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.
Onto the review…
Matchday Blog: Oldham 2-0 Peterborough United
So that’s two home wins out of two since John Sheridan returned to Boundary Park two weeks ago. This time, goals from Paul Green and Ryan McLaughlin gave Sheridan’s men a deserved victory against Peterborough in front of over 7,000 fans. For once, matchday at Latics felt like what a night at the football should be.
In this new matchday blog, I’m going to look back at the game and rate each player’s performance. For a more in-depth post-match report, including the opinions of an away fan, have a look at my Post Match Verdict from Tuesday’s win.
For the first time in forever, a Latics game was the talk of the town this week. The decision to offer all fans a free ticket to the game was well received and resulted in double the average attendance. It was refreshing to see a bumper crowd at Boundary Park, and the sight of a packed Jimmy Frizzell Stand on their feet wasn’t something I’ve ever associated with home games before!
On the pitch, Latics responded to the lively crowd, and took advantage of a disappointing Peterborough side. A midfield diamond of Ousmane Fane, Paul Green, Ollie Banks, and Ryan Flynn put impressive shifts in to break up play and set the team on the attack. I thought Green in particular deserves credit after poor form under Steve Robinson, but his all round play and cool penalty drove the team on.
Similarly, left back Jamie Reckord had been told he’d never play again under Robinson after an awful start to his Latics career. Admittedly, I wasn’t keen to see his name on the starting XI, but he was solid and worked well with the midfield. So again, credit where it’s due.
Upfront, Aaron Amadi-Holloway held the ball up well and was unlucky not to score with a second half volley. His hold-up play was rewarded with a brilliant assist for McLaughlin to wrap up the three points. I still think Latics need a striker to play off Holloway, but McLaughlin and Flynn were effective alongside the big-man yesterday and could be worth another look in attacking midfield roles.
And of course, at the back the addition of Anthony Gerrard has only strengthened an already solid back line. We always knew the defence wasn’t the problem, but having Gerrard’s no nonsense approach alongside the ever-reliable Peter Clarke and Connor Ripley really does reassure you.
If we’re going to get out of this mess, we might need to take our chances more than we did tonight. We got lucky that Peterborough were far more interested in the foul count than the score, and Saturday’s game against Bradford will be Sheridan’s biggest test yet since returning. But the commitment and effort was refreshing to see on Tuesday, and if that level stays the same we’ll give ourselves a good chance of survival.
As for the free tickets offer – fair play to the club. Chief Executive Mark Moisley said in the week that they could either accept 3000-3500 crowds, or do something about it. They’ve done their bit, and now hopefully both the team and the town will respond. After all, anyone inside Boundary Park against Peterborough can’t have been disappointed with what they saw.
LATICS PLAYER RATINGS (OUT OF 10):
Connor Ripley – 6.
Ripley had nothing to do all game, but when he was needed he was as solid as ever. He worked well with Clarke and Gerrard, and fully deserved his clean sheet.
Brian Wilson – 7.
Very solid performance against potentially tricky wingers. He barely put a foot wrong and worked well with Paul Green on the right side of midfield.
Peter Clarke – 7.
Solid, even if Peterborough offered little in attack. Clarke threatened at corners, with a second-half header coming back off the line. With Gerrard alongside, Clarke even managed a couple of driving runs into midfield.
Anthony Gerrard – 7.
No nonsense, and knew when to clear and when to play it (summed up with his professional booking). His cousin would have been proud of his forward ball to release Holloway for Latics’ second.
Jamie Reckord – 6.
Another solid performance. He played it simple and was rarely beaten. Credit where it’s due after a long spell out of the squad.
Ousmane Fane – 6.
Seemed to lack confidence with some sideways passing, but did his job well to break up Peterborough’s talented attack.
Paul Green – 8 – Man of the Match.
Much improved performance from the veteran, who was everywhere on the night. He supported the defence well, and looked to switch play to the attack line. Very cool penalty at an important time.
Ollie Banks – 6.
Got involved, especially in the second half. His floated set pieces caused trouble, but should have sealed the game when he placed a weak shot straight at Posh keeper McGee in a good position.
Ryan Flynn – 7.
Clever performance from the attacking midfielder, and more what I’d expect of him, especially in the second half. He improved in the second half as he looked to make things happen and close down Peterborough’s defence. A no.10 role could suit him.
Aaron Holloway – 7.
Some good hold up play throughout against a physical Peterborough defence. His second half volley over the bar and assist for McLaughlin is a good sign of things to come.
Ryan McLaughlin – 8.
His central role didn’t work in the first half, despite his deflected shot after being sent free by Banks. After Sheridan moved him wider, though, he immediately put three of four good crosses in and constantly ran at the defence. His deserved goal was a good finish from a good performance.
Michael N’goo and Billy McKay weren’t on long enough to make an impact, but by that stage the game was won.
John Sheridan – 8.
On his first game back on the touchline at Boundary Park, Sheridan made crucial tactical changes at half time. He saw McLaughlin and Flynn were ineffective, and changed their roles. The pair’s direct running in the second half arguably won the game. The midfield diamond was played perfectly, and could be the way forward.