Working on set-plays could help us survive, says Scunthorpe United boss Brian Laws
PRACTICE makes perfect for Scunthorpe United when it comes to set-plays. And boss Brian Laws hopes they could turn out to be the Iron's secret weapon in their fight for survival.
Niall Canavan's header from Mark Duffy's corner clinched the three points for Laws' men in their 2-1 victory over Crawley Town on Saturday.
It was the defender's fourth goal of the campaign, and the third he has scored from flag-kicks.
"We practice and practice and the reward for practising is you get the goal you deserve," said Laws.
"I thought our set-plays were quite good.
"We got on the first header and the first phase of it on most occasions. That's encouraging because we know that we're dominating.
"We got the ball in the right spot and attacked it well, as Niall Canavan did.
"I think that's his third goal from a set-play, so, again, the rewards are there.
"It might be a game where sometimes it's so tight that a set-play wins you a game.
"I'm not shameful of the fact we work hard on our set-plays because it might just keep us in the league."
Back-to-back home wins for the first time since 2011 ensured Scunthorpe remain just outside the relegation zone, two points ahead of Oldham.
They had to come from behind to do so as one-time United midfielder Matt Sparrow put the visitors in front three minutes after the interval.
Crawley continued to apply the pressure after that, but Jimmy Ryan followed up Michael Collins' effort for the equaliser with just over 20 minutes remaining, offering the home side a way back into the game.
Such a fightback is proof of an increased mental toughness, according to Laws.
"When a former player comes back, sometimes they come home to you and give you a bite in the backside. Matt certainly did that and I thought he played quite well," said the Iron boss.
"It just shows his respect for the football club that he didn't celebrate it. Most players, if not all, would actually celebrate it.
"Great credit to him.
"He's got a lot of time for this football club and the fans showed their appreciation before kick-off.
"The important thing was how we responded and to get the first goal, which was more down to determination and Jimmy Ryan busting a gut to throw himself at the ball and go into a challenge that some may have ducked out of.
"He put his foot through but he could have bust his leg with the challenge he went in to.
"He finished it extremely well and it gave us a real belief.
"We were pushing hard and pushing forward and it allowed us to go 10 yards further up the pitch.
"All of a sudden, we were starting to create a few problems for a good side."