The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Andy Cooke

LEE John­son watched Carl Winch­ester turn in a man-of-the-match per­for­mance for Old­ham Ath­letic – and then chal­lenged the North­ern Ir­ish winger to do it more of­ten.

Winch­ester set­tled a tight con­test six min­utes from time, charg­ing 25 yards up­field with the ball, dodg­ing a cou­ple of tack­les be­fore rolling a shot into the far cor­ner.

It moved the Lat­ics into the top six – and fur­thers their dream of a re­turn to the Cham­pi­onship.

And in Winch­ester they po­ten­tially have a Pre­mier League player, ac­cord­ing to his boss.

“We know he’s got it. He was su­perb through­out – nice and con­trolled on the ball,” said John­son.

“I had a long dis­cus­sion with him – and a cou­ple of the other lads – about how he good he is.

“What he needs to do it get to the level of con­sis­tency where he’s get­ting eight or nine out of ten for three or four games.

“Ath­let­i­cally and men­tally he hit the heights he can. If we can keep that mind­set, it’s al­most like sign­ing a Pre­mier League player.”

“I’d prob­a­bly say it was my favourite per­for­mance of the sea­son.

“Af­ter Tues­day’s 1-0 loss to Barns­ley we had a bit of soulsearch­ing but we re­sponded and could have maybe won by a cou­ple more. As a manager, I’m re­ally pleased for the play­ers be­cause they needed that.”

A first-half de­void of qual­ity strug­gled to pro­duce much in the way of chances.

Scun­thorpe’s Tom Hop­per glanced a header wide from Jor­dan Clarke’s outswing­ing cross in the 24th minute while at the other end, de­fender James Wil­son some­how blazed wide fro m the edge of the six-yard box as he raced in to meet Ge­orge Elokobi’s header back across goal.

The sec­ond half was more of a spec­ta­cle, but ef­forts on goal were again few and far be­tween.

The Iron’s Luke Daniels was the busier of the two goal­keep­ers and af­ter rac­ing off his line to deny Conor Wilkin­son, Daniels did well to hold on to an ef­fort from Jonathan Forte af­ter he robbed An­drew Boyce of the ball and charged into the box.

Just when the con­test looked to be head­ing for a goal­less draw, Winch­ester struck the de­ci­sive blow, a goal United manager Mark Robins felt was harsh on his team.

“I don’t think we de­served to lose it, a more than fair re­sult would’ve been a draw,” he groaned. “I’m not wrap­ping any­thing up, or candy-coat­ing any­thing, it was a poor game. But it looked like it was go­ing to fin­ish 0-0 un­til we shot our­selves in our foot.

“There wasn’t enough qual­ity in it. The sub­sti­tu­tions gave us a lit­tle bit more qual­ity, but not enough.

“There’s very few times I’ve said our per­for­mance wasn’t good enough, but you’ve also got to credit Old­ham. We kept giv­ing the ball away and we weren’t good enough to break them down. “There’s plenty of food for thought, but the good thing for us is there are games com­ing thick and fast now.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

DE­LIGHT: Old­ham play­ers cel­e­brate af­ter Carl Winch­ester scores the win­ning goal

WIN­NER: Carl Winch­ester slots home the late goal for Old­ham

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