TABLE-TOPPING IRON WIN UGLY
GRAHAM Alexander said it felt great to win ugly as his Scunthorpe side snatched top spot after David Mirfin’s goal condemned sorry Shrewsbury to another home defeat.
Alexander’s Iron scored on the stroke of half-time when Mirfin nodded in a Jordan Clarke set-piece to see them overtake Bolton in the League One pecking order with some Shrews fans venting their frustration at the final whistle.
And Town manager Micky Mellon conceded his team weren’t good enough to unpick the United defence, lamenting a ‘painful, sucker punch’ as the visitors escaped with all three points.
“It wasn’t pretty but sometimes that’s how you win football matches,” Alexander said.
“It was great to get the win and it feels fantastic. The goal came at a really good time for us but we changed things at the break because the first half had been frustrating and I felt we needed to be more competitive.
“It is great to be on top of the table and it gives the fans more to shout about so I am very pleased for them.”
Shrewsbury were denied an early opener when Scunthorpe skipper Stephen Dawson blocked Oliver Lancashire’s header on the line before it was smothered by grateful goalkeeper Luke Daniels.
Paddy Madden’s 20th-minute volley did little to trouble Jayson Leutwiler at the other end when United attempted to threaten the Shrewsbury goal for the first time.
A 25-yard Shaun Whalley strike was comfortably saved by Daniels before Kevin Van Veen’s shot trickled past the Shrewsbury post on 39 minutes.
But Mirfin broke the deadlock with a glancing header deep into first-half stoppage time, rising to meet Clarke’s free-kick amid a statuesque Shrewsbury defence.
Josh Morris failed to add another for the Iron when he found the side netting 12 minutes into the second half and Junior Brown sent the ball a whisker wide of United’s goal with a 67th-minute freekick.
Madden should have doubled Scunthorpe’s lead when he spurned an open goal after being played in by Richie Smallwood soon after.
And Louis Dodds couldn’t find an equaliser when his late effort was deflected away as Shrewsbury continued to lack a cutting edge.
Shrews boss Mellon said: “It is frustrating and painful and I do feel for the crowd.
“We were the better side in the first half so to concede the goal right on half-time felt like a real sucker punch. Some of our passing had been fantastic and we had opened Scunthorpe up but after the goal we weren’t good enough to unlock them.
“We didn’t show enough quality in the final third when chances came our way. “I do understand some of the fans who were booing because it is frustrating.”
IN HARD: Kevin van Veen challenges Olly Lancashire SUCKER PUNCH: David Mirfin rises high to meet the ball and score the winner