No spark for Shrews in derby de­feat

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Liam Cole­man

MICKY Mel­lon be­lieved his Shrews­bury side lacked the fight to win any game – let alone a lo­cal derby – af­ter Port Vale claimed their first vic­tory in five league matches.

Michael O’Con­nor con­verted from the penalty spot af­ter Louis Dodds had set the wheels in mo­tion for the Valiants, who were rarely trou­bled by Shrews­bury.

The re­sult comes af­ter the Shrews recorded a fine win over pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Bury just last week – but Mel­lon says his play­ers put in a Hal­loween hor­ror show.

Mel­lon said: “Right from the start we never won enough one ver­sus one bat­tles that you’ve got to do in any game, never mind a derby. All over the pitch we got out-fought which is even more sur­pris­ing given the re­sult that we had last week.

“There were just too many bat­tles lost, which are the ba­sics of League One foot­ball.

“You don’t see re­sults and per­for­mances like this com­ing, and the bare min­i­mum in pro­fes­sional foot­ball is that you have to phys­i­cally com­pete and we didn’t do that.

“We lost too many in­di­vid­ual bat­tles all across the pitch and we just con­tin­ued to lose them again and again.”

Sus­pended Vale top goal-scorer Uche Ik­peazu was missed as the hosts lacked a killer fin­ish early on.

AJ Leitch-Smith came close to scor­ing af­ter ten min­utes, but his closerange vol­ley could only sting the gloves of Shrews stop­per Jayson Leutwiler.

Vale pushed early in the sec­ond half and a Colin Daniel header on 47 min­utes forced a fin­ger­tip save from Leutwiler to deny the home side the lead.

But five min­utes later, Dodds prod­ded the Valiants into the lead, past the out­stretched foot of Leutwiler, af­ter Daniel had pro­vided the pass.

O’Con­nor sealed the vic­tory from the penalty spot on 80 min­utes, step­ping up af­ter Matt Too­tle jumped to head the ball with raised arms and han­dled in the process.

And Vale man­ager Rob Page, who re­served spe­cial praise for Dodds, is hop­ing his side have turned a cor­ner af­ter an Oc­to­ber to for­get. “It has been a dif­fi­cult month for us, ev­ery­one at the club has been frus­trated with the in­con­sis­tency of our per­for­mances but we’ve shown we’re ca­pa­ble of beat­ing the best in this divi­sion,” Page said.

“It is pleas­ing to get the vic­tory, it was a ner­vous first half but I think we grew into the game and I think we thor­oughly de­served it, two goals and a good clean sheet.

“Those who came in be­cause of the sus­pen­sions and in­juries grabbed their chances well and the per­for­mance of Louis Dodds was one of best I’ve seen in the league.”

STAR MAN MICHAEL O’CON­NOR

Port Vale

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