We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed putting your feet up. Here are the match reports from our correspondents from Boxing Day.
MATCH REPORT: Oldham Athletic 1-2 Fleetwood Town
Fleetwood had never managed to score at Oldham, let alone secure points, before today but their fans will be travelling back to the Fylde coast pleased to have ended a torrid run of form where they have gone 9 games without a win. Following a terrible trip to Plymouth just 3 days ago, Oldham will have been hoping to bounce back – but they were still without top goal scorer Eoin Doyle. There were 4 changes to the side that suffered in that 4-1 defeat – reverting back to the more successful 4-4-2 formation.
The first half showed two sides lacking confidence – neither team could take control of the game. A few half chances for Latics arguably gave them the edge in what was a dull half. Davies went close twice – a misplaced header 5 minutes from half-time really should have given the home side the lead. Neither side could really complain with the score at half time.
The only change at half time was the referee – Mark Heywood was injured and replaced by his assistant. After 50 minutes, Fleetwood capitalised on a defensive mix up and recorded their first shot of the game. Markus Scwabl played the ball across goal for Devante Cole who coolly finished. Oldham very nearly found an equaliser 7 minutes later when Dan Gardner hit a powerful shot just wide. Fleetwood appeared to wrap the game up when a mix up between Byrne and Bryan had a mix up and Cole ran through on goal before playing across to Hunter who finished and sent the 209 Fleetwood fans into raptures.
Courtney Duffus and Ryan McLaughlin were brought on in an attempt to get back in the game and when Amadi-Holloway was brought escaped the Fleetwood defence just to be brought down 25 yards from goal, the Oldham fans thought their luck was in. However Ashley Eastham managed to get away with just a booking. That didn’t stop centre-back Kean Bryan from curling a beautifully struck freekick into the top left corner. Despite a spirited fight in the last 10 minutes from the Latics, their lacklustre performance during the first 80 minutes of the game (and some impressive defending) meant the Cod Army walked away with the 3 points.
Following 2 defeats in a row, Richie Wellens will be concerned with the way Oldham are playing, as both results and quality have evaded the Latics. With January soon approaching, Oldham fans wait with baited breath as to whether the blues can keep hold of Kean Bryan, Jack Byrne and Eoin Doyle as their loan deals come to an end. Meanwhile Fleetwood will be pleased to have caught some luck and put in a solid performance at Boundary Park to put them back into winning ways.
FULL TIME: Oldham Athletic (Bryan 82’) 1-2 Fleetwood Town (Cole 50’, Hunter 67’)
Oldham Athletic: Placide, Dummigan, Gerrard (Duffus 77’), Bryan, Hunt, Fane, Gardner (Nepomuceno 63’), Byrne, Obadeyi (McLaughlin 75’), Holloway, Davies.
Subs not used: Wilson, Clarke, Green, Flynn.
Fleetwood Town: Neal, Coyle, Bell, Eastham, Dempsey, Burns (Pond 81’), Bolger, Glendon, Hunter (Hiwula 87’), Schwabl, Cole.
Subs not used: Cairns, McAleny, Rodgers, Biggins, Sowerby.
Referee(s): Mark Heywood (replaced by Steven Rushton at half-time)
Attendance: 4,578 (209 visiting supporters)
words Chris Stringer, D3D4 Oldham Athletic Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Morecambe 1-4 Nott County
Men Against Boys At The Globe
It is a 290 mile round trip from Nottingham – which I assume is in Nottinghamshire but I’m sure I’ll quickly learn otherwise if I’ve got that wrong – to the north Lancashire seaside where Morecambe is situated. It may as well be a million miles as far as the fortunes of the two clubs are concerned. County have always had big ambitions – remember Sven, Sol et al from a few years back? Now, at long last, they seem to be fulfilling at least some of them. Since appointing Kevin Nolan as their manager in January of this year, the Magpies’ fortunes have gone on a steeply upwards curve. Having already beaten the Shrimps 2-0 at Meadow Lane last September before Nolan was appointed, County have consolidated their position in the top echelons of the table with players such as former Shrimps’ star Lewis Alessandra struggling to get into an already strong first team which includes household names such as Shola Ameobi. They arrived at the Globe Arena in second position in League Two, just four points behind leaders Luton Town. At the other end of the Universe, Morecambe kicked-off against their visitors just two points above bottom of the table Forest Green Rovers and Chesterfield, their companions in the mire at the wrong end of the EFL.
