New Port Vale manager Darren Moore was “bitterly disappointed” with the closing stages of the 2-0 League One defeat at Reading as late goals led to Moore’s second successive defeat since taking charge.

Vale offered little throughout a scrappy affair and Reading’s constant second-half pressure paid off through Lewis Wing, in the 76th minute, and Harvey Knibbs seven minutes later.

Vale, now eight games without a win, lie two points from safety but have games in hand over most of the teams above them.

Moore, who succeeded the sacked Andy Crosby last week, said: “I was bitterly disappointed with those last 16 or 17 minutes.

“It was a lapse in concentration that’s once again undone us this evening and we have to be better than that.

“It’s those small percentages that can decide a game and you have to be better at them, in order to drag the game by the scruff of the neck and get that positive result that we need.

“I’m disappointed because we didn’t deserve that tonight but, at the same time, we’ve only got ourselves to blame.

“There was a lot of positives, though. We had just one day to work on our shape, we had two classroom sessions, and the boys applied themselves absolutely spot on.

“Reading didn’t really cause us too much trouble in their rotations and play. We kind of saw a lot of those things off.

“In terms of us with the ball, I was pleased with the back to the middle to the attack.

“If there is one small criticism, it is probably getting those bodies in (to the penalty area) and finishing off what we had maintained throughout the game.

“We needed to commit those bodies forward to get that final contact on the ball. And it will come.”

Reading are now six points clear of the relegation zone.

“It was a good way to respond after Saturday (when they lost 4-1 at leaders Portsmouth),” said manager Ruben Selles.

“We spoke after the game and for me, that game did not reflect the way that we played and the way that we performed. Tonight reflects more the way that we play.

“It took us 15 to 20 minutes to adjust things because it was just Darren’s second game and he changed the formation that Vale usually play.

“We were prepared for a different scenario so early on it was more competitive than we first expected.

“But we adjusted after that and, after half-time, we fully adjusted in the second half. We then dominated the game.

“We stayed patient, we built up the game. When the game is open, we can be very dynamic.”

Northampton boss Jon Brady was full of praise for Tony Springett after he scored a stoppage-time equaliser to clinch a point in a 2-2 League One draw at near-neighbours Oxford.

The on-loan Norwich winger showed good composure with a tidy finish in a crowded goalmouth after collecting Will Hoskins’ left-wing cross for his first league goal.

Brady said: “It was an excellent moment for Tony and I’m really pleased for him. He’s had to be patient for his opportunities.

“He came on today and the little dummy he did just before when the ball comes across goal… he’s calm enough to move the defender and it was an excellent finish.

“It was a fantastic point overall and I’m very pleased for the boys.

“I felt we were very disciplined in our approach tonight and clinical.

“We reduced them to a lot of shots from distance. (Goalkeeper) Louie Moulden came to the fore right at the end but apart from that, they didn’t really trouble us.”

Oxford led through Josh Murphy’s thunderbolt in the fifth minute but Cobblers levelled through Will Hondermarck, 10 minutes before the break.

Will Goodwin scored his first goal for the U’s by diverting in Owen Dale’s cross in the 81st minute to put Oxford 2-1 up, but Springett earned Northampton a point with his composed finish in the third minute of stoppage-time.

Brady added: “The first goal that we conceded, we’ve got to do better.

“Our players are absolutely excellent in terms of discipline and work rate.

“After conceding early tonight we showed immense character out of possession and I can’t really remember them troubling us apart from distance and our own mistakes.

“They can have all the possession they wanted tonight, it was how we dealt with it out of possession and I felt we controlled the game that way.”

The U’s have now drawn five of their last six matches to sit fifth in the table but have played two games more than seventh-placed Stevenage.

Oxford head coach Des Buckingham said: “We picked an attacking line-up and to score after only five or six minutes put us on a good front foot.

“We did enough with the changes we made in the second half to get back in front and then it was a matter of making sure we manage those final few minutes.

