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League One

Only way is up for Oldham Athletic boss Lee Johnson

19 April 2014

Oldham Athletic boss Lee Johnson is looking upwards rather than nervously over his shoulder after his side's precious 1-0 victory at Colchester United.

The winner came when Connor Brown's cross was deflected into his own net by Tom Eastman just before half-time at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Afterwards Johnson said his side, now clear of the drop zone, should be setting their sights on a strong end to the season.

"It's a massive result for us," he said.

"Maybe it wasn't sexy football but we defended like Trojans to protect our lead.

"It was tense and we had to soak up a lot of pressure from Colchester.

"But we defended well and our midfield worked their socks off.

"Now we have to look at finishing the season strongly and we can finish close to the top 10, if we do well in our remaining games.

"That would be a real achievement."

Colchester created the better of the chances. Alex Gilbey had their best inside the first three minutes, powering into the area to meet Freddie Sears' corner. However, with the goal at his mercy, he headed over.

Jabo Ibehre should also have done better with another headed effort, nodding straight at Latics goalkeeper Paul Rachubka from Gavin Massey's cross.

The U's continued to have the better of it in the second half. Gilbey saw a long-range effort deflected narrowly over.

Substitute Dominic Vose then unleashed a curling effort from distance that went just wide, while Ibehre tried his luck with a low shot that was deflected narrowly wide of Rachubka's post.

Colchester boss Joe Dunne admitted the defeat was hard to take - but is remaining confident heading into Monday's match at Crewe.

"It was a difficult game to lose and a big blow in terms of trying to survive in this league," he said.

"But we're not down and we're not feeling sorry for ourselves.

"It looks like we're going to have to do it the hard way but we'll go again and with three games to go, we can still get ourselves out of trouble.

"We have to believe that. What would the point be in me sitting here saying we're going to lose our next three games.

"People will leave here today thinking we're down, but they shouldn't feel that way. It's not like we played badly or were pathetic.

"We took the game to them and did everything we possibly could.

"But we switched off mentally for one moment and all of a sudden the ball was in the back of the net.

"Last week everyone did the jobs. This time we switched off."


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