United boss Russ Wilcox hailed the efforts of duo Sam Slocombe and Sam Winnall after their starring roles in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Torquay United at Plainmoor.The Iron went in front just after the half-hour-mark courtesy of Winnall’s penalty, before Slocombe continued his spot-kick heroics by turning away Krystian Pearce’s strike from 12 yards just 10 minutes later.
Both players have proved an integral part of United’s ongoing promotion push, and Wilcox told The Iron Player: “It’s amazing. The two Sam’s have contributed massively again.
“It was nice and calm from Sam Winnall with his penalty, slotting it nicely in the corner. Then it was another fantastic save from Sam Slocombe down the other end.
“You do fancy him to save them. He does his homework, so it’s not by luck. He studies the penalties, and is very agile. It’s a key moment in the game because if they go one-all just before half-time then it’s game on, and we knew that.”
The 50-year-old Wilcox believes there may have been an element of justice to Slocombe’s penalty-kick save, and added: “Niall’s [Canavan] challenge looked a bit harsh, and I felt Pearce was looking for it a little bit.
“He’s a big guy and he went down fairly easily, but Niall’s tried to block his run so you can understand why that one’s given. I think ours was a pretty blatant foul on Matt Sparrow, who’s done well again to get in the box.”
Despite going into the interval one goal to the good, the Hemsworth-born manager opted to change things for the second period by withdraw the recalled Michael Collins, and Wilcox said: “I thought we were a little bit better second half.
“We changed the shape again and bought Hakeeb [Adelakun] on who contributed well, and looked like he could maybe be the one who got us the second goal. We had to sit back a little bit and defend a bit deeper which you don’t want to do, and just be hard to break down.
“Apart from one or two little moments, and a couple of opportunities they had from 25 yards out, we were fairly comfortable in the second period without being creative ourselves.
“It’s all about the three points, and making sure we win games whichever way we can. It certainly wasn’t a fluid or exciting game to watch, but was a massive three points.
“We’ve managed to do that today – with a little bit of help from Sam Slocombe and the lads in front of him – but we’ve done it. That’s the key. With five [games] to go and seven [points] in front [of fourth], we’re getting nearer our goal."
See much more from Russ Wilcox, Sam Slocombe and Sam Winnall on The Iron Player.