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: Oldham 3-2 Coventry City
The ‘Shezurection’ is well and truly on, as Latics moved out of the relegation zone with an entertaining victory over bottom side Coventry City. John Sheridan’s men were probably second best over the course of the ninety minutes, but took their chances to grind out a crucial three points.
For a more in-depth post-match report, including opinions of an away fan, have a look at my Post-Match Verdict from Saturday’s win: https://joeoafc.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/oldham-3-2-coventry-city-post-match-verdict/
Sheridan had highlighted the importance of winning home games as he masterminds a second successive great escape, and Saturday’s game had added significance as it provided an opportunity to take points off a relegation rival. In truth, Latics looked like they knew defeat would be a setback and were nervous after their early lead was immediately cancelled out.
After Aaron Holloway went off injured, a makeshift front two of Ryan McLaughlin and Ryan Flynn were busy but ineffective. It’s a shame because both had been working well with Holloway in the early stages. After Michael N’Goo was brought on, McLaughlin improved and was rewarded with a fine goal.
Personally I’d have brought on Tope Obadeyi or N’Goo when Holloway went off – we needed a bit more presence upfront. Paul Green came on instead and did well, but we’d started brightly and had the chance to really get at Coventry.
Sheridan’s change to a proper 4-4-2 in the second half improved the team, and the two goals scored soon after were probably deserved. Peter Clarke’s bundled goal was a total gift, but McLaughlin’s driving run and composed finish was anything but luck.
I was impressed with the three home debutants – Chris Taylor, Aiden O’Neill, and Rob Hunt. Taylor isn’t the fast winger he was when he started his career at Latics, but whenever he got involved he was effective. Hunt and O’Neill were quiet in the first half, but both were key to the second half success with driving runs and good link-up play. Hopefully all three will be key to a successful survival bid.
As for Coventry, I was surprised at their league position. Luck went against them, and they could have found themselves 3-1 up at one stage. Both goals were very well taken, and they’re certainly not dead and buried yet if Saturday is anything to go by.
LATICS PLAYER RATINGS (OUT OF 10):
Connor Ripley – 6.
Tudgay’s goal was a great strike, but straight above Ripley. He looked more nervous than usual, but made some important saves, especially when tipping George Thomas’ shot onto the post at 1-1.
Brian Wilson – 5.
Sheridan has nicknamed the full-back as Brian ‘7 out of 10’ Wilson. Unfortunately, he was shaky against Coventry and gave the ball away often. Saying that, it was his cross that was dropped by Charles-Cook for Latics’ important second goal.
Peter Clarke – 7.
Led by example, again, and was rewarded with a gift of a goal. Finding new ways to describe Clarke’s influence on this season is getting difficult.
Anthony Gerrard – 7.
Another no-nonsense performance from Gerrard, who put last week’s brainless red card behind him. Maybe could have offered more of a challenge to Kwame Thomas for Coventry’s second goal.
Rob Hunt – 6.
Average first half, but improved after the break and linked well with Chris Taylor. Could be a useful signing.
Ousmane Fane – 5.
News that Fane was carrying a knock explains a lot. He didn’t seem to get involved as much as usual, but did well in parts breaking up play.
Aiden O’Neill – 8 (Man of the Match).
Even in the lacklustre first half, O’Neill did well to break up play and win free kicks. In the second half, he led breaks forward and had a couple of shots wide.
Ryan Flynn – 6.
Great cross for Latics’ first goal, but suffered after Aaron Holloway went off. He’s showing the signs of a player coming into form, but has been unlucky with getting a run in the number 10 position over the last few weeks.
Chris Taylor – 7.
Back at Boundary Park, Taylor wasn’t involved throughout, but when he was his contributions were clever. Caused trouble with balls into the box, and could have scored with a deflected effort from a tight angle at 1-1.
Ryan McLaughlin – 7.
Another busy performance, and scored a great goal. Whether he’s on the wing, at full-back, or upfront, McLaughlin will always put in 100% and that’s great to see.
Aaron Holloway – 6.
Nice ball to find Flynn for Latics’ opener, but taken off soon after. His hold up play was certainly missed until N’Goo came on.
Paul Green – 7.
Steadied the ship after Tudgay’s quick equaliser. Tried to support McLaughlin and Flynn upfront from a right midfield position. Had a couple of chances to score too.
Michael N’Goo – 5.
My head says N’Goo is a terrible footballer, but he puts himself about and needs two defenders on him at all times. If he learns how to use his height, he could be dangerous.
Ollie Banks – 6.
Solid performance when he came on, allowing O’Neill to break forward.
John Sheridan – 7.
The game plan in the first half was obviously affected by Holloway’s injury, and bringing Green on possibly stopped the team getting at Coventry. The second-half switch to 4-4-2 proved match winning, though, and the ‘Shezurection’ is on again.