Philliskirk proud of battling Latics
6:14am Wednesday 27th February 2013 in © Press Association 2014
Caretaker manager Tony Philliskirk was proud of his players after Oldham's FA Cup adventure ended in a 3-1 fifth-round replay defeat at Everton.
Latics memorably saw off Nottingham Forest and Liverpool under Paul Dickov's stewardship, before the former Scotland international's resignation amid wretched form in npower League One left Philliskirk at the helm for a dramatic 2-2 draw against David Moyes' men.
Everton ensured the run would go no further, with Kevin Mirallas' opener and Leighton Baines' penalty giving them a 2-0 lead. By the time supersub Matt Smith claimed his fourth goal of this season's competition, Leon Osman had added Everton's third to all but secured their status as Wigan's quarter-final hosts. "My feeling is one of pride, first and foremost," Philliskirk said.
"When we went 3-0 down it would have been very easy for people to be thinking it was going to be four or five but I thought we responded magnificently in the second half. Ironically, when they scored the third goal we were probably having our best spell in the game.
"It was disappointing to concede that third but the lads kept going, Matt's got another great goal and I thought we played some smashing stuff in the second half. You never know, if we'd got another one it would have been an interesting end to the game."
Smith - a 23-year-old Manchester University business management graduate who Oldham plucked from non-league obscurity at Solihull Moors in summer 2011 - followed his brace during the 3-2 triumph over Liverpool with a second strike in as many matches against their city rivals.
Philliskirk, who has repeatedly ruled himself out of the running to become Dickov's permanent successor despite three wins from as many league games in charge, stood by his decision to name experienced frontman Chris Iwelumo from the start despite another telling contribution from Smith.
"Chris Iwelumo has been a leader in the dressing room," he said. "We are a very young team and he has been a voice on the pitch. I am not a ranter and raver. Chris has been an integral part of the turnaround in fortunes in the last three or four weeks. It had crossed our mind but lately Matt has been a fantastic impact sub so we decided to go that way."
Everton chalked up their first win of February at the fifth and final time of asking, but assistant manager Steve Round was quick to pay tribute to Oldham's efforts afterwards.
"It was a tough game," he said. "I thought Oldham put a right shift in and pushed us all the way. They were a credit to the manager and to themselves. I thought they really acquitted themselves right and made it very tough. Having said that, I think we matched them for the attitude and then your quality comes through at the end."