Ugly wins crucial to staying up says Hurst
SHREWSBURY’S relegation run-in might turn ugly, but boss Paul Hurst does not care as long as it means survival.
Hurst admitted the Shrews were forced into more direct methods as Stefan Payne’s header rescued a draw against mid-table Walsall to keep Town two points above the drop zone.
Shrewsbury visit a Northampton side not safe themselves on Monday and Hurst is putting substance over style.
He said: “This and the next three games, I don’t think anyone will be too concerned with the quality of football if we get the points that are needed.
“When you looked as nervous as we were, play simple, play forwards. We looked better for it.
“Of course we would have liked all three points but it might be a crucial point and we haven’t got too long to find out.
“It’s still in our own hands so it’s not too bad. Is it a good day, a bad day? Probably mixed.
“Gillingham got two late goals to win but Swindon haven’t managed to win at home, same as us, and Port Vale have been beat.”
Shrewsbury could have led inside 12 seconds as Payne pounced on an error from Walsall defender Eoghan O’Connell but drilled wide.
Amadou Bakayoko steered wide from 12 yards for Walsall, who led on 35 minutes as an unmarked Kieron Morris stooped to head home Joe Edwards’ centre from six yards.
Keeper Jayson Leutwiler kept Town in it three minutes later, rushing out to block from Bakayoko and superbly tipping Morris’ 18-yard follow-up over.
But Payne levelled on 70 minutes with a towering header from Gary Deegan’s deep cross and only an offside flag against Freddie Ladapo denied Aristote Nsiala a close-range winner.
Walsall can still do Shrewsbury a favour as they host two of Town’s relegation rivals – Swindon on Monday and Port Vale eight days later.
But boss Jon Whitney focused his ire on his defence over the Shrews’ equaliser, saying: “I will make some players accountable.
“We defended poorly to give them a free header in the six-yard box. I’m not accepting that.
“You end up a midtable team if you don’t turn those 1-0s into wins. That’s twice in two games that we’ve let a 1-0 lead go.
“They are not good qualities and we have to find a way of rectifying that.
“We can have a big say in that fight against relegation.”