Brian Laws sure Scunthorpe United are 'moving in right direction' despite Bournemouth loss
BRIAN Laws refused to apportion any blame towards Mike Grella after watching Scunthorpe United crash to another defeat at Glanford Park.
The American striker saw a poor first-half penalty saved by former England and Liverpool keeper David James as the Iron were beaten 2-1 by Bournemouth.
It came a minute after the Cherries had taken the lead through Lewis Grabban and proved even more costly when, in the immediate aftermath of the miss, the visitors broke upfield and doubled their advantage.
To compound Scunthorpe's frustrations, Laws later revealed Karl Hawley - who scored from the spot in the second half - had been the nominated penalty taker.
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But the Iron boss insisted Grella's bravery to step forward and take the kick showed the sort of courage Scunthorpe will need as they battle to get out of League One's bottom four.
"There was a nominated penalty taker – it was Karl Hawley. We said that before the game," Laws told the media, post-match.
"Normally it would have been Leon Clarke, but when we knew he wouldn't be on the park (he missed out with a hamstring problem) we talked about it and Karl wanted to do it right away.
"However, I won't have a go at anybody who's got the strength and confidence to go and take the ball and say 'I want it'.
"You've got to be in a confident mood – it's not easy taking a penalty – and you've got to be very brave.
"Having not been in the side, Grella showed some bravery. Unfortunately he didn't finish it off and the manner in which he didn't finish it off disappoints most people.
"We all wanted him to smash it into the back of the net. We just wanted a goal."
Although 'disappointed' to have slipped to a third successive loss, a result which leaves Scunthorpe three points from safety, Laws was pleased with the way his side recovered from that frantic three-minute period which ultimately proved so costly.
Hawley's 63rd minute goal improved hopes of a comeback - and only a second point at Glanford Park in almost two months - but despite getting back into the game, rarely did United threaten an equaliser.
Laws was keen to put a positive spin on the loss.
"I'm really pleased with the mentality the players showed when we went 2-0 down," he said.
"We pushed our chests out and had a go. We didn't buckle, as we have done previously.
"That shows the mental work we've done with the players over the last fortnight has shown some dividend. We showed a mentality we hadn't done previously.
"If we keep doing that, we're going to win more games than we lose.
"Mistakes at the back have cost us dearly. We made two mistakes and conceded two goals.
"But we're going in the right direction. That's how I see it at the moment.
"We haven't got the points to go with it, but we are going in the right direction in everything we're doing and the players have responded magnificently to what we've asked of them. Results will come.
"We were playing against a very, very good side today.
"I saw Bournemouth murder Carlisle (in a 3-1 FA Cup win seven days earlier) and run them off the park, so we've got to be pleased with the fact we matched them in all departments."
The Iron boss said the biggest plus of the afternoon was the chance to give a run out to youth team striker Jamie Wootton.
He came off the bench for the final eight minutes - a decision which appeared to lift the home crowd.
"The most positive thing is we had a young boy, of 18, making his debut," he said.
"Jamie Wootton is going to be a very happy guy. The players have congratulated him on his making his debut – and rightly so.
"Unfortunately we didn't get a result for him."