The only hope that Jim Bentley’s team of journeymen, youngsters and players in the twilight of their careers had against a team seemingly destined for League One at the end of the season was that County have actually failed to win in the League throughout December, drawing all of their previous matches. The most notable of these was probably when they came back from 0-3 down at Meadow Lane last Saturday against Cambridge United. Jimbo would also be hoping that his team would do to his fellow-Scouser’s team what they have often done previously against supposedly superior teams. That is: play better than they have been doing against the teams around them at the bottom of the league.
It wasn’t to be. As the teams lined-up before kick-off, County were the noticeably bigger side. Their fluorescent yellow strips probably increased this impression. Once the match started, though, it was men against boys for the first half hour – and, to be honest, throughout most of the game. Notts didn’t seem particularly technically better than their opponents during most of that time. But they didn’t have to be. After ten minutes, the Shrimps needlessly gave the ball away on their left flank. Lewis Alessandra gratefully took off with it and slung a cross over which an unmarked Jorge Grant easily headed past an exposed Barry Roche to give the visitors the simplest of leads. As the home team kept playing the ball long for lone ex-County striker Vadaine Oliver to repeatedly flick on to nobody, the Magpies just had to wait for their next opportunity to come along. It duly arrived after twenty minutes. Goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons took a free kick from his own half; someone in a bright yellow shirt headed it backwards and an unmarked Alessandra duly smashed it past his former team-mate Roche to put the visitors two-nil up. Morecambe actually played better after that and probably shaded the possession for a while. For what it’s worth: and despite the occasional clever patterns and a wild shot by Fleming followed by a header directly at Fitzsimons by the same player, it was worth precisely nothing as far as points on the scoreboard were concerned.
The second half followed a similar pattern although at no point were Morecambe ever as near to being fluent as they had been in the first. You just had the impression that Notts were simply coasting. Garry Thompson – who is older than the opposition’s Manager – had a half chance against his former team after 51 minutes but was unable to shake off two defenders and saw a relatively tame shot easily handled by the visiting goalkeeper eventually. Nottingham scored again after an hour following more sloppy play by the home side. Not for the first time during the game, Steven Old’s header went straight to a visiting player in the shape of Elliot Hewitt on this occasion. He passed to Jon Stead who played-in Grant to put County three–up. Even at this point, it could have been more: Baz had done brilliantly to keep out a header from Grant just four minutes earlier. With the away team treating this encounter as a practice match, Alessandra again came back to haunt his old team after 85 minutes when he found himself unmarked right in the centre of the Shrimps’ penalty area. Baz again denied his first shot with a tremendous reaction save but Lewis slammed the rebound past him to make the score nil-four to the visitors. It could have been eight; ten – god knows how many if County had decided to really go for it. The only solace for Morecambe fans was a sublime goal in injury time for Callum Lang. The young substitute found himself on the left edge of the Notts’ penalty area from his point of view and curled a perfect shot right into Fitzsimon’s top left hand corner.
Overall, however, this was a toothless, disjointed and gutless performance from the men in red. With the New Year almost upon us, the question for most Shrimps’ supporters is: will the club still be in the EFL this time next year? The answer – on the basis of this performance at least – is very definitely only if there are two poorer teams in League Two. Chesterfield and Barnet also lost today and FGR’s game at Exeter was rained off. So Morecambe remain in twenty-second position but for the grace of other team’s marginally worse form. At the other end of the table, a universe and at least 145 miles away, Notts consolidate their berth in second position in the Division with this double over a very poor Morecambe side.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 2 Aaron McGowan; 5 Steven Old; 16 Sam Lavelle; 4 Alex Kenyon (C) (11 Kevin Ellison 66 mins); 14 Luke Conlan; 9 Vadaine Oliver; 8 Andy Fleming; 10 Adam Campbell (27 Luke Jordan 80 mins); 7 Garry Thompson (29 Callum Lang 66 mins) 21 Elliot Osborne.
