Shrewsbury could have been two goals up against Portsmouth – and it would have been fair

Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts believes his side could have been two goals up against Pompey – and it would have been a fair reflection.

Sunday, 24th March 2019, 6:51 pm

Kenny Jackett’s men picked up a 2-0 victory at New Meadow to leapfrog Sunderland into third in the League One table.

But the Blues were put under the cosh for the opening half-hour against the Shrews.

Keeper Craig MacGillivray made an outstanding save to deny Shaun Whalley’s stinging shot in the 15th minute, while Lee Brown’s brilliant block kept out Ollie Norburn’s goalbound effort.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Pompey weathered the storm, though, and Ben Close opened the scoring for the visitors in the 40th minute.

Then Brett Pitman wrapped up the success with a cool finish from close range 11 minutes from full-time – which killed the contest.

Ricketts told his club’s website: ‘I thought for the first 30 minutes we were very, very good.

‘We could have been 2-0 up and it would have been a fair reflection of the game.

‘We needed to score in those moments but we conceded a soft goal. For three quarters of the game it was us pushing Portsmouth back.

‘We were the ones asking the questions and we were playing the majority of the game in their half.

‘Individual errors really just affected the last 15 minutes. We deserved to be 1-0 down, but even with that we fancied ourselves to get something from the game.

‘The second goal killed the contest really, which was disappointing because I thought the performance was good – we just lacked the finishing touch.

‘I think we should have been better in one or two moments after Anthony Grant was brought down.

‘But for the majority of the performance, we were good.

‘We just need that ball to fall for us. They made an unbelievable save onto the post.

‘We had players just miss crosses where they couldn’t get a foot on it. We had other good chances where defenders got blocks on the line.

‘We just need something to go for us. We need rewarding for when we play well. If we had been two up at half time, no one would have disputed that.’

Shrewsbury sit just a point above the relegation zone with seven games remaining.

But Ricketts is confident they’ll survive if they continue to perform like they did against Pompey.

He added: ‘We are fighting with virtually the bottom half of the table. All we have to worry about is our team and us.

‘If we play like we did Saturday, I’m sure we will get the points that we need.’