Win against Portsmouth was most important of the season for Scunthorpe United boss Brian Laws
MANAGER Brian Laws labelled last night’s 2-1 victory over Portsmouth as Scunthorpe United’s most important win of the season so far.
A brace of Akpo Sodje goals late on in each half earned the Iron a hugely-important success against one of their rivals for relegation, sandwiching Liam Walker’s brilliant free-kick for beleaguered Pompey.
The win lifted United back out of the League One relegation zone - at the expense of Oldham Athletic.
But, more importantly, it should lift the squad’s belief having kicked off a run of five games in 21 days at Glanford Park.
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“We didn’t want to draw or lose this game, we wanted to win it because psychologically it sets us up for the rest of our games at home,” said a relieved Laws post-match.
“This win takes us out of the bottom four and sets us up nicely for the batch of games we have.
“If we’d have dragged it out with a draw or a loss it would have put such a huge amount of negativity on Saturday’s game (another one at Glanford Park, against Crawley Town).
“I take this as a massive win, probably the most important of the season I would say.
“Everybody has built this up as one of the most important parts of the season and we have to beat the teams in and around us.
“More importantly, we got a win at home – which has been a long time coming.
“From that point of view, the pressure on everybody – particularly the players – was immense, but we came through.”
Laws admitted Scunthorpe had somewhat stumbled to a first success in four months in front of their own fans.
“We’ve not been at our best,” he assessed in terms of his side’s performance.
But having played well enough to deserve more points out of most of their matches during 2013, the Iron boss was happy to see a reversal in fortunes.
He also said he never doubted United would breach a stubborn Pompey rearguard for a second time, despite Sodje’s winner not arriving until the 85th minute.
“I always look at the body language of the players and how motivated they are. They were certainly motivated to keep going,” Laws continued.
“When we got that second goal, there was no way Portsmouth were going to get another look in. No chance.
“It was another wonder strike which gave them a huge lift going in at half-time.
“We were a little bit bemused by the goal. The referee put a minute up but that was in the third minute and there’d been no stoppage.
“But we can forget all that. The three points were the most important thing.
“Credit to the players in that they kept believing they could get a result without playing well.”