John­son be­moans ‘stonewall’ spot-kick

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Oliver Rhodes To comment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

OLD­HAM Ath­letic failed to build on their fre­netic start to the league cam­paign but man­ager Lee John­son be­lieved his side were de­nied a ‘stonewall’ penalty.

Wal­sall earned a smash-and-grab vic­tory to end their six-year wait for three points at Bound­ary Park af­ter winger James Bax­en­dale scored the only goal.

John­son ad­mit­ted his play­ers lacked a cer­tain spark, but he was left per­plexed af­ter con­fronting ref­eree Gary Sut­ton on the spot-kick claim.

“All the man­agers are on a course, which shows all the dif­fer­en­ti­a­tions be­tween hand­ball,” he said.

“That hand­ball in the first-half was an ab­so­lute stonewall banker.

“You come in and ask the ref­eree af­ter and he says,‘well, yeah maybe’.

“And you think, ‘thanks, mate’, but it is not an easy job – we are go­ing to get some but not oth­ers.

“I was dis­ap­pointed with the first-half, be­cause we lacked en­ergy and that bit of fizz.

“Draw­ing a blank at home is dis­ap­point­ing. We know Wal­sall are a good side, but they didn’t have too many shots.

“In the sec­ond-half, we were the only team to pound the goal.”

Old­ham strongly ap­pealed for a penalty in the 17th minute af­ter Cris­tian Mon­tano’s shot looked to strike an arm, be­fore Richard O’Don­nell saved with his legs.

Bax­en­dale ri­fled the Sad­dlers into the lead on 25 min­utes fol­low­ing James Cham­bers’ over­lap­ping run and low cross from the right-wing.

The Lat­ics aimed to level the scores af­ter the half-hour mark as Adam Rooney struck Con­nor Brown’s cross with added power, but the drive flew wide.

John­son in­tro­duced Sid­ney Sch­meltz in the sec­ond-half and the Dutch­man looked for a dream start in the league but lashed over. Wal­sall sub­sti­tute Ro­maine Sawyers looked to seal the win af­ter pounc­ing on Cliff Byrne, but the 21-yearold struck his ef­fort tamely into the goal­keeper’s hands.

Sad­dlers boss Dean Smith con­ceded his play­ers were rather be­low-par, but ap­plauded the de­fen­sive sol­i­dar­ity and James Cham­bers in par­tic­u­lar.

“To come through three games with three wins is a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment for the play­ers, but we are nowhere near where we want to be yet,” he added.

“We have got to be bet­ter on the ball, but off the ball we made it very dif­fi­cult for Old­ham.

“I can’t re­mem­ber them hav­ing too many clear-cut chances and that is credit to the whole team de­fen­sively. I’m de­lighted.”

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