“There’s a big hint of offside with Northampton’s second goal, but there were still many things we could have done better after that moment.

“It’s frustrating to leave with what we thought would be three points and end up with the one.

“We’re six games unbeaten and I know people don’t want to hear that because most of them are draws rather than wins.

“The most important thing is we’re picking up results and it keeps us in and around where we want to be.

“We’ll get better and get stronger every week.”

Bolton boss Ian Evatt praised his patient match-winner Carlos Mendes Gomes after seeing his side dispatch Cambridge 2-1 and close in on the League One automatic-promotion places.

Mendes Gomes has had a stop-start season since joining the Trotters from Luton last summer, but found the net in the 63rd minute to secure the points for his side which took them level with second-placed Derby.

Cambridge had hit the front in the first half thanks to an Eoin Toal own goal, but Bolton levelled after the break through Paris Maghoma before Mendes Gomes volleyed the winner from Josh Sheehan’s fine pass.

Evatt said: “Carlos has had injuries and he’s had to wait for that moment, and he’s taken his chance superbly.

“We know he has the quality to do that – he can play a number of positions and can hurt teams in the final third – that’s why we chased him for four years before signing him.”

Overall Evatt was happy with how his side recovered after falling behind early on.

“We gave ourselves a mountain to climb, but the boys showed their character and resilience,” he said.

“It’s tough being at the top of the league – the pressure is on but we keep finding the right solutions.”

Cambridge were rewarded for a bright start in the ninth minute when Sullay Kaikai latched on to a loose pass from Maghoma and drove in a low cross which flicked off Toal and looped over goalkeeper Joel Coleman.

Kaikai then saw a shot parried by Coleman, while at the other end Jack Stevens denied Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and made a comfortable save from Nathan Ogbeta’s effort.

Bolton started the second half on the front foot, and equalised when a 52nd-minute corner was flicked on by Gethin Jones into the path of Maghoma, who touched home.

Eleven minutes later Sheehan was given time and space to pick out the run of Mendes Gomes, who caught the ball perfectly as it dropped over his shoulder to beat Stevens.

Cambridge should have equalised when substitute Jack Lankester shot wide from 12 yards in the 84th minute, and the night got worse for the U’s late on when Lyle Taylor was shown a red card for an off-the-ball clash with Bolton defender Jack Iredale.

United manager Neil Harris said he did not see the red-card incident, but was happy with his side’s efforts.

“I think we played really well in the first half, and finished the game strongly, but the 20 minutes at the start of the second half were disappointing,” he said.

“They’re the best possession-based team in the league and I thought we gave a good account of ourselves, but the disappointment is the equaliser; you can’t get beaten from a set-play so easily.”

Substitute Tony Springett earned Northampton a late 2-2 League One draw at near-neighbours Oxford with a stoppage-time equaliser.

The on-loan Norwich winger showed good composure with a tidy finish in a crowded goalmouth after collecting Will Hoskins’ left-wing cross as the hosts recorded their fifth draw from their last six games.

Northampton also inflicted late pain on Oxford just before Christmas when they grabbed a stoppage-time win at Sixfields.

Josh Murphy gave the U’s the perfect start here by taking a pass from Billy Bodin and hammering a 20-yard drive into the net after just five minutes for his second goal in successive games.

Northampton levelled in the 35th minute from their first effort on goal. Brighton loanee Marc Leonard crossed the ball deep from the right and Will Hondermarck headed powerfully home for his first goal of the season to equalise.

Cobblers goalkeeper Louie Moulden beat out a drive from Cameron Brannagan before the break and Greg Leigh shot narrowly wide just after it.

Will Goodwin diverted Owen Dale’s right-wing cross home the 81st minute for his first Oxford goal to put them 2-1 up, but Springett had the final say to give Cobblers a point at the death.

New Port Vale manager Darren Moore suffered his second successive defeat since taking charge when his relegation-threatened side lost 2-0 in their rescheduled League One match at Reading.