Subs not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 22 Max Muller; 14 Luke Conlan; 24 Michael Rose;
Notts County: 34 Ross Fitzsimons; 19 Nicky Hunt; 16 Shaun Brisley (33 Pierce Bird 87 mins); 5 Richard Duffy (C)(26 Callum Saunders 78 mins); 23 Daniel Jones; 20 Liam Walker; 4 Elliott Hewitt; 22 Ryan Yates; 10 Jorge Grant; 30 Jon Stead (17 Alan Smith 78 mins); 7 Lewis Alessandra.
Subs not used: 13 Branislav Pindroch; 2 Matt Tootle; 3 Carl Dickinson; 11 Terry Hawkridge.
Ref: Seb Stockbridge.
1947 (lots from Nottingham)
words Roger Fitton, D3D4 Morecambe Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 3-1 Accrington Stanley
In a Boxing Day fixture at Brunton Park for the first time in 4 seasons, two sides who have built up an underlying rivalry over the past 3 seasons met as the second half of the season began.
Polarising managers Keith Curle and Jon Colman are looking at slightly different targets this season but ultimately they believe their sides need to begin the next campaign in the division above after a few frustrating seasons in League Two.
With good form for both teams as of late, there weren’t too many changes in either lineup as United were unchanged (for the third match running) and Stanley made a handful of changes including to their formation to match their opponents’ 3 at the back system.
It was Carlisle who took the lead early on when Jamie Devitt finished with a chip over opposing goalkeeper Aaron Chapman following Hallam Hope capitalising on the referee’s smart advantage during his run and played his teammate in on the right on the penalty area.
Soon after, a carbon copy of the goal was almost created when Hope made an even better run using his speed and strength as he beat numerous men on the right and played a beautiful ball into Devitt who this time chipped over the bar on the right of the box. A flurry of blues chances came in the first half as they dominated but towards the end of the half Accy began to test goalkeeper Jack Bonham and the back line of Carlisle which was made up of the confident Gary Liddle, solid Clint Hill and powerful Tom Parkes. The biggest chance for Accrington came when Devitt played an over-ambitious pass right back towards Bonham from the middle of the park and forward Mallik Wilks had a chance. It seemed an equaliser was coming but Bonham was able to tackle and allow his team to clear their lines.
Once the interval was over, it was a sharp start and nightmare for Carlisle as Accrington were awarded a penalty when Parkes brought down Kayden Jackson just inside the area on the right. It was dispatched well by the prolific Billy Kee with almost the outside of his boot and sent Bonham the wrong way.
The Christmas spirits were dimmed inside most of Brunton Park and it was a long time before Shaun Miller replaced the near mute Richie Bennett up front along with John O’Sullivan replacing loanee James Brown on the right and things changed for Carlisle at last. That came when a hopeful long ball was knocked down by an Accrington man on the edge of the box, the ever-creative and hard-working Reggie Lambe flicked the ball up for S. Miller with his back to goal to brilliantly perform a bicycle kick once he chested the ball up, making it land in the back of the net (for the second time this season) past Chapman who was helpless.
That sent the crowd wild and festive cheer was rife for the blues as they looked to extend their lead and Kevlin Etuhu was brought on to steady-up the midfield for Lambe. When Accy lost the ball up-field after Bonham again rushed out to prevent an equaliser, the hosts had the ball in the final third for a few minutes in which Mike Jones (who was deservedly awarded man of the match for his firing player) hit the post from distance with a shot and O’Sullivan and S. Miller were heavily involved before Hope’s shot deflected into the path of bounding on captain Danny Grainger who struck in a curled effort on the left of the box with his weaker right foot.
A stale yet atmospheric period followed as the match soon was over.
Devitt 11′ S. Miller 78′ Grainger 83′
Referee: Steve Martin
Attendance: 5,404 (238)
words Nathan Ridley, D3D4 Carlisle United Correspondent