It is match report time again from a thrilling Tuesday night of action…
MATCH REPORT: Oldham Athletic 1-0 Milton Keynes
A freezing February Tuesday night. Champions League on the telly. Milton Keynes in town to face Oldham in a League One relegation battle. It’s a fixture that commonly delivers the lowest crowd of the season although the 3,381 turnout is nearly 1,000 up on some recent midweek games against MK.
Lining up in red, the visitors started well but Oldham had the ball in the net first when Kean Bryan nodded home a free kick only to be denied by an offside flag.
Not to be outdone, Oldham took the lead minutes before half time when skipper Anthony (cousin of Stephen Gerrard found the top corner with what proved to be a decisive header.
The pitch was making good football difficult and despite a fair share of possession MK failed to hit a shot straight all night. A frustrating second half saw numerous good Oldham moves end with an offside flag against Craig Davies, more than one call looking harsh.
Aaron Holloway wasted a perfect chance to double the lead in the dying minutes, one on one with the keeper he simply ran the ball into Nicholls hands when a finish looked easier.
The lack of quality on display from either side was notable, especially having seen an enthralling 4-4 draw in the reverse fixture a few months back. But that first half goal proved enough.
Latics pull out of the relegation zone again. And probably have more than enough about them to stay out of it for the remainder of the season.
words Dave Stringer, Oldham Athletic season ticket holder
MATCH REPORT: Rotherham United 3-1 Oxford United
Oxford were overwhelmed by a Millers side that are now 12 games unbeaten at the New York Stadium this evening to make it back to back defeat for the U’s. It was always going to be a tall ask for a young Oxford side who have one of the most leaky backlines of recent years that has seen them concede 12 in the last five games with four defeats in that time.
It is worrying times for Oxford who are slipping badly at the worst stage of the season. The yellows are now closer to the relegation zone than they are the play-off positions and without a manager.
It was supposed to be a new era for Oxford this season after Michael Appleton left to join Leicester during the summer but it appears that this season will end up being a step backwards from last year with Pep Clotet sacked after defeat at home to Bury on January 20th.
Oxford United were frankly outplayed by Rotherham and fell behind to a fine Forde strike after just 7 minutes that left Oxford with it all to do. Rob Dickie was making his first start as Martin was dropped from the line-up but it was a baptism of fire for the centre back.
It was 2-0 on 29 minutes when Newell’s shot was parried out by Eastwood only for Towell to hit home the rebound. Eastwood had made a fine save from Michael Smith prior to this as the big front man looked certain to score with a header.
The game looked over but the 360 travelling fans were given hope when James Henry pulled one back two minutes before the break and he nearly made it 2-2 but for an excellent stop from Rotherham keeper Rodak to give Fazakerley something to work with for the second half.
Oxford came out for the second period looking to try and push forward but just seven minutes in Smith grabbed another for the Millers to pretty much seal it.
The ex-Bury man drilled home after excellent work from Forde on the right hand side. The midfielder beat two Oxford men before hitting a low cross that left Smith with a simple finish.
Rodak made a brilliant stop from Ledson with 8 minutes to go to prevent a grand stand finish and the Millers saw the game out comfortably.
Up next is Plymouth Argyle who have now won their last four in a row and have only lost once in 13 games….oh good.
words James Richards, D3D4 Football
MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood Town 1-2 Shrewsbury Town
Prior to last nights game Shrewsbury Town had never won at Fleetwood. After last nights game they had banished that particular ghost and for good measure returned to the summit of League One.
Shortly after his arrival Paul Hurst stood on the touchline on the Fylde coast with a face like thunder. His team were being humiliated, on the way to a 3-0 drubbing and competing for absolutely nothing on the pitch. There were no smiles for journalists in his post match interview, just strong sound bites. “Not acceptable” he said, “I felt sorry for the fans that travelled” he said, “We had too many that decided it’s too much hard work” he said. Well if he could have fast forwarded fifteen months at that moment in time and if one of the journos managed to show him the table they may have got a wry smile that night.
Shaun Whalley’s first half, added time header and a first Nathan Thomas goal for Town sandwiched Paddy Madden’s equaliser to move Salop back to the top of League One.
The performance was the exact reaction Hurst called for after Saturday’s defeat. Town controlled large parts of the game but on the brink of half time would have been ruing several missed chances. That mindset changed though, right on the whistle when the imperious Thomas swung in a cross that Whalley attacked with vigour and determination to powerfully head home.
Town were in search of a killer second after the break, but it was the hosts who dragged themselves back into it. The worrying trend of corners not being dealt with by Town continued and after a little bit of pin ball Madden stabbed home from close range, it was a bitter blow on a bitter night for those of a Salopian persuasion.
Town knuckled down, Bryn Morris and Ogogo went close but it was loanee Nathan Thomas who capped off his excellent game after replacing the injured Alex Rodman in the first half who poked home the winner with just eight second half minutes to go to spark more wild scenes in the Salop end.
It was a result that was more than deserved on the basis of play but it was the fantastic level of performance that put to bed the disappointment of the Plymouth defeat, the facts of the matter are that this team react and react quickly to disappointments. Maybe the occasional starving will help this side during a tough run to the line.
Cairns, Jones (Coyle, 78), Eastham, Pond, O’Connor; Diagouraga (Hiwula, 56), Dempsey, Sowerby (McAleny, 56), Grant, Madden, Hunter
Subs not used: Neal, Burns, Oliver, Schwabl.
Henderson, Hendrie, Nsiala, Sadler, Beckles, B Morris (Godfrey, 85), Whalley, Ogogo, Nolan, Rodman (Thomas, 35), C Morris (John-Lewis, 89)
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Lowe, Bolton, Payne.
words Ian Evans, D3D4 Shrewsbury Town correspondent