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Heroic ’keeper earns his glass of champagne

Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 24 February 2014

Athletic’s number one Mark Oxley was the outstanding performer as Athletic saw off Gillingham on Saturday.

Gary Harkins was the scoring hero in the 1-0 win over Gillingham — and picked up a bottle of bubbly as the sponsors’ man of the match.

But it was goalkeeper Oxley who stood out, producing his finest display of the season to preserve a clean sheet at Boundary Park.

The on-loan Hull player (23) believes he is growing into his role as he racks up the games in his first full season as first choice.

“I feel I am growing more and coming for more crosses,” said the player, who had only seven matches of Football League experience before becoming an ever-present in the Athletic ranks.

“The thing for me is getting that game time. It’s a massive thing for a goalkeeper. Hopefully I can keep improving week by week.”

Athletic boss Johnson agreed with Oxley that he is improving: “He’s got better as the season has gone on and now he is looking like what he could be.”

Connor Brown was substituted during the second half as a precaution after taking a knock to his hip.

Should he not recover in time for tomorrow’s return clash with MK Dons, Johnson could be tempted to move into the loan market.

The most obvious replacement, Genseric Kusunga, still has a game of his suspension to serve.

Captain Korey Smith (knee) is rated as unlikely to feature: “He is 60-40 against,” said Johnson. “He is such an important player for us and we don’t want to bring him back too early. The injury has got to heal.”

Athletic’s manager also said that striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, an ever-present in the matchday squad in 2014 up until Saturday, was dropped and not injured.

Comments

Some posts on here have in the past have had a pop at Oxley but I have to say the three points gained in this match are down to him..I hope he carries this forward for the rest of the season. But what would help is the Strikers (If the can call them that) to start doing what they are paid to do and put the ball in the back of the net !!...'Come on Oldham'

his best game for oldham it was well done.

Firstly, well done to Oxley.

IN MY OPINION, I don't think he's good enough, clearly a good shot stopper, again commanding his area there were a few scary moments.

LJ said keepers need to earn points during the season. Agreed, however I think he's still in deficit. He may have cancelled out last weeks howler but he started the Gills Game with the same error & were lucky not to go down 0-1.

Oxley will be gone come May so let Rachubka fight for a contract, or we'll need another NO.1 next season.

Well it was good to see young Oxley finally leave his line and collect the crosses. It makes such a difference to the defence when you know your keeper is trying to boss his box. Well done! Keep at it.

Not ANOTHER loan? Why was Cliff B let go then?

 

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