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Hurst reflects on first point of the season

17 August 2019

Manager Paul Hurst felt a draw was the fair result, as United’s home game against Crawley Town finished two apiece on Saturday.

After going behind initially, Rory McArdle and Matthew Lund were on target as United got their first point of the season, while Rory Watson made a penalty save in the second-half after the visitors levelled.

“The game did certainly to and fro. Crawley had the better of it at the start and the end, while in between we were the better side,” the boss told iFollow Iron.

“They probably, in the end, will feel they should have won the game, with the penalty save and also hitting the post. At 2-1, we were on top of the game, Butts (Andy Butler) had a header at the far post that I was expecting to hit the net, and we created one or two other opportunities.

“If it had gone 3-1, it wouldn’t have been game over but it certainly would have made it difficult for Crawley. We didn’t do that and were probably under pressure until the last couple of minutes when we had a couple of opportunities to put the ball in the box at least.

“Overall, a point is perhaps a fair result but we’re pleased to get off the mark at least and stop the run of defeats. We didn’t achieve the objective of winning the game but we’re pleased to get that first point.”

Speaking about the game in general, Hurst continued: “We looked more of a threat, but we were disappointed to concede from a corner and another set-piece.

“The last 15-20 minutes of the first half and the first 15-20 minutes of the second half looked more like how we’d want us to be. You never dominate for 90 minutes but at the same time we need to be more consistent in our performance across large parts of the game and not suddenly become so ragged.

“We got deep towards the end of the game and made it hard for ourselves to win second balls, and invited more pressure than I’d want.”

The manager explained why Ryan Colclough wasn’t part of the squad, and also how long Lee Novak faces out after coming off with an ankle injury against Derby County in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

He said: “Ryan slipped innocuously yesterday in training and I’m hoping it’s just a tweak to his groin. At the minute, we don’t think it’s anything more serious than that. It’ll perhaps keep him out of Tuesday night (at Cambridge), which he’s clearly frustrated with. If it’s a game or two, it’s not a long-term thing. We will try and get him right for a week today (at Macclesfield).

“Lee’s ruptured a ligament but because it was quite lax anyway, it’s not as bad as it could have been. However, he’ll still be missing for two months. It’s a big loss for us, and we will look to see if we can add to the squad in that area.”

Ending with a positive, Hurst praised the debut of Abo Eisa, who played the full 90 minutes after signing for an undisclosed fee from Shrewsbury Town this week.

He said: “It was pretty good but it took him a little while to get into the game. If you’re not getting too much of the ball it’s understandable, but he showed the fans what he can do. They’ll have taken to him already in terms of his manner of picking the ball up and running at defenders. He put a lot of work in and I really think he can be a crowd favourite and help the team try to get the results we want.”

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