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Steve Cotterill praises Shrewsbury players for passing Peterborough test

Steve Cotterill praised Shrewsbury for reaching the FA Cup third round (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Steve Cotterill praised Shrewsbury for reaching the FA Cup third round (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Shrewsbury manager Steve Cotterill praised his players for withstanding a second-half onslaught from Peterborough as the club reached the FA Cup third round for a sixth successive season following a 3-1 victory.

Tom Bayliss opened the scoring for the Shrews before Kwane Poku levelled for Posh.

Further home efforts from Matt Pennington and Luke Leahy then put Cotterill’s men in the ascendancy at the break.

But visiting manager Grant McCann threw on Jack Marriott to join 12-goal leading marksman Jonson Clarke-Harris in attack for the second period, leading to long periods of Peterborough pressure.

The Shropshire side refused to buckle, though, on a gusty afternoon, with Cotterill saying: “The conditions didn’t help either team with the strong wind and, if anybody knows a good bricklayer to block the corners on our ground to stop it coming through, then let me know. But, overall, I think we deserved the win.

“We started the game really well and it was a great finish for the first goal. We then had a five or 10-minute period after they equalised when it looked like it bothered us, but you can’t feel sorry for yourselves and we reacted well after that.

“They had a few chances but we managed to score three goals and then kept a clean sheet in the second half, which was really important because we knew that the first 10 minutes after half-time would be a key time and they had a few corners but, thankfully, we passed the test and got into the third round, which was what we were aiming for.”

McCann was unhappy with his side’s first-half efforts but, having also exited the Papa Johns Trophy in midweek, he admitted the sole focus will now be on attempting to secure promotion back to the Sky Bet Championship, where Posh have fallen 10 points behind the automatic promotion places.

He said: “There was a big difference between the first-half performance and the second in terms of our energy and aggression. Our concentration was also better because it wasn’t good enough in the first half, as you always know against Steve’s teams that they will make it tough for you, particularly at set-plays.

“We have a good group of lads but, at moments, certain individuals switch off and it’s costing us. We’ve lost four games out of five now, so we’ve hit a bit of a sticky spell but the reality is we’re fourth in the table and now we can focus on our main target, which has always been the league.

“I’m sure a lot of people might have written us off but I’m looking forward to a busy Christmas period and the run-in. The league is our bread and butter because we want to get out of this division.”