Graham Coughlan saluted his “absolutely magnificent” Bristol Rovers side after Abu Ogogo’s late strike sealed a dramatic 4-3 victory in a seven-goal thriller at Shrewsbury.
Having trailed 2-0 and then 3-1, Josh Laurent’s second goal of the game pulled Shrewsbury level at 3-3.
But Rovers had the last word when midfielder Ogogo, a former Shrewsbury captain, grabbed an 87th-minute winner.
“It was nice, but let me tell you my heart was in my mouth to be quite honest with you,” said manager Coughlan. “It’s not like us to concede sloppy, silly, basic goals like that. I guess it was just one of those games, one of those days.
“We did our best to chuck it away, that’s being honest, but I thought the performance was absolutely magnificent – I have to take my hat off to them.
“I thought we had five, six, seven goals in us today. We should have maybe capitalised a little bit more, but I thought the boys were magnificent, the way they played and performed, moved the ball, they created, I thought they were very, very good to be honest.”
Tony Craig and Ollie Clarke gave Rovers a 2-0 lead before Laurent cut the arrears for the home side.
Liam Sercombe made it 3-1 to the visitors early in the second half, but back came Shrewsbury with Ollie Norburn and Laurent again on target to level it up – before Ogogo had the final word.
Coughlan, a former Shrewsbury player, added: “It’s nice to come out the other end with the victory, with the three points, but for a horrible moment there I thought we’d chucked it, I thought we’d lost the points to be fair, but it was a really, really action-packed game of football.”
Reflecting on the match, Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts said: “Ultimately disappointment at losing the game, which I felt we started slowly and gave ourselves an uphill battle. We obviously gave some really poor goals away and when you do that you give yourself an uphill battle.
“To be fair, the boys didn’t half try and climb it and they did climb it. We climbed it with 20 minutes to go and probably with all that euphoria we played the last 20 minutes like we had two minutes of the game to go.
“Maybe it became a little bit open, just a few decision-makings obviously towards the end, little things, but the way we got back into the game through character and effort was superb.”
Ricketts, who felt the momentum was with his side at 3-3, added: “We were maybe a little bit too open, a little bit too gung-ho, and then one little sucker punch and we lose the game.”