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ALEXANDER HAILS IRON REARGUARD IN SHREWSBURY VICTORY

17 September 2016

Iron manager Graham Alexander hailed a resolute defensive display as his side edged out Shrewsbury Town at Greenhous Meadow.

Three points head back to North Lincolnshire courtesy of a David Mirfin header in first half stoppage time with a stern test facing United in the second half. It was to be one in which they stood up resolutely, claiming a third league clean sheet of the campaign.

"We didn't manage to play the football we've played in recent weeks and you've got to give Shrewsbury credit for that," he told The Iron PlayerHD.

"They made their team compact and dropped deep at times. We found a few dead ends in the first half and probably got frustrated with that but we managed to get the goal just before half time with a great set piece and it made Shrewsbury come out of their shape a bit more in the second half. With a little bit of care at times from the team, we could have nicked another goal.

"The rearguard action from the whole team and the work rate to make sure that we kept a clean sheet was superb and we're glad to get the three points on board."

With four minutes added on at the end of the first half, mostly due to treatment on Mirfin following an aerial clash with Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, it was the United centre half who would benefit most from those allotted minutes to steer in Josh Morris' free kick in his final touch of the game.

Alexander also hailed the 409 travelling United fans for their support over the course of the game and labelled it as a massive piece of the puzzle to grind the result out.

"He's a tough boy and we have a few of those in the team," he continued.

"We have lads that are desperate to stay on and win three points for the team and it was a fantastic header - his first of the season which is good and a great delivery from Josh again.

"He's got a swollen eye and he's got stitches in it. It closed up at half time and there was no way he could continue. He was in danger of doing something else and plus it was affecting his vision. We brought Charlie (Goode) on and made another tactical change (Richie Smallwood on for Duane Holmes) to change the shape a little bit which gave us three midfielders which meant we could get about Shrewsbury. All three substitutes really added to the team."

"It was great to do it in front of the numbers that came over from Scunthorpe today. The support was great today, singing all the way through the game. The players can feel that and it gave them the extra yard to ensure we didn't concede.

"The fans deserve to enjoy that. We want to make them happy and they see players out there spilling blood from the cause. We've got a big responsibility to put smiles on their faces and they've got a responsibility to show us the support and that it working really well in tandem.

"There are going to be a lot more challenges over the course of the next nine months and we have to stick together all the way through."

Harry Toffolo came in for his full Scunthorpe United debut with Conor Townsend absent from the squad following an injury picked up in training.

"Conor got an injury in training on Thursday blocking a shot and he's hurt himself which is disappointing. That's why we brought in Harry and it was his first start and I thought he slotted into that position really well and defended great. He combined well with whoever was down that line - Kev (van Veen) at times, Josh at times and really worked well down the left hand side.

"We have to tick different boxes to win games to win games week-in, week-out against different opposition and that's a great win today. It's a difficult place to come with good players and a good manager."

"We have to recover well, because we will have another tough game on Tuesday."

See more from Graham Alexander, as well as reaction from Luke Daniels and Harry Toffolo on The Iron PlayerHD.

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