Manager on the vital Oldham win
Manager Greg Abbott spoke to us about the 2-1 victory over Oldham shortly after full time on Saturday.
“We’re absolutely delighted with this result,” he said.
“It was never going to be easy because Oldham are fighting for their lives. They have some powerful and physical players and they used that to their advantage in the second half.”
“However, I thought we played some fantastic football in the first half,” he told us. “We knew they’d come at us after the break and we found it hard to get hold of the ball at times. They bombed it forward and they asked questions of our back four, but we dealt with it.
“Then we had that performance of our goalkeeper. He was outstanding when we needed him and some of his saves were out of this world. The mistakes he made a couple of weeks ago have gone now and we have seen, yet again, just how could he can be for us. We stood by him and he showed us that we were right to do that.”
“We’ve had to dig deep and do the hard work on top of the very good football we played in the first half,” he added. “It’s a game where, overall, we deserved something and the three points has made the effort worthwhile.
“The character shown by these players has been immense recently because they could have folded a couple of times this season. They haven’t, they’ve stuck with it, and there were some big performances out there on an individual level.
“I think people can see we have a lot of spirit and that showed with the work we did off the ball. We won the second balls and we closed down the spaces quickly, and that will always help you to win games. It looks like we’re starting to tie it all together again and that can only be good for us as we go forward.”
“I think it goes without saying that It was a huge three points for us because it takes us through that 50-point barrier we’ve all been talking about,” he explained. “Like I say, some of that football in the first half is the best we’ve played.
“The goals were great to watch and they set us on our way. Liam [Noble] can do that and he’s come back into the side with a real determination to keep his place. He’s enjoyed going forward but he’s done the ugly stuff in this game, and that shows that he’s listening and learning as well.
“With Jordan [Mustoe] goal, I thought he was going to dink it to the far post at one point, but he saw the gap and he finished it extremely well. That was an indication of the quality he has. He knows he didn’t get the challenge for the penalty right but he’s getting better and better as each week goes by.”
“We’ve been trying to make ourselves hard to beat and the response has been this little run that we’ve been on,” he said. “It isn’t easy because you have other teams and clubs who need the points for their own reasons.
“We want to end our season as powerfully as we can, though, because we feel we owe that to our fans.”
“The thigh injury to Frank [Simek] brought Brad Potts into it and he showed he can cope with the physical side of a very intense game,” he told us. “He was on his knees at the end but I think we can allow him that. He put absolutely everything into this game and he has shown us that he can do that job as well as the very good job he does when we ask him to play in midfield.
“Andy Welsh is a very honest lad. He has been banging on my door week after week telling me that he wants to play and he has done a very good job in these last few games. We didn’t get the ball to him enough in the second half today so we changed things a bit, but he gives us balance and other options when we play that formation.”
“The fans were outstanding because they helped to carry us over the line,” he concluded. “We were under a bit of pressure but they lifted their voices and the lads worked off that. They’re our extra man and they are so important to us. We really do owe it to them to finish this season off as well as we can.
“I think Oldham will survive because they’ve got some very good players here. They got their game going in the second half and I’m sure they’ll have enough. I’m sure Lee [Johnson] will understand when I say that I wish him well, but that today has to be about Carlisle United for me. We wanted this win and credit to the lads because they went out there and did it for us.”