King Kong can’t stop Kelly from late point
LATICS boss Darren Kelly felt strong enough to tussle with King Kong before his managerial bow – and Jonathan Forte’s late equaliser ensured his new boss has no monkey on his back.
Kelly admitted he was bursting with pride ahead of his first game as a ‘gaffer’ but only a brilliant Forte volley ensured he was not left waiting for his maiden managerial league point.
The Oldham boss said: “There was so much adrenalin in my body today that I could have taken on King Kong – I was up for everything!
“The big thing for me was that when we went a goal down, I’m interested to see what the character is like, are heads going to go down? But we really took the game to them and dominated.
“In hindsight, we are probably unlucky to just come away with a point. But, especially with it being the first game, I’m just pleased to break my duck.”
Last season’s top scorer Forte started on the bench but Kelly insists he will have a massive role to play.
Kelly added: “Jonathan’s a big part of what I want to try to achieve here. He’s a proven goalscorer and he’s more than capable of getting you 20-plus goals a season.
“He’s only just coming to back match fitness so, like David Dunn, we don’t want to just throw them in there. Hopefully in a couple of weeks they will be able to start and finish games.”
Walsall began brightly and Romaine Sawyers – whose low cross had been lashed just over moments earlier by Jason Demetriou – gave them an eighth-minute lead, pinging a beauty into the top corner from 20 yards.
Oldham improved and had chances to level but a 25-yard Liam Kelly volley flew wide and Rhys Turner fired off target under pressure from Walsall keeper Neil Etheridge.
The Latics – who also had a first-half penalty appeal turned down as Joseph Mills tumbled under pressure from Demetriou – had the better of the second half.
Mills’ 30yard screamer was acrobatically fisted away by Etheridge but, seven minutes from time, Forte emphatically volleyed home Jake Cassidy’s cross to earn Oldham a deserved point.
And Walsall boss Dean Smith felt his side brought the equaliser on themselves, admitting:“The over-riding disappointment for me was that we were so sloppy.
“For the last 20 minutes of the first half and for the majority of the second half, players who are normally a lot better on the ball gave it away.
“We started brightly. We played a different system and I suppose it is in its infancy.”