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League One

Oldham Athletic's Jonson Clarke-Harris gets his rewards

5 April 2014

Manager Lee Johnson praised teenage striker Jonson Clarke-Harris after his two goals helped Oldham Athletic gain a deserved 3-2 win at Bradford City and a another step towards safety.

The 19-year-old had not scored for more than three months, but not only did he score Oldham's second and third goals, he also laid on their first for James Wesolowski.

How the youngster, who joined Oldham from Peterborough United at the end of last season after loan spells at Southend United and Bury must like playing against Bradford - he scored against them in 1-1 draw at Boundary Park at the end of November.

Johnson said: "He was exceptional - a real threat.

"He is still learning and he has got to keep his feet on the ground, but the potential is there.

"He supplied two clinical finishes and his work-rate over the last five or six games deserves everything we can say of him."

Johnson was delighted with the result, which leaves his side four points above the relegation safety mark.

But he said: "It was not perfect but I thought our defensive work-rate and commitment to the cause was superb.

"We scored on the break and were unlucky not to score more. Our work ethic with the midfield three gives us a platform to move forward."

The visitors dominated the early stages, denying Bradford possession for long spells and were rewarded by taking the lead after 22 minutes, Wesolowski running in to score from 10 yards after Clarke-Harris had headed the ball across the face of the goal.

Bradford equalised after 35 minutes when a 30-yard pass from Matthew Dolan found on-loan winger Adam Reach in the penalty area and he scored with a low shot into the far corner.

Oldham regained the lead on the stroke of half-time when Gary Harkins drifted in from the left before sliding the ball into the path of the unmarked Clarke-Harris to score from the edge of the six-yard area.

The visitors increased their lead after 58 minutes when Clarke-Harris ran on to a long through pass from left-back Jonathan Grounds and held off the challenge of defender Andrew Davies before shooting low into the far corner for his second goal of the match.

Skipper Gary Jones pulled a goal back for Bradford in stoppage time with a low shot from the edge of the box when the ball rebounded to him after substitute Mark Yeates had hit the post, but it was too little, too late.

Bradford manager Phil Parkinson said: "We came into the game in high spirits after taking four points from away matches at Leyton Orient and Coventry and we played well on our travels, but we lacked energy in our performance.

"Defensively we looked vulnerable, which isn't like us. It was too easy for them to score and we have got to do better as a team.

"It is always difficult when they score and have that extra man in midfield, which gives them control of the game, but we didn't give ourselves a chance with the goals we conceded. They were first to every ball all over the pitch.

"The second goal just before half-time was a key moment.

"The atmosphere in the ground changed when that went in and it was a deflating moment.

"However, at 2-1 you have a chance, but the third goal gave us a mountain to climb.

"We have not performed well in our last two home games and we looked a bit tentative in our play. We have got to get our confidence back."

The result cut the margin between Bradford and the relegation zone from nine to six points and Parkinson warned his side were not safe yet.

He added: "Everyone keeps talking about next year and safety, but I know anything can happen in football.

"It is very much in our own hands and we have a better goal difference than most teams, but I want to get some more points on the board and finish in the top half of the table."


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