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Michael Appleton's Programme Notes for Scunthorpe

PUBLISHED

12:59 18th March 2017

"Still plenty of twists and turns"

Good afternoon everyone and welcome back as we take on a very good Scunthorpe side. Their manager, Graham Alexander, is a former teammate when we were both at Preston and he has done a fantastic job at Scunthorpe; they have been in the top five or six all season and got an excellent win on Tuesday night that I am sure he will want to build on this evening. 

We were hoping to do the same thing at Oldham on Tuesday night but couldn’t add to the impetus that a fantastic win at Peterborough had given us. There was certainly a contrast between the two performances, something I thought we had got over in recent weeks after a bit of an inconsistent start this season.

In the first game we started a little slowly but then got into our stride and took the lead thanks to a good finish from Phil Edwards. You ask your defenders to chip in with a few goals through the season but Phil has a real eye for goal and gives us an added threat, especially at set pieces. We then created a number of chances but were a bit too open for my liking. I don’t want my goalkeeper to be Man of the Match, I want him to have a lot less to do that Easty had on Saturday. Having said that, he made some fantastic saves, as he has done all season, and that allowed us to hold on to our lead and add to it with a well-worked goal from Conor McAleny.

We played well without truly being comfortable and I think there were a few nerves jangling in injury time when they got it back to 2-1. Still, a win is a win at this stage of the season and it meant we travelled to Oldham in good spirits.

We got what we deserved on Tuesday, which was nothing. People talked a lot about the pitch but that is no excuse at all. The surface had no bearing on the way we started the game where we were again slow out of the blocks and allowed Oldham to play the way they wanted. Whatever the surface, you need to have energy and purpose in the first few minutes and for once we couldn’t find it. 

When we did get back into the game through a Chris Maguire penalty, I thought we would go on and win the game. We were basically camped in their half for the rest of the game but all it takes is one decent delivery and you get punished at this level. 

Does that one result mean we are going to play Oldham again next season? In a word, no. There are still plenty of twists and turns but what it does is make our job that bit harder if we are to reach the play-offs. 

We now have two home games in a row against sides above us. Tuesday night may have hurt us, but most times when that has happened to us we have shown a fierce determination to make amends straight away.

Get behind us,

Michael

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