United turned the away game at Oldham on its head on Saturday afternoon as they recovered quickly from the disappointment of having conceded deep into time added on in the first-half to first equalise and then, for the first time this season, go on to win a game having been a losing position.
Manager Paul Simpson spoke afterwards about the character shown by his group to overcome adversity, penalty save included, so that their winning run could be extended to three games.
“I didn’t know that stat to be honest with you, and I suppose that explains how when it comes to the first 31 games I don’t really know that much about them,” he said. “It shows me that they’ve got a bit of character, but if I’m going to be honest with you I think I’ve seen this week that they’ve got some character.
“I didn’t say this to them but I felt that if we could come away from this game without losing then seven points would have been a really good week.
“Nine points is just absolutely magnificent, and I’ve just said in the dressing room that people underestimate the pressure that you’re under as a football player - and I totally get that it’s not the same type of pressure you get with our NHS workers and that type of thing, where it’s life or death – but there is a pressure that comes with the expectation.
“The things that they do when they have that pressure on them matter, and I thought they showed unbelievable character.
“We go in a goal behind at the break, and I thought the penalty save was a big moment. It was a really scrappy goal to give away right on the stroke of half-time, and when you’re at the bottom something like that can properly knock the stuffing out of you.
“I told the lads that they’d had five seconds, not even that, of madness at the end of the half otherwise we’d have gone in level and feeling ok with what we’d done.
“In the second half I thought they had one good chance when Keillor-Dunn headed it over the bar, but we had some really good opportunities. There was Omari’s header, Gibbo’s volley, and that would have been a worldie goal to win any game.
“But we kept going - and what a feeling! We were in poll position to watch that header go in as well, it was lovely, it was right in front of our fans.
“I’d actually said during the break that they should start visualising getting a goal in front of these fans and celebrating with them, because that won’t be a bad feeling if you can manage to get a result. They’ve gone and done it again.”
Looking at the negative of conceding a goal at such a key moment, we wondered if he felt that a series of unforced errors had been punished.
“I think it’s a bit harsh to say it’s an unforced error,” he disagreed. “Firstly, I thought we could have cleared our lines better, and we could have stopped the cross, then it’s a horrible ball in to deal with.
“Nicky Adams puts quality into the box and we’ve had to defend so many crosses. I think Jon Mellish got the first header and it bounced free.
“It just so happens that it came to one of their players and they stuck it in, so it was a little bit unfortunate.
“I wouldn’t say it was an unforced error but the lads have shown great personality to come back in the second half and get what I think we fully deserved from what we did.
“I don’t think it was an unjust result, we had opportunities that we unfortunately missed and we kept going to finish the game off.”
The start to the second period couldn’t have been any better, and it was the away team who the looked the more likely from the moment Patrick made it goal number six for the season.
“We showed real confidence and we had a little bit better control after he equalised,” the manager commented. “When we passed the ball we were a little bit calmer, we looked forward and we played forward better, which is what we wanted.
“We’ll keep building and we’re now three down and 12 to go, it’s starting to look better for us, but it can change really quickly. It’s important the players enjoy it, but they need to get ready to go again against Northampton, which will be a really tough game.
“Omari’s first touch was fantastic, a really good take, but again it came from looking forward and playing forward. It was all the things we want and if we’re going to get out of this situation we’re going to have to continue with that positive type of mindset.
“We’d missed other chances after his goal, and maybe you do think it’s not your day that way, but I’d have been quite satisfied with a draw, to be honest with you.
“I wasn’t going to be greedy but I’m glad they’ve filled my plate today, it was really nice.”
And the winner came from a superb Guy free kick which was expertly popped away by Morgan Feeney - his first ever senior goal.
“When you get that situation it looks really easy to slip a ball into the right area and then it looks easy to get up and win the first contact,” he said. “Trust me, it isn’t, it takes a little bit of nerve to do that.
“Callum put a great delivery in, Morgan attacked it like we know Morgan can, and it was brilliant to see it bouncing in off the bar and over the line.
“I wasn’t sure what happened for about 15 seconds after, there was nothing else that was important. It’s a good feeling, it's a nice feeling, we got the three points and we move away and look forward to the next one.”
One of the building blocks of the dramatic victory was a penalty save from reliable stopper Mark Howard, who got his legs to a low, driven spot-kick.
“He’s doing his bit for us, without a doubt,” he told us. “He did it on three occasions the other night and again with that penalty.
“He didn’t have as many saves to make and he came for a couple of crosses, which was important, and the penalty save was brilliant.
“I don’t care how he saved it, he kept it out. I did think it was a little bit harsh, I accept it was handball, but we had one earlier on in their box where I asked the fourth why it wasn’t a penalty, and he said the player was too close.
“I don’t know how close that was to the ball coming in and hitting Dynel’s arm, but thankfully we don’t have to worry about it.”
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