so was the belief,” said Jackson.
“We put everything into practice that we asked of them.
“It’s an excellent result and we’re delighted with it because Southend are a good side and we fully deserved to beat them.”
Shrewsbury had the better of an uneventful first half with Larnell Cole firing wide from a narrow angle.
But, with 56 minutes on the clock, the visitors grabbed the only goal of the game when Knight-Percival rose well to head home a left wing free-kick from Liam Lawrence.
The Shrimpers almost netted an immediate equaliser when Anthony Wordsworth sent a 20 yard shot crashing against the top of the left post before David Mooney’s follow up effort was deflected over the crossbar.
However, Shrewsbury piled the pressure on at the death and only some stunning saves from goalkeeper Daniel Bentley stopped them increasing their lead. The highlyrated shot-stopper twice denied Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro before also doing well to keep out an effort from James Collins.
And Southend boss Phil Brown was left bitterly disappointed by his team’s display.
“It was frustrating to watch,” said Brown.
“I want the players to step up to the plate and not be fearful. It was a poor performance from us.
“We weren’t good enough on the ball. The decision making was erratic and I hold my hands up. I take full responsibility for team selection and tactics.”
STAR MAN NATHA K- NIEL PERCIV