Ugly wins cru­cial to stay­ing up says Hurst

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more

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.”

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