The D3D4 correspondents give their match reports from the weekend games in League One & Two…
MATCH REPORT: Blackburn Rovers 2-2 Oldham Athletic
2,294 Oldham fans made the trip to Blackburn and were treated to an incredibly entertaining game showcasing some high quality from both sides.
If anyone needed to be sold league 1 football then they need only be shown this game.
Oldham looked up for this game, playing direct football aided by the loud support of the travelling fans.
In the first minute, there was call for a penalty as striker Craig Davies went down in the box – the referee waved it away. Just a moment later, Davies had a shot saved – the high tempo start really did set the game up nicely.
Though Blackburn looked to be organised and solid, Oldham were really on fire in this first half, as Rovers had to work to contain the visitors. The rare attacking opportunities that Blackburn had were well defended by the struggling Latics defence (which actually looked rather sturdy on this occasion).
— Chris Stringer (@stringer_oafc) February 10, 2018
After 26 minutes Oldham were rewarded for their hard work thanks to some magnificent skill from Duckens Nazon. Goalkeeper Johny Placide punted long and Nazon did well to control the ball before beating two players (thanks to some smart footwork) and beat Raya. The 2 Haitian players were clearly on the same wavelength.
Oldham didn’t sit back after this goal and continued to press – corners and slick attacking football were aplenty. Nazon doubled the Latics’ lead after 39 minutes – proving true on his comment that he is a “killer” in front of goal.
Gardner did well to find the striker on the edge of the area and he smashed the ball into the bottom left hand corner. Oldham fans were delighted with their team’s performance as the visitors walked in 2 goals up at half time.
Oldham started the second half much as they finished the first and continued to take the game to Blackburn. Both Nazon and Dummigan went close.
Blackburn, however, began to slowly show why they’re 3rd in the league as they upped the tempo and showed their quality. In the 63rd minute, captain Charlie Mulgrew struck a wonderful free kick that flew into the top left-hand corner.
The nerves were felt in the Oldham end, as the noise at Ewood Park intensified. The home fans got behind their side and they bombarded the Latics defence which, for the most part, stood firm.
However in the 70th minute Rovers got themselves level again when Bradley Dack teed up Adam Armstrong who finished past Placide. In the 79th minute, Armstrong almost gave the home side the lead when a fierce shot that was well stopped by the Latic’s keeper. Things got even more nervy for the visitors when in the 82nd minute Moimbe saw his 2nd yellow for a silly foul on Elliott Bennett. This seemed to actually give Oldham a boost – though Blackburn looked the better side, Oldham were more determined to keep them out. A gasp from the Oldham fans could be heard a mile away when 8 minutes was held up by the fourth official but the Latics defence continued to be stubborn. There was almost jubilation when Aaron Amadi-Holloway hit a 95th minute shot just wide. A few late corners gave the home side hope, but it didn’t come for them and the match finished 2-2.
There was certainly no shame to Oldham in losing the two-goal advantage to Blackburn when considering their second half performance and that they played the last 10 minutes (+ 8 minutes injury time) with only 10 men. Both sides showed immense quality – Blackburn look well placed to seal promotion, whilst Oldham look far too good to be in 21st.
Stewards often have a bad reputation with football fans. Today, however, Blackburn stewards showed their class – making a real effort to move my father to a more suitable seat at half time after he’d struggled to stand in the first half. I’d like to thank them for their help – in particular Mr Boyd.
FULL TIME: Blackburn Rovers (Mulgrew 63’, Armstrong 70’) 2-2 Oldham Athletic (Nazon 26’, 39’)
Oldham Athletic: Placide, Dummigan, Gerrard, Bryan, Moimbe, Fane, Gardner, Byrne (Obadeyi 72’), Pringle, Nazon (Holloway 72’), Davies (Wilson 85’).
Subs not used: De La Paz, Benyu, Nepomuceno, Benteke.
Blackburn Rovers: Raya, Nyambe, Williams, Smallwood (Armstrong 46’), Graham, Mulgrew, Bell, Payne, Dack, Downing (Travis 46’), Bennett.
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Samuel, Caddis, Evans, Conway.
Attendance: 13,665 (2,294 visiting supporters)
words Chris Stringer, D3D4 Oldham Athletic correspondent
MATCH POSTPONED: Morecambe vs Chesterfield
Only the Premiership Matters, Apparently…
I was working this morning but took time off to watch the BBC’s Football Focus at lunchtime and then listened to Talksport’s coverage of the North London Derby as I carried on slaving away. At about two, I donned my thermal gear, put on an extra pair of socks and then set off in the drizzly greyness to drive the eight miles from my house to Morecambe’s West End. There, I parked at Regent’s Park and walked over the adjacent railway bridge towards the Globe Arena. It seemed unusually quiet but there was a trickle of other supporters approaching the ground. Only as I actually reached the pub next to the venue was I stopped by a fellow supporter – who had just made exactly the same journey – and told that today’s match against Chesterfield was off.
