Aaron Wilbraham hails Shrewsbury Town form as 50-point mark reached

Stand-in boss Aaron Wilbraham hailed Shrewsbury's form and attitude as a hard-earned point at Gillingham moved them up to the coveted 50-point mark.

Aaron Wilbraham the assistant manager of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)
Aaron Wilbraham the assistant manager of Shrewsbury Town. (AMA)

An entertaining goalless draw at MEMS Priestfield brought a second clean sheet on the spin for Steve Cotterill's side, who looked every inch a match for their promotion-pushing hosts.

A flurry of opportunities came and went for either side. Shrewsbury dominated large parts of the first half and were defensively sound in a resilient display full of hard graft. Gills exerted more pressure after the break but Salop continued to force chances of their own.

Town move up to the 50-point mark, often used as a yardstick for League One survival, with eight games to spare and still 24 points to play for.

The feat is even more impressive given Shrews were second-bottom before Cotterill's late November appointment, having taken just one win and nine points from their first 13 games.

Wilbraham said: "It's a great achievement, we've spoke about the form since the manager took over.

"(To have) Fifty points but with eight games to play with a lot of points to play for, we've still go a lot of games in our eyes and games we want to do well in."

Town nullified a powerful Gillingham side, who looked to take advantage of set-pieces and long throws, and brought their own passing style into the contest.

"We worked on it in the week and dealt with it really well," Wilbraham said of countering Gills' direct and physical approach.

"A lot of teams have come to Gillingham in the past and been upset with that type of football.

"I think the boys were really organised and from minute one you could see what type of game it would be. When we got the ball turned over we tried to settle and play football which we probably did better first half than second half."

Cotterill's assistant said: "It was (entertaining), it was a good performance from the boys, we were happy with the performance.

"I thought we dominated the first half, had a lot of possession, corners, chances and were unlucky not to go into half-time in the lead and we just wanted to continue in the second half.

"It was a good point.

"It's nice to get the clean sheet, we look to defend and build to score goals when the defence gives us confidence with a clean sheet and we were unlucky not to score."

Cotterill and his staff remained confident with their unchanged 11 starting players until four minutes from time, when they introduced their first substitutions.

Wilbraham revealed the visitors were content with how the performance was panning out and reluctant to make changes to upset the flow, with their game plan paying off.

He explained: "When you've worked on a game plan all week with the lads that had started and are doing it so well, the other team are making the changes to get back into the game.

"Sometimes changes can disrupt the team and be for changes' sake. They probably had a real talking to at half-time and made a double substitution to make the game more bitty and scrappy.

"We don't want to make changes for the sake of it, sometimes it can end up costing you because of all the things you've been working on in the week. We didn't feel the need to change, the gaffer said that then to the substitutes."

Gills boss Steve Evans, whose side's play-off hopes suffered a further setback with the goalless draw, felt the hosts improved after a half-time change and were worthy of three points.

He said: "I think it's certainly two points left behind.

"We make two big, big chances. We identified at half-time where they were strong, we changed the system & the personnel & there is no doubt it worked.

"What was missing in our performance was some real quality."

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