John­son’s Lat­ics are ‘fight­ing’ up ta­ble

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

LEE JOHN­SON ad­mit­ted his Old­ham side had to fight to earn a cru­cial vic­tory over Gilling­ham which moved the Lat­ics five points clear of the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

Gary Harkins’ third goal of the sea­son just af­ter the half-hour mark clinched an even game for the hosts to se­cure their first home win in three at­tempts.

De­spite the in­tro­duc­tion of 20-goal pair Cody McDon­ald and Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa, the hosts held on for a re­sult which left John­son de­lighted with his side’s spirit.

“It was a very tough game,” he said.

“It was a tight, tense one and the lads knew how im­por­tant it was.

“I thought it was a scrappy, edgy game but both sides had quite good chances.

“We wanted the win so much but some­times you have to graft them out to earn your two or three-nils.

“I want to play re­ally nice foot­ball but it was an im­por­tant win when you look at the re­sults, you know the oth­ers down there are go­ing to pick up wins.

“For at least a cou­ple of games we can look above us and go for the mid­way point.”

Af­ter sub­sti­tute Myles We­ston had missed a good chance for the vis­i­tors, an even first-half swung Old­ham’s way when Harkins lashed in his third of the sea­son from a tight an­gle.

David Wor­rall squan­dered a great chance to dou­ble the lead and Jon Stead cracked a low shot against the post, be­fore Gills striker Joe Pig­ott fired a shot into the side netting.

Ak­in­fenwa headed over from close range and forced a stun­ning save from Mark Ox­ley but they could not find a way through, leav­ing Peter Tay­lor in dis­be­lief at the re­sult.

“I can't be­lieve we haven't won the game,” he said.

“We had a lot more chances than the op­po­si­tion but I don't think we had much luck in front of goal.

“I wanted fresh legs out there and the way we played in the first half jus­ti­fied that. That's why we made six changes.

“It's the squad that will keep us in this di­vi­sion and that's the think­ing be­hind to­day.We need healthy com­pe­ti­tion.

“Their keeper made some won­der­ful saves and was the dif­fer­ence be­tween the sides.

“Our fin­ish­ing let us down in the first half.

“But it was good in the sec­ond half and we couldn’t get the ball past him no mat­ter how hard we tried to.

“He re­lieved a lot of pres­sure that we were try­ing to build on the Old­ham de­fence.

“Stu­art Nel­son had noth­ing like the same amount of work to do.”

STAR MAN GARY HARKIN

S Old­ham

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