HURST HAILS ‘GREAT’ SHOW
GOALS from Stefan Payne and substitute Carlton Morris consolidated Shrewsbury’s place at the top of League One against a Scunthorpe side that lacked a killer touch.
The Shrews remain the only unbeaten side in the EFL courtesy of this close but deserved victory over bogey side Scunthorpe, who the Shrews had beaten only once in their previous 18 meetings.
“This was a great result for us,” said a beaming Paul Hurst. “Come the end of the season, Scunthorpe will be there or thereabouts. They are a good side and we knew they would offer a severe test but we came through okay.
“To be two months into the season and unbeaten is a great credit to the players and all the backroom staff.
“The players have achieved this through hard work and a willingness to learn, mixed with desire and not a little quality.
“We look a well-balanced side and one difference from last term is we can call upon players off the bench who can make an impact on a game, as Carlton Morris did today.”
Scunthorpe started the brighter, the home side indebted to on-loan Manchester United keeper Dean Henderson, who denied Josh Morris and Rory McArdle in the opening six minutes.
The Iron continued to press but it was the home side who, against the run of play, took the lead on 25 minutes. From a corner on the right, James Bolton’s header was blocked by Matt Gilks but Stefan Payne bundled the ball over.
In the second half, Shrewsbury closed down quicker and played a more compact game in midfield, which served to blunt Scunthorpe’s attacking verve.
The home side were dangerous on the break, Matt Gilks keeping the Iron in the hunt with fine saves from Junior Brown and Abu Ogogo.
Scunthorpe never ceased in their efforts for an equaliser and went close when substitute Paddy Madden’s rising drive skimmed the crossbar.
The Iron ran out of steam and substitute Carlton Morris put the issue beyond doubt. The Norwich City loanee latched on to a ball from Ogogo and sidestepped Murray Wallace before sliding the ball low past Gilks.
“There was nothing between the sides,” said Scunthorpe boss Graham Alexander. “If anything, I thought we were the better side.
“Defensively, we have been fantastic this season but were not to our usual standard and were punished.
“I was disappointed with their first goal. It came out of nothing and was Shrewsbury’s first effort of note on target after all our pressure.
“We’re lacking a little goalscoring spark but the answer lies within and we will be working on this on the training field.”
Scunthorpe dropped down to seventh in the table with defeat in Shropshire.
STAR MAN MAT SADLER Shrewsbury GET UP: Shrewsbury’s Junior Brown, right, challenges for an aerial ball while, inset, Dean Henderson makes a save