The D3D4 correspondents give you their take on the weekends action starting at Boundary Park…
MATCH REPORT: Oldham Athletic 1 – 0 Blackburn Rovers
Richie Wellens made history today. He has become the first Oldham manager to win the first 4 games of his tenure – bolstering his bid for the full-time position. The Latics made the most of the international break last week by showing a high-tempo performance to battle against what is, at least on paper, a strong Rovers side.
The first half saw chances fall to both sides in what was a free-flowing match. Doyle went close after an inch-perfect ball from Hunt found the Irishman who had his placed shot well saved. It was Blackburn who really should have taken the lead after 27 minutes. Bennett raced past the Latics defence and even managed to round goalkeeper Johnny Placide but the Rovers number 31 inexplicably only managed to find the side-netting.
The deadlock at half-time seemed fair with chances at both ends.
The Latics came out second half looking very energetic. Doyle played a good ball to Davies who had his shot saved. Whittingham came close for Blackburn; smashing his shot against the crossbar before Dummigan cleared away. This marked the start of a strong 15 minutes from Oldham as the crowd really got behind the team. Oldham saw 2 good chances go begging; a smart shot from Byrne went a few inches wide whilst a teasing cross just evaded the boot of on-form striker Craig Davies.
In the 79th minute, the best chance of the match fell to Blackburn as a good corner was met by a solid header, but young defender Rob Hunt was there to clear off the line. Oldham broke away following this clearance through Ousmane Fane, who was chopped down at the halfway line. This was during a period of play where the Rovers team appeared to be frustrated and gave away several cynical fouls.
Oldham’s tenacity paid off and they were rewarded for their strong and confident performance in the dying embers of the game. The ball fell to FC Nantes wonder kid Queensy Menig who beat his man and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the area. Chants of ‘Richie Wellens’ filled the stadium – Oldham fans clearly showed their backing for the interim boss.
It makes it 3 wins out of 3 in the league for Latics (4 in 4 in all competitions). Even with Paul Scholes in the running for the job, it really is difficult to argue against giving the job to Wellens who has really got the team playing entertaining football. Meanwhile, Blackburn continue to perform below expectations and really need to find some consistency if they’re to get out of League 1 any time soon.
FULL TIME: Oldham Athletic (Menig 90’) 1-0 Blackburn Rovers
Oldham Athletic: Placide, Dummigan, Clarke, Bryan, Hunt, Gardner (Omrani 87’), Fane, Byrne, Nepomuceno (Menig 67’), Davies, Doyle (Gerrard 90+3’).
Subs not used: Ruddy, Wilson, Flynn, Obadeyi.
Blackburn Rovers: Raya, Williams, Smallwood (Dack 68’), Samuel, Whittingham, Mulgrew, Ward, Caddis, Antonsson (Graham 57’), Bennett, Conway (Chapman 57’).
Subs not used: Leutwiler, Nyambe, Harper, Gladwin.
Referee: Darren Handley
Attendance: 7,784 (3,350 visiting supporters)
words Chris Stringer, D3D4 Oldham Athletic Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Plymouth Argyle 1-1 Shrewsbury Town
Salop were frustrated on the south coast against a Plymouth side who although low on confidence gave the only unbeaten EFL team a massive scare.
Town had all the possession in the first period but it was the hosts who carved out the clearest chances mainly through their set piece threat.
Songo’o headed well over from a corner despite being in oodles of space, before Carey forced Henderson into a decent save a short while later. For all the possession Town failed to really test the ‘Green Wall’. Whalley shot high and over before ex Shrew Antoni Sarcevic fluffed his lines at the back post, shooting over when it looked easier to score. The half ended with Carey seeing his freekick given the trademark Henderson shovel treatment.
Plymouth took the lead fifteen minutes into the second half, moments after Shaun Whalley had seen a glancing header well saved. Lynchpin Carey broke through the midfield and smashed a rising drive in off the post from 25 yards. Deano had no chance, it was a fine strike to give the bottom side hope of an upset.
It wasn’t to be though as twenty minutes later Whalley sent a superb 20-yard shot into the far corner, out of the reach of goalkeeper Kyle Letheren to clinch a point and ensure Town make the long journey home thirteen unbeaten. Jervis and Lenell John-Lewis both missed good chances to clinch all three points for either side late on, but a draw was probably a fair reflection of the game.
