A DELIGHTED Chris Wilder described Oxford United’s goalless draw with Gillingham as one of the best results during his time in charge.
Saturday’s result was an important step forward for a United side again ravaged by injuries and was the first time npower League Two leaders Gillingham had dropped points on the road this season.
It owed much to a fantastic individual display from goalkeeper Ryan Clarke, who made four terrific saves.
But the U’s came into the game strongly in the second half and had chances to take all three points late on.
Wilder was thrilled with the result, considering the selection problems he faced.
In addition to six players out injured, Jake Wright, Alfie Potter and Deane Smalley passed fitness tests on Saturday morning, while Adam Chapman, Peter Leven and Harry Worley were in the squad but not match-fit.
Wilder felt, given the context, it was a terrific response for a side thrown together at short notice.
He said: “We’re not winging it, but we’re just asking the players to give it a go.
“It’s a big result psychologically because we’ve been hurting.
“There are players in there who aren’t ready, we’re chucking players in – it’s not excuses, it’s the facts.
“I’ve never known a situation like this in any team I’ve played in or managed.
“We’ve played better in games, but if you put everything in the pot, that is one of the best results I’ve had in my four years at the football club.
“People will think ‘you’re kidding me aren’t you?’ because it’s a 0-0 draw with Gillingham, but if you add everything up – what we’ve been dealt with and who we’re playing – I do believe that.”
The injury list grew longer during the game, with Damian Batt and Smalley forced off.
The pair will be assessed today, but Wilder admitted it was a concern.
He said: “I’d like to think if it was just a little niggle they would have stayed on, so it must be quite serious for them to come off.
“It’s difficult making substitutions at the moment, I need a crystal ball to see what’s happening.”