‘Gut-wrenching’: Lee Johnson urges deflated Oldham to ‘crack on’ after penalty shoot-out loss

By Matthew Naylor

Oldham manager Lee Johnson has urged his players pick themselves up again after the ‘gut-wrenching’ penalty shootout defeat against Chesterfield on Tuesday night.

Having reached the northern area semi-final, hopes were high around Boundary Park for a trip to Wembley this year, but for the spot-kick drama.

Anton Rodgers, son of Liverpool manager Brendan, had his penalty saved during a tense sudden death stage to send Chesterfield through to the northern final, where they will meet Fleetwood Town in February.

But Johnson believes that being knocked out of one cup will only help his team refocus ahead of several key fixtures.

“It’s gut-wrenching [to go out on penalties],” Johnson admitted.

“We’ve got to crack on now – we’ve got a big game Saturday and another one next Tuesday so we can’t be too deflated and we’ve got to bounce back starting now.”

Oldham face playoff hopefuls Brentford in League Two this weekend, before an FA Cup replay next week after their previous 1-1 draw with Mansfield left the tie undecided.

Aware of some of his side’s shortcomings, Johnson has left the door open for a change in their attacking impetus if they are to succeed this season.

“We know what we have to do,” said the Oldham manager after last night’s game.

“There’s a lot more that can be done in terms of going forward with us, whether that be to bring someone in or to work extra hard on the plans and the movements.”

Last night, the Latics took the lead midway into the first half through in-form striker Danny Philliskirk, but it was quickly responded to by Speirites’ star Tendayi Darikwa.

Despite Oldham having several chances to regain their advantage, including a late penalty shout, Johnson admitted it simply wasn’t written in the stars for his talented young squad.

“Our play was decent up to a point and then we had a couple of chances we didn’t put away, however as soon as it goes into penalties, it’s a lottery,” said Johnson.

“It’s disappointing that we didn’t get the goal in the 90 minutes.

“I’m so sorry that I couldn’t send the fans home with us in the next round.”

Image courtesy of Sky News via YouTube, with thanks.

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