Luke Leahy: A kick up Shrewsbury butt was needed

Shrewsbury star performer Luke Leahy admits a ‘kick up the backside’ was required to switch his focus in recent weeks.

Luke Leahy of Shrewsbury Town celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-1 (AMA)
Luke Leahy of Shrewsbury Town celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-1 (AMA)

Left wing-back Leahy shone with his first Town goal and an assist to help his side recover from a sloppy setback and beat AFC Wimbledon 2-1 courtesy of a Daniel Udoh match-winner.

Leahy, Steve Cotterill’s first summer signing from Bristol Rovers, was involved in the set-piece mishap that allowed the visiting Dons to lead. He recovered superbly, however, to inspire Town to the turnaround and feels his recent form followed an earlier dip.

“It is, yes,” Leahy responded when asked if he was growing into his role at Town. “I think we had a fist half at Morecambe where I wasn’t at my best.

“I was worried I was going to come off and I didn’t.

“Sort of from there I gave myself a kick up the butt and I just give my all, my 100 per cent effort and it’s working.

“For their goal I should’ve put the cross (free-kick) in the box but I didn’t and got punished. I needed that header to make it even.

“I wasn’t necessarily told off! I’d just seen something different to what we did. But we all showed character to come back from 1-0 down against a good Wimbledon side.”

Leahy added: “I always thought, being that early signing, so early, it almost got forgotten about, if you know what I mean.

“But I can just do what I can do and if it brings goals and assists then I’m happy.

“There were big changes in the summer and we’ve started working hard and working like a team. We’re three unbeaten now with two draws and a win, if we keep that up it’s very good. But we can’t get ahead of ourselves, Wycombe here tomorrow will be a tough test.”

Udoh’s first league goal of the season, a fine header after coming from the bench, lifted Cotterill’s men out of the drop zone to 20th.

But frustration had previously echoed around Montgomery Waters Meadow as Salop gifted the visitors an opener from a poorly-worked short free-kick in Dons territory.

Cotterill admitted he could forgive his players an ‘honest mistake’ for an otherwise good display. He said: “If we’d have scored or created everybody would be saying a brilliant free-kick and those lads would’ve taken plaudits.

“We give them lots of ideas and scenarios in parts of the pitch. That is not the bible, though, the bible is when you’re defending. That’s when I want you to do what I’ve told you.

“When we’re doing defensive work, that is when you do what I’ve asked of them.

“When we’re in that final third, they have opportunities to show their individual skill. The problem with doing that over there was we didn’t have another man back. We might have got away with it.

“I’m not sure they will be trying that one (again) too quickly.”

The manager was otherwise pleased to see Town combat a Wimbledon side who were particularly strong through set-pieces of their own, a factor that has proven an Achilles heel at times for Shrewsbury this term.

“I thought we were tremendous on set-plays, not necessarily attacking them, but defensive,” he said. “That is a big part of their game where they’ve scored bucket-load of goals, and something we need to try to improve on, but we’re working on it.”

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