In a scrappy first period, Reading produced the best attempt when Vale keeper Connor Ripley had to make a fine save from Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan.

The home side’s constant second-half pressure eventually paid off with late goals from Lewis Wing and Harvey Knibbs.

Vale’s original fixture at the SCL Stadium on January 13 was abandoned after only 16 minutes, with the score at 0-0, when around 1,000 home fans invaded the pitch in protest at Reading owner Dai Yongge.

Andy Crosby, at the helm for the abandoned game, was sacked earlier this month and replaced by former Huddersfield boss Moore, whose first match ended in a 3-2 defeat at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Vale, without a win in their seven previous outings, produced little in the opening half and Reading should have gone in front when a free header from Ehibhatiomhan forced Ripley into an agile close-range stop.

Reading pushed for the winner in the second half, with Vale hanging on grimly, and the ever-alert Ripley was finally beaten when, following a goalmouth scramble in the Vale area, Wing powered home a fierce low drive in the 76th minute.

Seven minutes later, Knibbs pounced after another chaotic scramble for his 13th goal of the season.

Bolton came from behind with two goals in 11 second-half minutes to beat Cambridge 2-1 and close in on the League One automatic-promotion places.

Paris Maghoma and Carlos Mendes Gomes both struck to give the Trotters a victory which took them level with second-placed Derby, who have played one game more.

Cambridge had defended solidly for much of the first half, having taken a ninth-minute lead. Maghoma gave the ball away to Sullay Kaikai, whose low cross looped in off Bolton defender Eoin Toal.

Kaikai saw a shot parried by Joel Coleman, while at the other end Jack Stevens made a comfortable save from Nathan Ogbeta’s low effort.

Bolton started the second half on the front foot, and were rewarded when a 52nd-minute corner was flicked into the path of Maghoma, who touched home.

Eleven minutes later Josh Sheehan was given time and space to pick out the run of Mendes Gomes, who volleyed in from close range.

Cambridge forward Lyle Taylor was shown a late red card for an off-the-ball clash with defender Jack Iredale.

Burton boss Martin Paterson felt his half-time team talk paid off in the 2-1 win at Leyton Orient.

The Brewers had trailed to a George Moncur penalty before the break, but Mason Bennett and Aristote Nsiala made Orient pay for two defensive mistakes to secure all three points in their first visit to Brisbane Road.

It was the second successive win on the road for the visitors, who moved six points clear of the League One relegation zone.

“I spoke to the players at half-time and I think that was the difference because they (Orient) led at half-time but didn’t have a clear-cut chance and only scored from the penalty which was a poor piece of defending,” Paterson said.

“We knew Orient are a really good team that are possession based so we set up a certain way. However within that, I was disappointed we didn’t see the triggers at certain times so sometimes players need education, help and encouragement.

“I’ll be positive about Orient because they have a clear identity but I knew if we could stay in the game and tweak things tactically with our substitutions, we could get something.

“They shaded it first half but second we definitely did, so I’m delighted with the result.

“My job is to keep encouraging, build the confidence. The non negotiables in terms of effort are there for all to see. It’s a group that wins the games not individuals.”

Orient boss Richie Wellens felt his side dropped their levels after the break.

He said: “I think they’ve had three shots on target and they’ve scored from two of them. In the last two home games the opposition have scored five goals and we’ve only faced six shots after we’ve dominated possession.

“I think the performance first half was excellent and we could have been two or three-nil up. Maybe we could have moved the ball quicker, but we were playing against a team who came here to defend and sit back.

“We were passing along the back and we wasn’t clever enough and went safe and played to the full-back and we can’t play like that.

“Fair play to Burton as they stayed in the game and got a smash and grab. We haven’t got the squad to push. We still have a small opportunity but this 10 per cent drop off is huge for us.”

“Second half right from the kick-off we went backwards to our goalkeeper who slips and had to do a Cryuff turn to get out of trouble. It was far too slow. Then we went long ball time and time again and we didn’t squeeze.”

