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Lee Novak: We've got to stay positive to move forward

1 April 2019

Striker Lee Novak says the Iron need to remain positive going into the Shrewsbury game next weekend, following the 2-1 defeat to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday afternoon.

Despite Novak’s second half goal and a penalty save from Jak Alnwick, a brace from James Hanson secured Wimbledon all three points at Glanford Park. 

Hanson fired the Dons into an early lead 23 minutes in when he latched onto an Antony Wordsworth free-kick and headed into bottom corner of the net. 

Then, just over ten minutes later, the veteran striker added to his tally and doubled the Dons advantage, as he drilled a shot past Alnwick from distance. 

However, as the teams emerged from the half-time interval, the Iron looked brighter and pulled a goal back on 78 minutes through Novak, who tapped home after Aaron Ramsdale initially spilled Adam Hammill’s shot. 

That set up an entertaining finish to the game as the Iron surged forward to try get an equaliser, but Wimbledon held on for the win. 

Speaking to iFollow Iron after the match, Novak gave his thoughts and said: “It was a frustrating game. 

“It was a match of two halves. We never really got started in the first half. We had a game plan, but they also had one and for some reason, theirs worked better than ours. 

“However, I think the second half showed what we can do, but in the end, it still wasn’t enough.”  

The Iron showed plenty of character to get back into the game during the second period, and Novak insists the team can take some confidence from that second half showing. 

He added: “We’ve just got to try and get some positives from the game. We are a confident group and Daws (Andy Dawson) has said we’ve got to say positive to move forward. 

“Next weekend becomes a massive game now. Every match is big, but especially this one against Shrewsbury because they are down there as well. 

“We have to take the second half performance from today against Wimbledon and take that into Saturday.” 

Despite the final result against the Dons, Novak was pleased to net his 13th goal of the season for the Iron, but also reflected back on his performance. 

He continued: “It was good to be on the scoresheet. It’s been a while, but I should have scored a few minutes previously. 

“I said in the dressing room it’s bread and butter for a striker and I have to score. There’s no hiding away from that, so I’ve apologised to all the lads. 

“However, if I score the one before, I might not get the next chance and that’s just the way it is in football. It could have been 2-2, but it was nice to get on the scoresheet.” 

As well as scoring in the game, the 32-year-old striker also captained the side and was delighted to lead the team out at Glanford Park in front of the home fans. 

Speaking about that he said: “I’ve captained the side quite a few times this season, but it’s always nice when you get told you are going to be the skipper and it’s an honour to lead the lads out. However, in the game, we should have done more.” 

The match against Wimbledon also marked the start of a new era for United, as Andy Dawson took caretaker charge. 

Talking about it’s been working under him in the past week, Novak added: “It’s been good working with Dawson. 

“Nothing has changed with him, he’s always bright and bubbly. We worked hard all week on the way we wanted to play and for some reason, we just didn’t execute it. 

“Us as players need to recognise that and manage ourselves out on the pitch. The gaffer gives us ideas, but we have to take some responsibility and change it as players.” 

After the disappointing defeat to the Dons, Novak insists the team need to continue to put 100% in training as they look to bounce back against Shrewsbury next week. 

He stated: “We’ve got to work hard this week. We’ll start looking ahead to Shrewsbury on Monday and we’ve got to stay positive and go into the game thinking we can get a result there. 

“It’s going to be a massive game for us. It feels like we’ve been saying that for ages, but nothing changes for us, we don’t want to rely on other teams dropping points. We want to go there and play the way we want to play and more importantly get the three points.”

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