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McCall felt a replay would have been fair

2 December 2018

Iron manager Stuart McCall thought the efforts of his players merited a replay, after they were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup second round with a 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury Town on Sunday.

Aaron Holloway’s goal in the first half proved to be the difference, after Josh Morris saw his penalty saved by Shrewsbury goalkeeper Steve Arnold late on.

“We’re naturally disappointed,” McCall told iFollow Iron. “We started the game really well and had a couple of opportunities, and they had two or three good efforts as well, with Jak (Alnwick) making terrific saves. 

“They got the goal and then in the second-half we came out and had a real go at them. When we got the penalty in the closing stages and Josh stepped up, you hoped that would be the moment we get the goal that gives us a replay but it wasn’t to be, and it was a terrific save from their goalkeeper. There’s no blame on Josh – the greatest players in the world will miss penalty kicks but when you get one with two minutes to go you hope to see the net bulge and we get a replay.

“It was a tight game today. They’ve won five out of six now and are playing with confidence and belief. We’ve put a side together again but haven’t really been able to work on it because we’ve had injuries and illness through the week.

“You can’t fault them for effort and giving it a go. I don’t think we’re getting the rewards that the players’ efforts are meriting at this moment in time. We might lack in certain areas but all round it’s disappointing for them, for the fans and the club that we’re not in the draw on Monday. We have to face that reality and get ready for a big game next Saturday at home to Gillingham (in League One).”

He added: “We went with a shape that we’ve not had time to work on and went with Rory (McArdle) in there (in front of the back three) again like he did against Blackpool and I thought the back three coped reasonably well with their front two, who are playing really well and with confidence at the moment.”

Speaking about the decision to start Kyle Wootton up front, he added: “We wanted to have two up the park and a bit of physicality. At the minute, we can’t play the way I’d like us to play because there’s not a lot of confidence running through the side. So we have to go from back to front, and Kyle is capable of winning flicks-ons. He did fine in that time of game, and that’s how I knew it was going to be today. I’ve watched Shrewsbury and they try to play through with so much energy in the middle of the park, so we had to miss it out and get George (Thomas) and Dalesy (Andy Dales) higher up the pitch and get decent deliveries in.”

McCall is hopeful United got through the game with no fresh injuries.

“Novs (Lee Novak) got a clatter on the back of his ankle and Cam (Burgess) has had stitches in the front of his head, so he’s going to have to be looked at. We’re just hopeful there’s nothing else. We have Perchy (James Perch) coming back (from suspension) next week but some of the others won’t be for a few weeks yet,” he added.

See much more from Stuart McCall and Kyle Wootton on iFollow Iron. Click here to sign-up.

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