Wycombe manager Matt Bloomfield felt his team should have earned more than a goalless draw against play-off contenders Oxford after spurning a number of first-half chances.

This was an afternoon when the Chairboys renamed their stadium Adam’s Park as a tribute to 17-year-old supporter Adam Ankers, who died earlier in the month after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for the club’s Foundation Under-19 team.

It was dominated for the best part of an hour by the hosts before Oxford improved and came close to making Bloomfield’s players regret their missed opportunities.

Bloomfield said: “We created more than enough chances to win the game, I believe, and it’s slightly disappointing not to come away with more than what we’ve got.

“But at the same time, I think I have to be pleased with the resilience because if you’re not going to score make sure that you don’t concede.

“Oxford had a couple of chances where we’ve made real big blocks, the back four were really brave in how they defended.

“I spoke before the game to the boys about this being one for our supporters.

“It’s something I was disappointed to not get all three points [from] earlier in the season and we really wanted to do that for our supporters today.

“We wanted to make sure we came out with energy and I feel like we did that first half.”

Wycombe’s first big chance came when Beryly Lubala played the ball through for Dale Taylor, whose shot was saved by the foot of Jamie Cumming.

The Oxford goalkeeper then denied Taylor again and the dangerous Kieran Sadlier sent a clear opportunity into the side-netting before his low ball was somehow put wide by Lubala from close range.

The U’s, who are now three points clear of seventh-placed Stevenage, almost snatched victory with 14 minutes left but home keeper Max Stryjek kept out Cameron Brannagan’s effort.

Oxford boss Des Buckingham said: “It’s an extremely hard-earned point against a team that have picked up some really good results of late and play a very difficult way at times.

“We lost Elliott Moore late last night, which was disruptive, but it was our first clean sheet in a while (12 league games), so to come here and match that, we just needed to be calmer on the ball at times.

“We showed that in the second half, we were calmer on the ball and we created a lot more in the second half.

“We should have had a penalty at the end as well to possibly come away with three points.

“It’s a good point away from home but we need to make sure we back it up on Tuesday with three [against Northampton].”

Ian Evatt was seething for a second successive weekend despite Bolton battling back twice to deny opposite number Nathan Jones his first win as Charlton boss in a 3-3 draw.

Evatt was sent off and then later charged with allegedly using foul and abusive language during his team’s draw at Northampton last Saturday.

And he was livid once more as referee Ross Joyce did not stop play for a head injury to Josh Dacres-Cogley in the build-up to Daniel Kanu putting Charlton 3-2 ahead after 61 minutes.

Substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson rescued a point for promotion-chasing Bolton 19 minutes from time.

Victor Adeboyejo had put the home side 1-0 up but the Addicks led 2-1 at the break through Thierry Small’s first goal for the club on debut and Lloyd Jones.

Paris Maghoma scored a spectacular equaliser six minutes after the interval only for Kanu to cap a fine display with a low shot that went in off a post.

“He (Dacres-Cogley) landed on his head,” claimed Evatt. “He is clearly holding his head. He is down on the floor.

“We know the impact of head injuries and how serious they can be. At that point no-one could have known how serious it could be.

“The referee told me he (Dacres-Cogley) had sat up. But I have watched the footage back after the game and he didn’t at any stage.

“A few ricochets later it is in the back of the net. It is baffling considering what happened with their goalkeeper at the end.”

With Bolton pressing for a winner referee Joyce halted play to allow treatment to Charlton keeper Harry Isted.

“It doesn’t matter whether it is a goalkeeper or not; it’s not a head injury,” argued Evatt, who also claimed he heard “bad language” directed at the officials.

“It just feels like the world is going against us with decisions, with suspension and with injuries. We have lost four key members to our team.”

Charlton chief Jones was full of praise for his team’s point ahead of games against Bolton’s promotion rivals Portsmouth and Derby.

