Wilkin­son win­ner the lift Holden is seek­ing

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Simon Smed­ley

OLD­HAM care­taker manager Dean Holden ad­mits he breathed a sigh of re­lief af­ter Conor Wilkin­son’s late goal piled the pres­sure on Crewe, who slipped into the League One drop zone.

In a largely dire af­fair at sun-soaked Gresty Road, sub­sti­tute Wilkin­son pounced with just 16 min­utes to go.

Old­ham had not been en­joy­ing the best of form them­selves, fol­low­ing Lee John­son’s de­ci­sion to join Barns­ley a month ago, but his re­place­ment Holden was de­lighted with his sec­ond victory as boss.

He said: “It’s been a re­ally tough spell, and it’s not sur­pris­ing that peo­ple out­side the club have been ques­tion­ing us.

“But this was a mas­sive per­for­mance and a mas­sive re­sult for the lads. To get the clean sheet and the three points was ter­rific for the fans, who had trav­elled here in their num­bers.

“Ev­ery­one to a man gave ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing an as a manager, you can’t ask for any more than that.

“I was happy for young Joel Cole­man too. He’s a young lad who came in for his de­but – and to get a win and a clean sheet is some­thing he’ll never for­get.

“We’ve got to push on from this now. We’ve got a big derby game against Rochdale on Tues­day and there is still plenty to play for be­tween now and the end of the sea­son.”

There was plenty of ef­fort in a goal­less first half, but few clear-cut chances. Foot­ball League debu­tant Rhys Turner went close for Old­ham early on, forc­ing a fine low save from Crewe’s vet­eran goal­keeper Paul Rachubka.

Skip­per Harry Davis went clos­est at the other end as he saw a loop­ing header nod­ded fran­ti­cally off the line by Old­ham cap­tain Adam Lock­wood.

Teenager Joel Cole­man pro­duced a su­perb fin­ger-tip save to deny An­thony Grant, while Old­ham went close when an­other debu­tant, Hud­der­s­field loa­nee An­thony Ger­rard, flicked a header inches wide.

But Bolton loa­nee Wilkin­son struck late on, side-foot­ing home af­ter be­ing teed up neatly by Danny Philliskirk.

It was a sixth loss in eight games that sent the Rail­way­men back into the bot­tom four.

Boss Steve Davis said: “We’ve got to de­fend bet­ter in sit­u­a­tions like we found our­selves in for the goal.

“We can’t be giv­ing an op­po­si­tion striker so much space in and around our six-yard box.

“We’re in a battle – we know that – and we’re get­ting drawn into the scrap at the bot­tom again.

“That’s a worry of course, but it’s still very tight down at the bot­tom and there are still eight games to go.

“We’ve got enough qual­ity in the squad.”

STAR MAN AN­THONY GER­RARD Old­ham

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