Town have now thrown in a couple of average performances by the standards they have set this season away from the Monty, against Walsall and rock bottom Plymouth. The question will now be can they return to form against Bristol Rovers at the Monty on Tuesday?
Letheren; Sawyer ©, Songo’o, Edwards, Taylor-Sinclair; Fox; Diagouraga, Sarcevic (Jervis, 45), Carey, Grant (Blissett, 86); Fletcher (Bradley, 69)
Subs not used: Cooper (gk), Lameiras, Skokolis, Wylde.
Henderson; Bolton, Nsiala, Sadler, Brown; Godfrey (C Morris, 64); Whalley, Ogogo ©, Nolan, Gnahoua (Rodman, 64); Payne (John-Lewis, 90)
Subs not used: MacGillivray (gk), Beckles, Dodds, B Morris.
words Ian Evans, D3D4 Shrewsbury Town Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Peterborough United 0-1 Gillingham
Saturday 14th October 2017, English Football League 1, GAME #12
PETERBOROUGH UNITED 0-1 GILLINGHAM ATT: 5,257
Posh line-up: Bond, Shephard (Kanu 75), Baldwin, Taylor, Hughes, Grant (Da Silva Lopes 59), Forrester, Edwards, Maddison, Miller (Lloyd 75), Marriott
The dreaded winter slump I am afraid to say has started early for the Posh, however we are now in full swing of it as they crashed to a third successive league defeat to early relegation candidates and managerless Gillingham.
Within his programme notes, Grant McCann stressed as I predicted within the last ‘A View From the Posh’, that the break and no game within the International break came at an invaluable time. Sadly from a Peterborough stand-point I couldn’t see much fruitful development which could have been implemented over this said period.
Gillingham looked the better side in the first half and could have had two early on if their finishing had been a little more accurate. Posh tested Gills keeper Holy, once in the first half as Gwion Edwards was trying everything to pull Posh out of the doldrums.
Ten minutes before the break Gillingham’s pressure paid off, with Lee Martin striking a long-range effort past the despairing dive of Jonathan Bond and in-off the post. Once again Posh came out better in the second half and had several opportunities, including a sumptuous free kick effort from Jack Marriott in which hit the cross-bar.
Posh seemed to be playing minus a formation and minus any tactical variance, all the play seemed laboured within the middle of the park, with hardly any attention or movement on the flanks. Instead of playing the ball on the ground, Boro decided to play it high to smaller forwards against a tall and sturdy back-line of Gillingham. This defence included Zakuani (former Posh favourite), it was therefore obvious within this situation who won out of defence/attack.
Posh were greeted by rightful jeers at full time, Gillingham deserving of only their second victory of the season, but serious work needs to be done to rectify the current Peterborough United slump.
words Ian McFarlane, D3D4 Peterborough United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Rotherham United 2-0 Scunthorpe United
Back to New York Stadium for my team the Millers game with last season’s play off semi finalists Scunthorpe.
The Millers were without influential midfield duo Lee Frecklington & Darren Potter through injury, in came Will Vaulks & Brighton loanee Richie Towell as replacements.
The Iron were the first to threaten & striker Paddy Madden wriggled free in the area & his low effort was well saved by Richard O’Donnell in the Millers goal. Rotherham responded well however & a goalsaving tackle from Rory McCardle stopped Millers top scorer just as he was about to shoot. Towell was next to test Iron keeper Matt Gilks from range but Scunthorpe were also looking threatening with debutant Andrew Crofts & Madden again going close. On 37 minutes the Millers went ahead with a goal out of nothing, an Anthony Forde square ball reached Vaulks who took aim from 30 yards & whipped in a screamer with the ball bending away from Gilks who had no chance of saving it. The Iron responded with a great ball from Duane Holmes releasing Josh Morris who forced O’Donnell into another fine save.
Half Time Millers 1 Iron 0
Scunthorpe carried on where they left off by storming onto the attack at the start of the second half with Morris again forcing a fine O’Donnell save & Ojo shooting just wide soon after. Iron full back Conor Townshend was next to threaten with a vicious 20 yard drive which hit the post. The Millers started coming back into the game however & on the hour McCardle headed a Kieffer Moore effort off the line to keep the deficit to one. The Millers Ryan Williams then forced Gilks into a fine save with a 25 yard effort before the Millers made it 2-0 on 71 minutes when a fine run by striker David Ball was finished off with a Moore tap in. The games last fewminutes continued to produce chances at both ends, Towell hitting a long range effort just over & O’Donnell saving well from Holmes & Crofts.
