In a series of ongoing match and player reviews, Trust Oldham are delighted to team up with our guest contributor Joe Bray (@_joebray on Twitter, oafc-latics on owtb.co.uk). He posts a full match report on his blog https://joeoafc.wordpress.com with a concise version only available here.
Matchday Blog – Bury
Latics drew 0-0 with local rivals Bury on Saturday in a draw that doesn’t really help either side. Three points would have put survival in our own hands, but with Port Vale holding three games in hand and looking at the run-in, I’m not as confident of survival as I was a few weeks ago.
For a post-match report with the views of a Bury fan, see my regular Post-Match Verdict: https://joeoafc.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/oldham-0-0-bury-post-match-verdict/
As you’d expect from a derby with survival at stake, both sets of fans were up for the game and so were the players. I thought Bury’s following was on the small side considering the distance between Gigg Lane and Boundary Park, and the fact that one point separates the sides. Saying that, the Shakers fans that bothered to make the journey were pretty loud and got behind their team.
Bury chose to shoot towards them in the first half and had the better of the play. Taylor Moore, Paul Caddis, and former Latics loanee Cameron Burgess all had chances, while Ryan Lowe searched for a penalty despite just falling over.
Latics didn’t offer much until the second half, when Paul Green and Tope Obadeyi seemed to drive the team forward. Obadeyi in particular put in a few good crosses but there was nobody on the end of them. Our best chance fell to Aaron Holloway – who had another busy game – who headed down onto the post.
Bury’s attack of Ryan Lowe and James Vaughan were battling all game with Peter Clarke and Ant Gerrard, which made for an entertaining watch. In reality their collective experience probably cancelled eachother out. Vaughan nearly had the last laugh though, as he robbed Gerrard on the byline in the last minute, but super Connor Ripley denied George Miller from his cutback.
A 0-0 draw was probably a fair result, and both teams settled for that after about 70 minutes, but that’s not good enough at this stage. It’s the seventh goalless draw at home this season – ninth overall – and we can’t stay up by relying on Ripley every game.
We’ve got the joint-third best defensive record in the league, so surely John Sheridan has to take a risk on winning and start taking the game to the opposition. I’d start by trying to make Aaron Holloway more effective in the opposition box, and instruct Chris Taylor and Obadeyi to be supporting him more. We played best against Bury when we had them penned in their box after half time, but didn’t make it count.
With tough fixtures coming up, I’m starting to look at various run-ins to see where we can gain an advantage over the teams around us. Port Vale’s three games in hand is a worry, but they’ve still got to pick up points from those. It’s looking like the fourth relegation spot will be taken by either Vale, Bury or Latics, and of those three Oldham have the trickiest set of fixtures.
A point against Bury was probably a point gained rather than two lost. But John Sheridan needs to work his magic again over the last nine games because survival is nowhere near secured yet, and I’m starting to get worried.
OLDHAM PLAYER RATINGS (OUT OF TEN):
Connor Ripley – 7
England’s future number one didn’t have much to do until injury time, when he stuck out a leg to deny George Miller from point blank. Another clean sheet and if he does break Les Pogliacomi’s clean sheet record he’ll fully deserve it.
Ryan McLaughlin – 7
Celebrating a Northern Ireland call-up, McLaughlin did well supporting the attack and defended well. His crucial interception from a James Vaughan cross surely prevented a goal.
Anthony Gerrard – 6
He had a tough afternoon against a good strike partnership, but nearly threw away the point when he was robbed by Vaughan in the last minute.
Peter Clarke – 7
Coped well with Ryan Lowe, and took it all in his stride… again.
Jamie Reckord – 5
Reckord gets a lot of stick, and he’s clearly lacking in confidence. He tried to support the attack but often forgot about the wing-back he was supposed to be marking. Not as bad a performance as some fans were making out, but as soon as Brian Wilson or Rob Hunt are back, he’ll be on the bench again.
Paul Green – 7
Wasn’t involved much in the first half, but seemed to be everywhere after the break. Probably one of the most improved players under John Sheridan.
Ollie Banks – 6
Another who was anonymous in the first half, but tried to make things happen in the second. A few aimless balls, but could have nearly scored just after the break.
Aiden O’Neill – 6
Marked out of the game for large spells, but got involved in the tackling as we’ve come to expect. Great cross for Holloway’s chance, and did well to win a free kick that Obadeyi missed.
Chris Taylor – 5
Taylor constantly left Reckord to defend the left side on his own, and didn’t make much happen upfront. If he hadn’t been at Latics previously, the fans would surely be on his back to actually make an impact on a game. Unfortunately he’s been pretty disappointing since his return.
Tope Obadeyi – 7 (Man of the Match)
Worked well with Holloway again, and created Latics’ best chances in the second half. Looked like he tired towards the end, but was one of the only players to try and make something happen.
Aaron Holloway – 6
Unlucky not to score, and was fairly busy during the game, but for every ball Holloway brought down and laid off, there was another he was outmuscled for and he’d go complaining to the ref. If he learned how to use his strength he’d be a dangerous player.
Ryan Flynn (sub) – 6
Only had ten minutes to make an impact but tried to go forward whenever he could.
Manager: John Sheridan – 6
His first half tactics didn’t work, but whatever he said at half time did. I would have liked to see some subs earlier on and for Latics to push for a winner rather than settling for a draw.
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