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League One

Gillespie gets Abbott praise

7 April 2013

Manager Greg Abbott paid tribute to his goalkeeper after Carlisle held on for a 2-1 victory at Oldham.

Mark Gillespie made a string of fine saves to preserve the Cumbrians' lead after they took control at Boundary Park with goals from Liam Noble and Jordan Mustoe. Noble struck after nine minutes, slamming home his shot from 20 yards after Oldham were robbed of possession in midfield.

Dominant Carlisle doubled their lead after 33 minutes when full-back Mustoe made a run beyond the home defence, controlled Noble's through ball and expertly lobbed in from the edge of the box. Gillespie's heroics began just before half-time when he tipped away Jose Baxter's stinging drive.

Oldham were transformed by a treble substitution at the break, but Matt Smith and Bobby Reid were both denied by superb saves. The home side's only consolation came after 73 minutes as Korey Smith was brought down by Mustoe, allowing Baxter to send Gillespie the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Carlisle boss Abbott said: "Mark Gillespie made a mistake a couple of games back, but I stuck with him. He has come back well and he made some great saves. He was really outstanding.

"We think he's a good young goalkeeper and that performance will have done his credentials the power of good. We are absolutely delighted with the result because this was always going to be a hard game. Oldham are fighting for their lives and take advantage of having some big lads, so we had a job to do defensively.

"We had to dig in when Oldham bombed it forward, but overall we should be proud of the performance. We are picking up good results in difficult games. We are on a little run and want to end the season as powerfully as we can."

Oldham remain in danger of relegation after suffering their first defeat in four matches under Lee Johnson.

The recently-appointed Latics manager said: "The first-half performance was nowhere near good enough and I apologise. I'll take the blame for this one because, in trying to get the lads ready for a big game, I might have overcooked them in training.

"They looked leggy, but you can still get results in those circumstances if you have the right mentality. In the first half there was a general laziness to make the extra yard or have the extra spark defensively or in attack. It's like we need a punch on the nose before we get going, so that needs to change."

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