But he claimed not to have seen anything untoward before Kanu scored.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said. “Well done, that’s one thing he (Mr Joyce) gave us today.

“I didn’t see it. I thought it was a good goal.

“To come here and to score three against one of the best and arguably the best footballing side in the division and to be able to do what we did showed we are progressing.

“It was a positive performance, it was an energetic performance and at no point did we look to contain.”

Bristol Rovers manager Matt Taylor has warned his players to buck up their ideas or risk being sold after Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Northampton.

Rovers trailed as early as the third minute at Sixfields through Patrick Brough’s close-range finish, and he then turned provider to set up Mitch Pinnock for a second shortly before half-time.

The visitors did rally in the second half and Chris Martin briefly restored hope, but Marc Leonard’s sensational late goal rubber-stamped Northampton’s victory.

Rovers have now lost seven of their last 10 league games and drop to 12th in League One.

Taylor said: “I have to be careful what I say because I’m incredibly frustrated but I can’t stand here and keep saying the same things.

“The first half was poor and we couldn’t get any aggression in our running and we were second best too often, but goals are still so important and both are preventable.

“There’s a softness which has been apparent for a long time. We were brighter in the second half, we ran harder and we had more purpose.

“We got back in the game but then another poor goal from a set-piece has cost us again. All three goals are incredibly preventable and that’s a recurring theme.

“The fans are frustrated and rightly so because the way we run at the start of the game was poor.

“We don’t seem to value certain things as a team so I need to find a way to hammer that home on the training pitch or some players will struggle to stay at the football club.

“We need to change things because you can see how soft we are with the goals we concede and when we concede those goals, we’re having to chase games.

“Football is a simple game. Do your job first and foremost.”

The win was Northampton’s first in five games and it lifts them back above Rovers and into 11th.

“We’re really pleased,” said Cobblers assistant manager Ian Sampson. “It’s a great result after a couple of frustrating games and it gets us back on track.

“It was so disappointing to concede in the last minute on Tuesday but it’s testament to the lads and their character because every time we have a hiccup, they respond really well and they did that again today.

“We’ve had one or two problems in certain areas of the pitch but we managed that better today and obviously we’re delighted to win the game.

“It’s really pleasing to score three goals, and they were good goals as well, but we were also better defensively and that’s pleasing for the back four and the whole team.”

Derby head coach Paul Warne revealed he is closing in on a deal for Dwight Gayle after his team beat Stevenage 1-0 to boost their automatic promotion hopes in League One.

Warne is hoping to sign the 34-year-old former Newcastle striker, with top scorer James Collins set to miss most of the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Derby had no recognised striker to call on and it showed as they struggled to create chances against a well-organised side.

They did not manage a shot at goal until the 68th minute and had to wait until the 90th for Louie Sibley’s winner.

Warne admits he is trying to bring in Gayle with Collins facing a lengthy spell out after damaging knee ligaments in the midweek win at Exeter.

The Derby boss said: “He’s going to be out for months. No one trains better than James and he’ll give himself the best chance to get back before the end of the season but we won’t see him at least before mid-April I wouldn’t have thought.

“So we are trying to get an out-of-contract striker in, I’ve got a list of two names and I’ve gone for my first one. We’ve done all the paperwork and the EFL are working with us to make it happen.

“It is Dwight Gayle, he’s a free agent, he’s got another couple of League One clubs chasing him and we are doing everything we can to get him in the building.”

Derby’s win, coupled with Bolton’s draw with lowly Charlton, moved the Rams three points clear in the battle for second.

On the game, Warne added: “I’m really proud of the lads, I knew it was going to be a roll-your-sleeves-up type of performance. To win games consistently takes real heart and the dressing room definitely have that.”

Stevenage’s winless run reached four matches as they slipped three points adrift of the top six.

Manager Steve Evans, who this week signed a new deal with the club, said: “It’s hard to take. I think a draw would have been the right result. There were very limited chances in both boxes.

