Fleet­wood and Walsall couldn’t be sep­a­rated in the early kick-off

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Peter Lee

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.”

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