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Philliskirk delighted with comeback

Post-match reaction to the 2-2 FA Cup draw between Oldham and Everton.

Last Updated: 17/02/13 at 11:29 Post Comment

Oldham caretaker manager Tony Philliskirk cut a satisfied figure after overseeing his second comeback of the day.

Philliskirk, who was thrust into the Latics hotseat after Paul Dickov's resignation a fortnight ago, looked on from the sidelines as Matt Smith's last-gasp equaliser earned a 2-2 draw and an FA Cup fifth-round replay against Everton.

But hours earlier the 48-year-old undertook his day job of youth team coach against Rochdale in Salford, surroundings far removed from the white-hot atmosphere that greeted David Moyes' side at Boundary Park.

"We drew at Rochdale one-all," he explained.

"It's been a good day, Rochdale are a good team. They're older than us, very good.

"We were losing there and came back to get an equaliser in the second half.

"There were about 20 or 30 there. All the parents of all the boys go and there's one man and his dog walking around the outside.

"From the club's perspective this (the Everton result) is massive.

For me personally, seeing the development of those young players today - you take this any way you like - is as important as seeing that display there."

Philliskirk stepped up to help out with first-team duties and the reserves when three members of Dickov's backroom staff were placed on gardening leave on New Year's Eve.

Those staff are yet to be replaced, leaving him at the centre of a plate-spinning act in the wake of the former Scotland international's departure.

As such, Philliskirk fully appreciates the benefit this evening's result gives to a club struggling amid the harsh realities of an npower League One relegation battle, cutting through the heady dose of FA Cup romanticism.

"Everyone was jumping about around me and I was just smiling to myself," he said of the rapturous scenes that followed Smith's equaliser.

"I'm under no illusions about what it means to the club financially and at the end of the day that's the most important thing.

"Simon (Corney, chairman), I'm sure that he won't like me saying this, has struggled through over the last few years and he keeps the club afloat. He works ever so hard with the board.

"It's troubled times for everybody, there's no money about. The team haven't done that well this year and attendances have fallen.

"All in all, hopefully it generates a feel-good factor, it'll encourage people to come back but, more than anything, it's what that means to the club - another game, at Goodison, possibly on tv again.

"I was talking to everyone this week and said the dream result was a draw. You'd have to ask the board of directors - I turned round and they were jumping up and down more than anybody else."

Having knocked out Liverpool in the previous round, Oldham again had Merseyside opposition reeling when on-loan Reading winger Jordan Obita gave them a 13th-minute lead.

Victor Anichebe ensured Everton were level midway through the first half and they took what appeared to be a decisive lead shortly after the interval, Phil Jagielka heading home Kevin Mirallas' corner.

But Smith, playing his first game from the bench since suffering a shoulder injury during his two-goal display against Liverpool, once again used his physicality to good effect and had the final word.

Moyes paid tribute to Oldham's efforts but felt his men might have put the tie to bed at 2-1, with off-colour striker Nikica Jelavic once again proving profligate.

"I'm delighted we are still in the hat for the cup," he said.

"It is a tough place to come - Oldham made it difficult and I think they deserved to get their replay.

"But then I also think we had great chances to wrap it up when it was 2-1. We missed a couple of big chances to make it 3-1 and we didn't do so.

"But hey, that is what the cup does. Give Oldham credit - they have taken some big scalps in this competition already and they nearly did it again."

Smith's equaliser came from the second of two Jonathan Grounds corners in a frantic finish - both of which Oldham goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis bizarrely appeared to try to punch on his foray forward.

Moyes felt his own keeper, Tim Howard, was impeded from the first set play, but praised his players for how they dealt with Oldham's approach.

"I think there is a foul on the goalkeeper when the first corner kick comes in," he added.

"I think in most games in the Premier League that would be given as a free-kick and it wasn't today.

"Most of our players are used to it (environments like this). Most of the players have been brought up through this level and we warned them and told them - we have played quite a few games like this, and we have lost quite a few games like this.

"So there has to be a bit of credit for how we stuck at it and did the job.

"Other teams have come and it has not happened that way. We did and we'll have a second chance to try to get through."


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