“We should have had a clear penalty in the first half for handball and then the goal comes from Aaron Pressley losing his shape defensively. He’s an attacker but we have a plan. He switches off and two passes later it’s in the net.

“I thought we had a good shape, for long periods we were the better team, but if you switch off in the first minute or the last you concede.”

Cambridge boss Neil Harris was delighted his frontline answered his call for more goals after a 4-0 win at basement boys Carlisle.

The U’s secured their biggest league win of the season as Sullay Kaikai, Sam Levelle’s own goal, Elias Kachunga’s header and Ryan Bennett’s late fourth did the damage at Brunton Park.

Victory saw Harris’ side go eight points clear of the drop zone and cut their goal difference down to minus eight.

“A clean sheet is vitally important and we’re pleased with the four goals,” reflected Harris.

“If we’re honest it could have been six or seven. The boys are disappointed they’ve not scored more goals.

“When I talk about defending as a team and attacking as a team, it’s important for the defenders to score goals as well.

“Stats are important, goals are important with goal difference and things like that.

“After the back of a week of two disappointing results, we’re really pleased. You end up chasing a little bit and look towards the fixtures coming up.

“It’s a strong performance that gives us a lot of belief and confidence.

“I thought Carlisle had to win the game to have any hope about trying to catch us or anybody else.

“The first seven minutes we were a very poor version of ourselves. We settled and the goal helps.”

For relegation-threatened Carlisle it was a sorry seventh straight loss as hopes of survival continued to slip away.

Deflated Paul Simpson said: “It’s probably as disappointed as I have been all season if I’m honest.

“I just felt it was a bit of a capitulation from us after the second goal.

“I thought we started the first half bright. We got in the final third and I sound like a broken record but when we get in the final third it fizzled out.

“We didn’t get tight enough for the first goal. I’ve spoken all season about sending wide players down the line and going into a race with them. We let the wide player do whatever he wants. You have to defend that better.

“The second goal is a horrible one to give away. It’s a mistake and we have to accept that. It’s slippy conditions and the ball slips through the keeper’s hands.

“The third, the recovery runs aren’t quick enough when we give the ball away up the pitch. We aren’t sprinting to get back.

“The fourth is a centre-back having more desire to get on a cross coming in. There’s a million and one things we could talk about.”

Darren Moore wants to improve his new side’s mentality after his Port Vale reign started with a 3-2 loss at League One relegation rivals Cheltenham.

Vale led twice through Nathan Smith’s header and an own goal from Curtis Davies, but Matt Taylor and Jack Shepherd cancelled each out before Will Ferry struck a 73rd-minute winner.

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield boss Moore, who was appointed on Tuesday, saw his team slip to 22nd in the table and two points from safety.

And he called for more resilience from his players after a disappointing beginning to his tenure.

“It wasn’t the start I wanted,” Moore said. “Our mindset and mentality has to be stronger.

“We had a really good start to the game and at half-time I thought we deserved to be ahead.

“Their second goal was a corner when it should’ve been a throw-in.

“But there were positives. We scored two goals away from home. That’s a positive. And the subs had an impact. That’s a positive.

“What I want to see is a Vale team that are fully committed. The commitment and endeavour was there, but our mindset has to be stronger when we get in front.

“As far as I’m concerned the slate’s wiped clean with all of the players, but we have to learn from this today – and learn quickly.”

Cheltenham’s third straight league win moved them above Vale into 21st and they sit just a point from safety.

Darrell Clarke hailed the talent of Barnsley loanee Shepherd, who scored a stunning second-half volley to make it 2-2 and earn a big milestone in the 22-year-old defender’s career.

“It’s Shep’s first (English Football) League goal and he’s done brilliantly, the kid,” Clarke said.

“He’s come from a non-league background into Barnsley and he is a bit raw, but he’s a winner.

“I could see that in training on Friday because he was on the ‘young’ team in a small-sided game and he was going mad because they didn’t win, so he has that appetite to win.

