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Johnson: "It Was A Tough Game"

23 February 2014

Latics manager Lee Johnson heaped huge praise on his goalkeeper after he pulled off a string of saves to ensure victory.

Mark Oxley denied the Gillingham attack all afternoon, frustrating the opposition strikers and the gaffer had good words to say about his number one.

He said: "In my opinion I think Mark Oxley was man of the match today, even though Gary Harkins won it. I thought Oxley really proved his worth today. He made a couple of saves you'd expect him to make but there were some outstanding ones."

The goalkeeper had to be alert until the final whistle as he stopped Cody McDonald's goal-bound effort deep into added on time. 

"With 50 seconds of the game remaining, I was disappointed that they even got down to the other end of the field, but it was a good save," said the 32-year-old. "He deserved it because it's very important that your goalkeeper earns you points throughout the season and he did that today."

The result moves Latics up to 14th in Sky Bet League One and the boss admitted it wasn't the prettiest of games.

"It was a tough game and we knew that it would be hard," said Johnson. "They came here and went 4-5-1 probably to get the draw and it was a tight, tense performance. 

"It was scrappy, very tough for both sides and an edgy game. It was a tough one on the heart strings because we wanted the win so much. Sometimes you have to graft those performances out and I was really pleased for the lads."

Harkins scored the only goal of the game, taking his tally to three since arriving on loan from St Mirren. Speaking about the player, Johnson said: "When he gets the ball in that area, your eyes light up and you stand tall because you know something can happen. I was delighted for him to get the goal."

Watch the full interview on Latics Player.

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