HOLDING Shrewsbury to a goalless draw on their own patch was another indication of how far Stanley have come this season. We are competing with the best that the Conference can offer and the cup run has helped us to adapt to playing against these stronger sides.
It was great to hear Shrewsbury's own fans getting on their backs at half time as they got frustrated with their team's inability to break us down. On the radio on the way home Jimmy Quinn blamed the pitch, their injuries and their referee but no indication of the effort put in by Stanley. Increasingly teams are finding us hard to break down but still there is no real regard for our play-off chances, even though we find ourselves just three points off the pace.
Tuesday's three goals and three points enabled us to get right back in the frame. Although the three goal winning margin flattered us it was comforting to see we can still turn on the style straight from the kick off and kill teams off before they know what has hit them. Cav's sending off was another one of those incidents where the referee overreacted. These suspensions are a novel way of squad rotation.
Eric's announcement that we are going full time as of July 1st hasn't come as a shock. His requirement that all players must become full time players has. Does this mean goodbye to Paul Mullin and other players, or the introduction of highly-rated players with Football League experience next season. Whatever the outcome it is an indication of how well the club's finances are at the moment and the aspirations the club has.
Tomorrow sees us return to Burton in search of revenge for our Trophy exit boosted not only by Tuesday's result but the performance of Lee McEvilly also. He showed what a solid and skilful player he is allowing Lutel to play in his favoured position.
A third away win of the season followed by a safe passage through to the semi-finals of the Marsden Trophy at Bamber Bridge on Tuesday is what most supporters will be expecting. The season has certainly not ended with our exit from the cups.