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Shrewsbury Town boss Sam Ricketts: Stoke City were there to be punished

By Lewis Cox | Shrewsbury Town FC | Published:

Shrewsbury boss Sam Ricketts believes Stoke City were there to be punished as his side were pegged back late on for a replay.

Sam Ricketts the manager / head coach of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)

Ollie Norburn had Shrews ahead against the Championship side from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.

But the Potters levelled late on through sub Peter Crouch, whose goal 12 minutes from time looks to have saved boss Gary Rowett from the axe.

Town were made to pay for missed second half chances, including a gilt-edged header for Aaron Amadi-Holloway, while Josh Laurent tested the keeper through on goal from a tight angle.

Ricketts said his side need to improve on their composure in the final third. He said: "We started the game well. Grew into it in patches, at patches I would like us to be a little more clinical, especially in the final third.

"We intercepted really well, went to break and didn't quite get the final shot or action, which is something we really need to improve on to punish them as they were there to be punished.

"It's testament to us they had to make a triple substitution to get back into the game. We worked incredibly hard.

"They have the ability to make a triple sub and bring the likes of Peter Crouch on. It was an awkward finish by Crouchy, but a very good one, it took something like that for an equaliser."

Shrewsbury are in the hat for Monday's fourth round draw.

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Town lost popular club captain Lenell John-Lewis to what looks like a serious knee injury.

Amadi-Holloway replaced him and was a nightmare for Stoke defenders to deal with.

But Shrews had the better chances with a number of impressive performances throughout their side. Goalkeeper Steve Arnold was limited to one save - in the first half from Tom Ince - before Crouch's volley.

"I'm really pleased with the standard of performance and standards we are setting," boss Ricketts said.

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"You can't in every game but more games than not and we did it again today.

"The last little piece missing to that was to get through to the next round. We were so close.

"I don't think we pushed Stoke but we had the better chances. We had a really good chance to go 2-0 up.

"We forced them into efforts from longer range, you're asking for something special to score against us rather than a tap in.

"I'm disappointed with the goal. It's a minute little bit of detail how I like to defend crosses. We didn't quite do that and we got punished for it.

"I can't fault the players' desire, determination, willingness to keep working and stick to the game plan was outstanding.

"They deserve the plaudits but not as much as if they won."

Lewis Cox

By Lewis Cox
Multi-Media Sports Journalist

Sports reporter with the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Covering Shrewsbury Town and with a keen eye for non-league and grassroots.

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