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McCall: It’s what the second-half performance deserved

22 September 2018

Manager Stuart McCall hailed ‘a really big three points’ as United defeated Shrewsbury Town 1-0 at Glanford Park on Saturday.

The victory, secured through Lee Novak’s third goal of the season early in the second-half, was Scunthorpe’s first at Glanford Park this campaign.

They made it back-to-back wins following last weekend’s success at AFC Wimbledon, and also kept a first league clean sheet of the season.

“It’s what the second-half performance deserved,” McCall told iFollow Iron.

“We’ve preached all week how difficult Shrewsbury are to break down, not only had they the fourth best defensive record in the league but they also don’t give away many opportunities, so we knew it was going to be a bit of a grind.

“I thought in the second-half when we got the goal we got a bit stronger. In the first-half, we still have things we need to eradicate, such as passing into the wrong areas. We’ve shown where they were strong, with Anthony Grant in the middle of the park. They have good energy in there and break quickly, so there are a couple of things we can do better – naturally, as there always is. 

“There are different things that we’re seeing coming to fruition though. The lads are getting more confident naturally, and they look stronger. They’re also talking on the field better, but that’s what results do for you. 

“Overall, as much as we had a great win last week at Wimbledon, big Cam (Burgess) and Charlie (Goode) were still a little bit deflated because we’d lost two goals, as well as they did last week. I’m really pleased for them (to get the clean sheet) because they put their head on everything today and defended really strongly. We got blocks in when we needed to do. We could have scored a couple more - we get that - but we’ll take 1-0 at home every day.”

McCall was delighted to see Novak get the winning goal, whose work rate and attributes he’s a big fan of.

The boss added: “I said to the lads at half-time, this has got 1-0 written all over it – make sure it’s in our favour. Thankfully, that was the case. It was another great ball in by Josh (Morris), and I wasn’t sure during the game whether Novs got a touch or not, but we spoke about it afterwards and it came off his big bunion!

“There’s a lot of Novs’ game that people don’t see. His work ethic for the team is terrific. He’s playing with a young lad in Ike (Ugbo) to the side of him, and Ryan (Colclough) too. He talks them through games and his knowledge is important. The old heads in the teams can help the other players. 

“That’s what he’s paid for as a centre-forward, to get goals, so he’ll be delighted with that and the match-winner as well. His work ethic for the team is fantastic and that’s what we need.”

The boss added: “There were a lot of good performances out there today in a game that was never going to be a classic, because they’re difficult to break down.

“Lundy (Matthew Lund) and Funso (Ojo) are up to speed now, they’re getting about the park and looking strong. Josh is always a threat, as is Ryan. Ike, as we know, has great ability. We were strong in the full-back areas today too, We won’t get carried away, but it’s another building block and back-to-back victories can only help our confidence.”

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