07 January 2023

Steve Cotterill ‘so disappointed’ for Shrewsbury after last-gasp defeat

07 January 2023

Shrewsbury boss Steve Cotterill admitted he was “lost for words” at seeing his side concede twice in stoppage time to Sunderland to crash out of the FA Cup in the cruellest of fashions.

The hosts had one foot in the fourth round after Matthew Pennington’s header with nine minutes to go, but the Championship side dramatically turned things around at the death.

Star striker Ross Stewart came off the bench to level with his 10th goal in 12 games and, with a replay at the Stadium of Light looming, Luke O’Nien broke the hosts’ hearts right at the very end.

“It’s really tough to take because after 90 minutes we’re in the fourth round,” said Cotterill.

“I’m really lost for words at the moment. One thing’s for sure and that’s that I’m really proud of the boys.

“I thought it was an immense effort. The game plan went exactly how we thought it would.

“The game went like we thought it would. We had to make sure we stayed in it for a long period of time.

“We just ran out of legs or ran out of luck at the death there.

“They’ve had to bring their big guns on and they’d already started with a few of their big guns.

“I think it was an incredible effort by our lads. We definitely don’t deserve to be beat.

“The boys were terrific today and I’m really pleased with them. I can’t speak highly enough of them.

“I’m so disappointed for them right now. I just said to them that they have nothing to be down about. I couldn’t be prouder of them.

“They’ve given their all against a team which is absolutely flying in the Championship.

“They’re not down in the lower echelons of the league or anything like that, they’re a really good team with some really good players.”

Tony Mowbray’s side dominated the tie but failed to make their chances count as they made life difficult for themselves.

The Sunderland boss said: “I know it was dramatic at the end, but it was the right result.

“The first 20 minutes was a bit end-to-end and we probably didn’t deal with their directness as well as I would have liked, but we got a grip.

“We controlled it from there, but you have to score, and I told them at half-time we needed more bodies in the box, we had to commit. If they break away then our defenders have to defend.

“The league is our bread and butter, but this club has a history in this cup and we have to do everything we can, that’s why the team was almost as strong as it could be.

“We got what we deserved – albeit that was a strange way to go about it.”

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