Match and Player Review – Sheffield Utd (H), 25/03/17

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 – Sheffield United.

 

If you’d have offered me a point before this game I’d have snapped your hand off. Looking back on the match, the draw was the least Latics deserved. They matched the league leaders, silenced 4,500 Yorkshiremen, and got an important point on the way to safety.

For a more detailed match report, including the views of some Sheffield United fans, see my Post Match Verdict https://joeoafc.wordpress.com/2017/03/26/oldham-1-1-sheffield-united-post-match-verdict/

 

With 4 starters out and a makeshift formation I wasn’t too confident but Latics started the game brightly, and were certainly up for it. Lee Erwin has been like a new player recently, and he was a handful upfront with Tope Obadeyi. Erwin’s cross on the half hour mark produced the first clear chance of the game, but Josh Law couldn’t keep his header down at the back post.

Latics’ midfield three of Paul Green, Ousmane Fane and Ollie Banks were stopping Sheffield United from playing their usual attacking game, and Latics were good value for their half time lead from a really well worked goal that the league leaders would have been proud of.

Fane did well to win the ball, Green did well to slip Josh Law in, and Law’s cross was straight into the path of Obadeyi to convert. So much for not being able to play football on the poor Boundary Park pitch!

After the break, Latics let Sheffield United back into the game. At the time, I thought Jay O’Shea was given too much time to pick his spot from range. Having seen the goal again, it’s a great strike. Ollie Banks and Peter Clarke were arguing at the time, presumably over who should have been closing him down, but there’s no stopping those kind of shots.

The equaliser didn’t stop Latics though, and they continued to cause problems and force set pieces. With some better deliveries and better luck they might have scored a second goal. Instead it was Sheffield United with the best chances to win it, first Billy Sharp fired over after a good move, and then Anthony Gerrard made a great block to deny Caolan Lavery after Ripley denied Sharp.

Overall Latics would have taken a point and might have nicked the win on another day. It’s credit to them that Sheffield United were made to look average despite top scorer Billy Sharp scoring the same amount of goals as the entire Latics team before the game. The Blades will go up, but they weren’t anything special on Saturday.

 

Player Ratings (out of ten):

 

Connor Ripley – 7

A quiet game for his standards, but made the saves when it mattered, especially at the end from Billy Sharp.

Brian Wilson – 6

Looked steady and worked well with Josh Law before he was substituted at half time.

Peter Clarke – 7

A typical Peter Clarke performance. Dealt with the tricky partnership of Hanson and Sharp in his stride.

Anthony Gerrard – 7

No nonsense, and worked well with Clarke to stop Hanson and Sharp from having any real impact.

Josh Law – 7

Took a while to get into the game, but did well up and down the right hand side. Great running and cross for Latics’ goal.

Ousmane Fane – 7

Another squad player who took his chance in the team. Broke up play well, especially leading up to the goal, and did the simple things right.

Ollie Banks – 7

Won the midfield battle alongside Green and Fane. Some wasted set pieces but good display overall.

Paul Green – 8

Before John Sheridan arrived, Green was negative and defensive. Now, he runs himself into the ground and gets everywhere to break up play and look to get the ball forward. Impressive display.

Chris Taylor – 6

In an unfamiliar wing-back role, Taylor was quiet but was much better defensively than he has been recently.

Lee Erwin – 8

Never stopped running, and worked well with Obadeyi. Quality cross for Law in the first half.

Tope Obadeyi – 8 (Man of the Match)

A good goal capped a fine performance. He had the Sheffield United defence worried with his running and direct play. Finally we have a striker who’s looking for knockdowns after long balls.

Subs:

George Edmundson – 7

Dealt with Hanson and Sharp in the same way Clarke and Gerrard did all game, and didn’t look out of place doing it. Possibly his best performance yet in a Latics shirt.

Ryan Flynn/Michael NGoo – Not on for long enough.

Manager: John Sheridan – 7

With key players missing on a poor pitch, Sheridan changed the formation and had his players fired up for this one. He’s got an uncanny ability to get the best out of average players, long may it continue.

 

*Disclaimer – all views expressed are of our guest contributors and not of Trust Oldham. Any queries or feedback, please Contact Us