“That non-league background for him has done that for him and it was a really pleasing strike.

“Barnsley have a decent talent there. We are pleased to have him and he’s reaping his rewards with competitive games.”

Portsmouth boss John Mousinho had mixed emotions after his side beat Reading 4-1 at Fratton Park.

Colby Bishop scored his 16th goal of the season to help Pompey maintain their six-point lead at the top of League One.

Mousinho said: “I am very pleased with the win, but obviously disappointed to concede as well.

“I thought Reading were excellent in the early stages and were causing us problems, and we were fortunate not to have conceded during that spell. They showed a lot of energy and a lot of purpose.

“We changed a couple of things after the first half-hour, which seemed to make them more open and direct. That helped us obviously as we have hit the back of the net four times.

“We weren’t organised behind the ball enough and lost too many challenges and second balls in the first half, but I thought we were excellent in the second half.”

The Royals dominated the first 25 minutes and had several chances of opening the scoring with efforts from Andy Yiadom on 11 minutes and Lewis Wing a minute later.

Paul Mukairu put the simplest chance over the bar from inside the six-yard box and the league leaders instead took the lead on 36 minutes as Abu Kamara broke down the middle and passed to Paddy Lane, who rifled the ball home off David Button’s body.

Marlon Pack and Callum Lang drove home and Pompey made it four thanks to Bishop’s strike, but the Royals got a consolation late on from Charlie Savage.

Reading manager Ruben Selles said: “I think we dominated the first half, and I think they were lucky not to be 2-0 down.

“We came here to defend higher up the pitch and to play well, and I think we did that very well.

“I think we continued to do well even after going a goal down, but the second knocked us back a bit and we lost our composure.

“There are areas we could do better but overall, I was very pleased with the performance, and showed we can compete with the top teams.

“It is hard to take that we have played that well but conceded four goals.

“There is nothing major in terms of injuries. Sam Smith was able to travel and got some valuable minutes under his belt.

“We have two home games now on Tuesday and Saturday and we need to build on how we’ve performed today.”

Wigan boss Shaun Maloney praised his side’s mentality after securing a 1-0 win at Shrewsbury to pull eight points clear of the relegation zone.

After a dull first half with limited opportunities for both sides, the Latics found the decisive goal just minutes before the hour mark from a corner.

Matt Smith, with his first goal for Wigan, swept home from inside the box and sent the travelling fans home happy.

Shrewsbury went close to a late equaliser when defender Chey Dunkley rose highest from a corner but his headed effort clipped a defender and went out for another set piece.

Maloney said: “First half, we did a lot of things right with the ball without being as intense with it as I would have liked.

“It flipped second half, you also saw we scored a goal and had to hang in and show a different mentality – not one we have shown recently.

“I thought the players were brilliant, the players who started and the ones who came on made some amazing blocks to stop shots on our goal.

“I probably get more pleasure watching the team putting their body on the line for their club and team-mates and they did that today, so I loved every bit of that.

“When we play like we did in the first 20 minutes, we have to be in front, maybe not the chances, but we should have created more chances with the amount of possession we had.

“We have to be more ruthless when we break through teams in the middle of the pitch and we have to hurt them.”

Shrews boss Paul Hurst felt his side were worthy of a point.

He said: “I don’t think the performance overall deserved to lose the game but ultimately we have and we have to try and change that.

“The general consensus from what I have been told is that the performances have been better.

“I do believe you have to put in decent performances to give yourself a chance of winning the game, so we will obviously want to stick with that and hope something can drop.

“I can’t knock the players in terms of effort but what I will say is I was disappointed with the start we made and I think we took 20 minutes to get started.

“For the majority of the game we were the team pushing on top; once they get in front, they will probably be happy defending a bit deeper and not committing men forward but I also felt we pushed them back.

“Although they ended up keeping a clean sheet, their bench would be not happy with the number of crosses and set plays they had to defend.”

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