Buoyant Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts saluted his battling side as they sprung a fine FA Cup shock by beating Stoke City 3-2.
Goals from James Bolton, Fejiri Okenabirhie and Josh Laurent completed a stunning comeback victory for the Sky Bet League One side after the Championship hosts squandered a comfortable 2-0 half-time lead.
“I’m extremely proud of the players,” said Ricketts.
“That’s probably the biggest comeback win of my career. On a personal note that’s definitely up there.
“We were playing 60-70 per cent of ourselves in the first half, we just weren’t ourselves and were not aggressive enough.
“But I made a tactical change at half-time and it worked for us. The biggest thing was the tactical change simplified things for the players.
“At half-time everyone thought the game was over, to be honest, but that probably played into our hands a little bit.
“The first goal was special, it gave us more belief and got us back in the game. We got a foothold in the game and had a bit more belief in ourselves.”
Ricketts added: “An awful lot has gone on behind the scenes at the club, we’ve got the foundations to be very successful.
“It’s a great game against Wolves in the next round. It’s a local derby, it will be a sellout and good financially for us. That’s the beauty of the FA Cup.
“We are little Shrewsbury and an FA Cup run does help us.”
Tyrese Campbell, son of the former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin, bagged a brilliant brace to give the Championship side a deserved 2-0 half-time lead.
But the hosts capitulated after the break and conceded three goals in 10 crazy minutes as the Shrews, who forced a replay by holding Stoke to a 1-1 draw 10 days ago, claimed a famous upset.
Bolton netted a 71st-minute long-range shot, club top scorer Okenabirhie scored a penalty after Laurent was fouled by Sam Clucas before Laurent won it with nine minutes remaining with a goal of his own.
New Stoke boss Nathan Jones was furious his side threw away their lead and denied him his first win in charge of the Potters.
“Defensive frailties cost us,” admitted Jones.
“To go from cruising to losing in the space of 10 minutes is not a good thing. Not quite worrying, but rubber-stamping what I already know.
“I’m shocked how we’ve lost that game. It was a real shift in momentum. For 69 minutes I thought we were pretty dominant, we were excellent and controlled the game.
“We had a glorious chance to kill the game at 2-0 and then at 2-1 we had another glorious chance, but we didn’t take those chances.
“I think you saw a real structure to us and a good starting point, but sometimes you need to get through that mental barrier.
“It’s hard when you’ve been losing a lot, but we’ll get there.”
Jones, who made eight changes, added: “There’s a lot of hard work to do, so new personnel could be an option.
“Unfortunately we ran out of steam at the end. We want a hard-working, high-pressing group, but we’re not there yet physically and tactically.”
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