Makris is shat­tered as duck is bro­ken...

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Michael Beard­more

WALSALL’S record sign­ing An­dreas Makris fi­nally broke his Sad­dlers duck in the fi­nal month of the sea­son – and had to be taken off af­ter the cel­e­bra­tions got too much!

Makris had fired blanks since a re­ported £300,000 move from Anortho­sis Fa­m­a­gusta in the sum­mer but the Cypriot in­ter­na­tional broke his drought with a crack­ing 20-yard halfvol­ley be­fore be­ing sub­sti­tuted soon af­ter.

Ox­ford fought back to earn a point through Chris Maguire’s de­flected equaliser and had the bet­ter chances to win it late on.

But Walsall boss Jon Whit­ney was ec­static to see Makris’ bar­ren run end, say­ing: “That’s prob­a­bly the most emo­tional I’ve been as a man­ager. Hope­fully, for all of us, it’s the first of many goals for him.

“I think that the re­lief and out­let of pres­sure sucked the life out of him – he was dead on his legs af­ter the goal so we had to change him!

“He’s a young kid and he’s had to deal with a lot. The fact he’s our record sign­ing, of course that put ex­tra pres­sure on him.

“It was just a mat­ter of time for the kid to get set­tled and get his goal. And it was a great goal, not just a tap-in.”

Walsall bossed the first half as Kieron Mor­ris rat­tled the post from 18 yards and saw a 20-yarder su­perbly thwarted by U’s keeper Simon East­wood.

The Sad­dlers got the lead they de­served two min­utes into the sec­ond half as Makris lashed home from just out­side the box.

That spurred Ox­ford into life as Maguire’s cross was sliced onto his own post by Walsall de­fender James O’Con­nor and Matt Pre­ston hacked Conor McAleny’s fol­low-up off the line.

United’s pres­sure fi­nally paid off on 74 min­utes as Maguire’s 25-yarder took a wicked de­flec­tion off O’Con­nor and they al­most won it late on but Neil Etheridge saved McAleny’s rocket from lon­grange.

Ox­ford boss Michael Appleton ad­mit­ted the draw ended his side’s slim play-off hopes. He said: “You look at the other re­sults and if we had won then with four games to go, you never know, but it looks a bit too much for us now.

“The first half was like a pre-sea­son game, but the goal sparked the game into life and it cer­tainly spurred our lads on to up their per­for­mance.

“I was de­lighted with way they went about the sec­ond half, apart from giv­ing away a poor goal in the first cou­ple of min­utes.

“You couldn’t ask any more of a sec­ond half per­for­mance, es­pe­cially away from home.”

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