Steve Cotterill pleased with Shrewsbury’s fight after draw with Accrington
Steve Cotterill said he was proud of his Shrewsbury players after his first League One match in charge of Town ended in a 2-2 draw with Accrington.
Shrewsbury, who remain 23rd in the table, responded positively to falling behind to Joe Pritchard’s first-half free-kick.
Aaron Pierre quickly headed them level before a fine free-kick from Shaun Whalley in the 86th minute had them on course for an opening home league win of the season in a match watched by up to 2,000 fans.
But there was late drama when Pierre’s challenge on Michael Nottingham led to a Stanley penalty, which was converted by substitute Ryan Cassidy at the second attempt after his spot-kick was initially saved by goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.
“I’m really proud of the players,” said Cotterill.
“I think that when you’re at home and all of a sudden a goal goes in against them, they could have dropped their heads.
“I said to them in the first half we looked a little bit tentative, we looked a little bit nervous, which is expected.
“I think to turn around a performance that they turned around from half-time into the second half shouldn’t be under-estimated.
“I think it’s incredible. We went from a nervous team, a little bit edgy, especially when they got their first goal, we went from a nervous, edgy team that want to do well, want to please, to a dominant team in the second half. We were by far the better team in the second half.”
On Whalley’s free-kick, Cotterill added: “It was an excellent finish from Shauny. I actually didn’t know he had that one in his bag, but it was certainly a great finish.”
Accrington manager John Coleman was disappointed to see his ninth-placed team concede from two set-pieces, but pleased they showed character to earn some reward.
“Relieved really,” said Coleman.
“We didn’t play particularly well tonight. We had flashes where we were on top, but they were on top for a big spell in the second half and then the odd time that we did break into their half we did cause them problems.
“Shaun Whalley, I’ve known since he was a kid. Cracking lad, great footballer, and he was brilliant tonight. He was a thorn in our side all night, cracking free-kick.
“We’re a bit disappointed having gone in front, and I thought we were the better team for the first 20 minutes as well, we’ve given them such a shot of adrenaline.
“We’ve more or less gifted them a goal really. We practiced a lot of free-kicks yesterday and then we’ve conceded from one, which is disappointing.
“To concede two goals from set plays is very disappointing. To have the character to come back and get the draw, which could turn out to be a good point, given that all the teams around us have been dropping points left, right and centre, it could turn out to be a good point – but then it puts more pressure on us for Saturday.”