Manager on the Scunthorpe game
United manager Greg Abbott gave us his reaction to the 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe shortly after full time on Saturday.
“I thought Scunthorpe played very well,” he said. “They put us under a little bit of pressure at times and I agree with their manager that they will be one of the teams who steer clear of the drop zone.
“I think the draw was a fair result because I don’t think either side did quite enough to win the game. We didn’t really get going in the first half and the game was lacking tempo and any kind of real quality.
“We played much better in the second half but then we found ourselves a goal down. The good thing was that we livened up and we started to ask a few questions. If we’d been a bit more clinical in and around their box then it might have been better for us, but I have no complaints about taking a point from a game like that.”
“A real positive for us was the way the lads dug themselves out of a hole once Karl [Hawley] got that first goal,” he added. “We’ve had a decent run at home and the lads really want to win games for the fans at the moment. The crowd got behind us again when they saw the energy and determination and my only real disappointment was the fact that we didn’t make better use of the possession we had.
“I keep saying we’ve got a good group in that dressing room and they’re starting to show us that now. Earlier in the season we were guilty of conceding too many goals one after the other at home and we’ve stopped that from happening at the moment. That’s been important for us.”
The topic of the day, of course, was the unbelievable equaliser from the boot of teenage attacking midfielder Dave Symington.
“When you see what Dave can do with a dead ball it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell him he’s on set pieces when he comes off the bench,” Abbott explained. “One of his terrific strengths is that his delivery is fantastic. He practices it over and over and that’s because he wants to get better. He’s still learning the overall game but that part of it is something he has a real talent with.
“I think it’s fair to say we’ve just seen the best goal that has ever been scored at Brunton Park. It’s certainly the best one I’ve ever seen through what has been a fairly long career.”
On the substitutions as a whole, he added: “The changes seemed to lift the crowd and the players responded to that as well.
“We started to get into the right areas and it was a good end to the game for us. We looked fresh and fit and we think we’re getting there now. Confidence is a big thing in this game and if we get a bit more in the way of consistency in the results, as we have done over the last month or so, then we’re going to be more than ok.
“It’s a decent run of form for us with the ten points from six games and we can take that into what will be a tough test next week. Tranmere are the team of the season so far and we’ll have to go there and deal with the fact they are soaring with confidence. We’ve got some good players ourselves, though, so we go there thinking we can get something as well.”
Another big decision came before kick off with wide man Andy Welsh given the nod to make his first start of the season.
“Sometimes you have to reward what players have been doing in training and Andy has looked as sharp and as bright as anybody,” he said. “He was outstanding in our behind-closed-doors game at Rangers and he is a natural left-sided player, which I like.
“He has earned and deserved this chance. I want the lads who aren’t playing every week to follow his lead and do something about it. It’s up to them to show me that they should have a place in the team.”
Defender Sean O’Hanlon picked up the sponsors man-of-the-match award and that was coupled with yet more praise from a delighted manager.
“I think we’ve found a real number five now and we’ve needed that,” he told us. “I thought he played really well. We’ve brought him in to help us to tighten things up and he’s done just that.
“We had to shift things about because Chris [Chantler] didn’t make it through the Friday training session. He couldn’t kick the ball properly, but with Matt Robson and Andy Welsh we had decent cover over on the left hand side anyway. Chants will be fine for next week, hopefully, and we’ll have even more of the type of selection problems we like to have.”
And it was a day where good work off the pitch was as important as the performance on it.
“We have to give a massive pat on the back to Dave Mitchell and his team,” Abbott confirmed. “He does that job as well as anybody and you couldn’t tell there had been any weather problems at all by the time it got to kick off. It’s credit to him and his team because they work extremely hard to make sure we can play and train in what are often really difficult conditions.”
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