Hurst has questions as Shrews are tamed
THREE calamitous second-half minutes saw Shrewsbury surrender the chance of a vital win at Port Vale and left boss Paul Hurst questioning whether they have the desire to escape the drop.
A goal and assist for the returning Ryan Taylor gave Vale an invaluable win in the relegation six-pointer, with Sam Foley having opened the scoring midway through the second half.
The visitors rallied through Louis Dodds but his strike proved merely a consolation, leaving the Shrews in a relegation dogfight – just two points clear of fourthbottom Vale.
Hurst said: “We questioned there whether we thought we were out of it. I kept saying ‘far from it’, but at least we have a nice easy game next against Bolton!
“It was frustrating. Disappointing. It was almost like it was edgy, not doing simple things I know they can with their eyes closed on the training ground.
“The other question is whether some of the players have got the temperament.
“Do they get too nervous and too uptight? I said I wouldn’t build the game up, it took care of itself as a local game.
“Which is it? Were we not up for it? Too up for it?”
The Valiants took the lead following a cagey first half as Foley headed home Taylor’s corner in the 66th minute, getting on the scoresheet himself just moments later.
On his first game since returning to Vale, the 32-year marauded his way forward before firing expertly home from the edge of the area, a goal the hosts were expecting to kill off the match.
But Shrewsbury battled as substitute and former Vale Park midfielder Dodds rifled an unstoppable effort beyond Deniz Mehmet.
However, the hosts held on for their second home win of the week.
“We knew it was a cagey game on a very difficult, blustery evening,” said Port Vale manager Michael Brown.
“In the first half, everyone was quite safe thinking about a clean sheet.
“We felt the players didn’t do enough in certain areas and told them that at half-time.
“Then they upped the tempo and showed more desire and made that extra run to try to make it happen.
“We certainly did that and when we made it 2-0 I thought we could kick on.
“But Louis came on and hit a wonder strike that you can’t do anything about.
“So, that pegged us back and made it difficult. But that made it sweeter when that whistle did go.”