I went to the club shop and collected my tickets for this contest and the next one due at this venue next week against Forest Green Rovers. Here, I was told that the match was postponed at ten this morning by the Referee in time to stop a wasted journey all the way from Derbyshire by the Shrimps’ opponents today. So why didn’t I – and many other of my fellow Shrimps fans -know about it? Football Focus started two hours after the postponement had been announced; Talksport’s coverage from Wembley started even later. But it didn’t merit a single mention by either of these broadcasters. I suggest that the Trades Description Act should be invoked here. Football Focus should be re-named to describe what it actually is: Premiership Obsession. Talksport should be similarly re-labelled: TalkPremiership.Yes, folks – as readers of this site have probably already realised, Only the Premiership Matters, Apparently…
So the following introduction which I had already written went in the bin:
If ever a league football match was a six-pointer, the one played today at the Globe Arena was precisely such a thing. Visitors Chesterfield have been battling against relegation from the EFL from the very first day of this season, having been demoted from League One as the worst team at the end of last term. Jack Lester’s team arrived in twenty-third position in League Two, five points above seemingly doomed Barnet but just two points behind nearest rival Forest Green Rovers. Only Crewe lay between the Shrimps and this unholy trio of strugglers right in the basement of the Football League. Morecambe – with FGR the next visitors to the Lancashire seaside next Saturday – were thus almost as desperate for points on the board today as their opponents in order to establish some sort of buffer – however precarious – against their fellow-strugglers.
For the home team, the omens were not entirely bad. They had already overcome the visitors on their own patch last October, winning 0-2. However, Manager Jim Bentley pronounced himself `as flat as a pancake’ after this victory. “I’ve never had to change the formation as often as I did during the second half” he said at the time and bemoaned his team’s apparent lack of belief in being able to manage a game when in a winning position. The win, he suggested, had more to do with Morecambe goalkeeper Barry Roche’s determination not to beaten by his previous club than it had to do with anything else…
By the time I had got home again, the surviving League programme had reached half time. As far as League Two was concerned, FGR’s fixture at Newport was also the victim of a waterlogged pitch. By the end of play, Barnet’s win at home over apparently failing Notts County closed the gap between them and Chesterfield to just two points. Crewe only managed to draw and remain level on games played with Morecambe but a point behind them. Finally, Port Vale seem to be slipping back into the mire – their 5-1 thrashing at Cheltenham puts them within grasp of the Shrimps, just three points above them but having played a game more.
words Roger Fitton, D3D4 Morecambe FC correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 1-1 Colchester United
A drab draw was the result in the battle of the CUFCs in just as lacklustre conditions as pressure mouths on both clubs.
It was always going to be task to get over the heartbreak of last weekend’s dramatic 4-3 loss to Wycombe for Carlisle but Colchester were also challenging for the play-off places.
Following a scrappy counter attack goal from Courtney Senior to open the scoring for Colchester just before half-time, Carlisle play-maker Jamie Devitt levelled the scores with a real pearler of a free-kick with not long to go.
Notable team news was that captain Danny Grainger was missing for the Cumbrians due to injury and the U’s star man Sammie Szmodics was on the bench once again.
Making his home debut for Keith Curle’s side was former Barnet creative midfielder Jamal Campbell-Ryce and opposition gaffer John McGreal’s own new signing Brandon Comley (after making his loan move permanent) returned to Brunton Park as the rain sprinkled down on an overcast afternoon.
The first half was a slow burner with a lack of chances. For the home side, their best opportunity cane when Campbell-Ryce whipped in a cross from the right towards fellow new addition Cole Stockton who connected in similar fashion to last weekend when he scored but the outcome wasn’t the same as Sam Walker kept the ball out with a fine save. The goal came when a corner was cleared by the away side into space and when Kurtis Guthrie came through in the penalty area, goalkeeper Jack Bonham saved low but Senior was on hand to finish into an empty net as the break ensured soon after.
The second half was slightly more eventful, an uneventful start was ended when Devitt struck the bar from an earlier free-kick but was only getting ready for more. When substitute Reggie Lambe began to make an impact, he was tripped around 25 yards out in the centre for a free-kick and when the Irishman again stepped up he curled the ball into the top left-hand corner to equalise. There were no big opportunities for the Cumbrians other than when on-the-day captain Gary Liddle tested Walker from close range. It was more the U’s that had the game by the scruff of the neck and Mikael Mandron showed great feet and patience as he danced his way into space of the right of the box and smashed the post leaving Bonham helpless before the clash petered out.
The result in the end was fair but abysmal decision making and tactics at times from Carlisle meant Colchester didn’t really have to break a sweat.
Attendance: 4,006 
Referee: Ross Joyce
Man of the Match: Gary Liddle
words Nathan Ridley, D3D4 Carlisle United correspondent