Fleetwood and Walsall couldn’t be separated in the early kick-off
OXFORD United boss Karl Robinson couldn’t watch as James Henry took the decisive 59th-minute penalty in the victory over Gillingham that lifted his team out of the bottom four for the first time this season.
“I didn’t watch it,” Robinson admitted. “I just knew there was an ecstatic roar.”
Henry converted confidently from 12 yards, into the top left corner, with the Gills still upset about the penalty award, after Marcus Browne went over diving keeper Tomas Holy.
Robinson paid tribute on Military Day at the Kassam Stadium to Dems Regiment’s Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hallett.
“I want to say thank-you to three sets of people,” said the Oxford boss. “To the boss (chairman Sumrith Thanakarnjanasuth), and how supportive he has been.
“Then to the fans who got behind their team in unbelievable fashion.
“And lastly to the Lieutenant Colonel who was inspirational when he’s spoken to us before, and who I asked to do the second part of my team talk .
“It was a helter-skelter football match that was difficult for me to watch – and my heart! If we play like that every week we won’t be successful, but if we show that same desire we will be.”
On whether it was a spot-kick, Robinson said: “He made contact. That’s our first penalty in the league this season, so we were due one.”
Henry also hit a post with a right-footed shot in the 77th minute, from Browne’s deep cross.
Ricky Holmes had been Oxford’s main threat in the first half, twice forcing decent saves from Holy.
But the Gills began the second half strongly and after Brandon Hanlan went close with an angled drive, U’s keeper Simon Eastwood denied Regan Charles-Cook. Late on Hanlan went close again with a 25-yard drive that Eastwood saved to his right.
Gillingham boss Steve Lovell said: “If that was a penalty we should have had a couple too. Holy stood his ground and the fellow has bought the penalty.”
He added: “We had chances in the second half when we were on top and didn’t take them. We did everything, we just couldn’t get that goal. To lose in the way we did is disappointing.”