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.
Oldham 1-0 Charlton:
John Sheridan’s made no secret of the fact he’s sacrificing pretty football for results, and his approach paid off again as Oldham pulled off a second consecutive win against Charlton. Ollie Banks scored early on, and Latics defended well to secure the win that lifts the club 3 points clear of relegation.
I’ve reviewed the game, with the help of a Charlton fan, on my blog. Take a look: https://joeoafc.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/oldham-1-0-charlton-post-match-verdict/
After the win against Coventry, and before another relegation six-pointer at Swindon, I was expecting Sheridan to play for a draw in this one and probably get beaten in the process. But Latics did well to get an unlikely three points, in a match they would have definitely thrown away earlier on in the season.
Ollie Banks will get the plaudits for his all-action performance, capped off with a fine goal, but this win was a team effort. Connor Ripley made some important saves to keep out Charlton’s attack, with Peter Clarke and Anthony Gerrard standing firm in front of him yet again. Fullbacks Brian Wilson and Rob Hunt had quieter nights, but faced a tough evening against tricky wingers.
Midfielders Paul Green and Aiden O’Neill continued where they left off on Saturday, protecting the back four – just about – while linking well with the attack going forward. That attack was led by Lee Erwin, recalled after Aaron Holloway’s injury. His hold up play wasn’t as reliable as Holloway’s, but he tried hard and certainly put a shift in.
For me, Erwin looked low on confidence. I was one of his biggest critics under Steve Robinson, but Sheridan seems to have given him strict instructions to stay upfront as a target man which plays to his strengths and will only improve him. If he cuts out the aimless running with the ball that made him so frustrating to watch in the first half of the season, and plays it simple, he could be an effective back-up to Holloway.
Another effective back-up could be Michael N’Goo, whose late cameo took the pressure off the defenders. On Saturday, he looked lost, but against Charlton he used his strength well and ran down the clock. He also set up two late chances for Chris Taylor and Aiden O’Neill. If his improvement from the last game is anything to go by, he’s another that could be a useful player at League One level.
OLDHAM PLAYER RATINGS (OUT OF 10):
Connor Ripley – 8
Earned his 12th clean sheet of the season with some important saves on a busy night.
Brian Wilson – 6
Had a difficult task against Stephy Mavididi and later Tony Watt, but was supported well and kept out the threat.
Peter Clarke – 7
Led by example again, seems to have got even better alongside Ant Gerrard. Could have got a third goal in four games as his header hit the post.
Anthony Gerrard – 7
His no-nonsense approach is exactly what Oldham needed. Dealt well with Josh Magennis’ strength.
Rob Hunt – 6
Like Wilson, had a tough evening, but linked well with the midfield again.
Paul Green – 7
Protected the back four in Ousmane Fane’s absence. Another player who has definitely improved under John Sheridan.
Ollie Banks – 8 (Man of the Match)
Quality finish to put Latics ahead, and did well in a box-to-box role. Probably his best performance yet for Latics.
Aiden O’Neill – 6
Not as involved as on Saturday, but still helped take the pressure off the defence and always looked to push forward. Skied a last minute chance that would have sealed the game.
Chris Taylor – 6
His lay-off found Banks for the only goal, and forced a save from Declan Rudd in the second half. He probably isn’t fully fit, and hopefully his clever touches will pay off when he is.
Lee Erwin – 6
Full of effort, but empty on confidence. Lost the ball a couple of times in good positions, but also held the ball up well.
Ryan McLaughlin – 6
Another busy performance, but ran his only real chance straight into the keeper.
Subs: Michael N’Goo – 7
Much improved from Saturday’s cameo – he put himself about, kept the ball away from Ripley’s goal, and set up a couple of chances. Already a fans favourite.
Ousmane Fane – only on for injury time in the second half, but added another body to the defensive effort.
John Sheridan – 7.
Made three changes, but managed the game well after the early goal. There’s an organisation and character to Latics again – and it’s been rewarded with five wins from eight. Full credit to Sheridan!