Shrewsbury manager Steve Cotterill was pleased that the pain of a midweek scouting trip paid off as his in-form team made it five straight wins with a 1-0 success at Oxford.
Cotterill spied on Oxford in their home defeat by Barnsley on Wednesday night.
And after sub Ryan Bowman’s 74th-minute goal had given them victory at the Kassam Stadium, he reflected on how the midweek journey paid off in the end.
“When I came away from Oxford against Barnsley the other night I remember being sat on the motorway after the most almighty of diversions thinking ‘I hope this is going to be worth it’,” he said. “But it was.”
It is the first time Shrews have recorded five wins in a row in the league since 2015.
Cotterill was not taking credit for the substitution, however.
He said: “You can make substitutions sometimes and they don’t come off.
“I’m not one for self-praise. It’s all credit to the lads and they’re the ones I want to have the credit.
“It was good to see our boys celebrating with the fans in the far corner at the end.
“Although you enjoy winning at home in front of more fans, there’s always something extra-special about winning away, when you go into a hostile environment.
“Oxford are a good team, their budget will dwarf ours, so that’s a great achievement by our players. We’re nowhere near the strength of the squad that Oxford have got, and our budget won’t be half of Oxford’s.
“We’re very pleased with the win, but very realistic and very humble too.
“There’s many ways to win a football game. The goal was first class – we nearly scored another one where we hit the post.”
Bowman hit the winner on 74 minutes with a superb volley from Killian Phillips’ pass.
Oxford were unable to convert strong spells of pressure and they have failed to find the net in three of their last four games – all of which have ended in defeat.
Us boss Karl Robinson said: “As a result it was a disaster but my players put in a performance and couldn’t have given any more.
“We had a blatant penalty in the first half and the second half, and there were lots of near misses.
“That’s what happens when you’re going through a bad time – it doesn’t fall for you.
“I accept the responsibility of where we are. It’s not a lack of ideas, we know what we are doing. We just have to make sure now that internally we all stick together.
“We lost Cameron Brannagan in the first half through injury last Wednesday, and Billy Bodin in the first half through injury today.
“It feels like a cauldron of everything we didn’t want to happen has happened to us in the last two games.
“Missing so many chances today gives us an understanding of how well we have played.
“I said to the players I’m proud of them. This is now a platform to be the lowest point and to go onwards and upwards from here.
“It’s all about making sure we learn from what we do, and also about taking responsibility. And today the players accepted responsibility.”
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