Full Time Millers 2 Iron 0
Rotherham were no where near their best today but their togetherness & team spirit along with a superb performance by keeper O’Donnell saw them bag the three points against an unlucky Scunny side who were the best side to come to NYS so far this season & will surely be up there again come May.
words Ian Bradley, D3D4 Rotherham United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Chesterfield 0-2 Morecambe
The hosts were rock-bottom of the League Two table before the match with only five points on the board this term and just one win out of twelve matches so far. In September, they lost five of seven League Two matches and drew the other two and have already lost their only league fixture of this month, 2-1 at Lincoln City seven days ago. Gary Caldwell’s brief tenure at the helm this year ended in mid- September when interim boss Guy Branston was only allowed two games (both of which Chesterfield lost) before he also received his marching orders. Since then, former striker Jack Lester has been given the job of trying to keep the Spireites in the EFL.
If he has even a slight chance of doing this, the club need to start picking up points rapidly and particularly against the teams hovering just above them in the relegation zone. It seems ridiculous – with Xmas stock still beginning to appear in the shops – to talk about crunch matches, relegation and six pointers with the season barely two months old. But clashes like the one at the Proact Stadium today could dramatically improve the fortunes of whichever team came out on top. Morecambe went into the game just three positions higher than Chesterfield but with double the amount of points: ten. With Manager Jim Bentley and Assistant Ken McKenna both putting pen to paper this week on contracts which could see them remain at the Globe Arena until June 2020, the Shrimps have the consolation that whatever new horrors await off the field, there is at least continuity and steady pairs of hands on it.
The match started in bright sunshine with Chesterfield lined-up in a 4-4-2 formation whereas Jim Bentley’s men were in a 4-3-3 shape. The visitors carved-out the first chance of the contest after five minutes with Adam McGurk setting up Andy Fleming for a shot on goal which was well held by Joe Anyon. The hosts soon troubled the Shrimps’ rear-guard though and after eleven minutes, Chesterfield Old Boy Barry Roche did well to palm away a long-range shot from Kristian Dennis and even better to recover to push the follow-up effort by Chris O’Grady away from goal only for Dennis to head the cross which was immediately swung towards him over the bar.
At the other end, though, the opening goal arrived after just over a quarter of an hour. McGurk – newly-returned from injury today – took a free kick from all of 30 yards out and Anyon seemed to lose the flight of the ball as it went beyond him to his left and straight into the back of the net to put his team in a position they have known only too well in recent times: losing again. The home team huffed and puffed a bit after going behind but did not test their former goalkeeper after his heroics early on until the forty-second minute. As the home supporters started to become restive, Dennis collected the ball from a Morecambe corner and found Robbie Weir, whose 25-yard thunderbolt beat Roche all ends up but slammed against the woodwork and bounced harmlessly away. At the other end, however, away Captain Alex Kenyon had already headed narrowly wide with ten minutes of the half still scheduled to play and Aaron Wildig was played-through into the clear four minutes later only for Scott Wiseman to make a last-ditch tackle on him as he tried to lob the goalkeeper, who managed to grab hold of the ball before anything worse happened for the home team. So the half ended with the team from Lancashire a goal to the good and more grumblings of discontent among the fans clad in blue.
These grumblings got much louder within two minutes of the re-start. Luke Conlan went on a run down the left wing and crossed the ball to Garry Thompson, whose header at the far post flew past Anyon into the net after being deflected by McGurk to put the Shrimps two goals to the good. Chesterfield’s response was to immediately try and pull a goal back and Louis Reed played in Dennis who steadied himself before taking a shot which Big Baz again performed miracles to palm away from the goal. As Chesterfield tried desperately to get back into the game, Roche used his legs this time to stop an effort from Bradley Barry with almost an hour played. As the match seemed to be becoming Chesterfield New Boys versus Chesterfield Old Boy, Baz showed the home crowd yet again what they have been missing when he first of all brilliantly thwarted Joe Rowley’s close-range shot with his feet after 66 minutes and then saved an on-target header from Ian Evett just a minute later.
Embed from Getty Images
At the other end, however, Morecambe were still striking on the break and they advanced up the left wing again after 71 minutes for Vadaine Oliver to pull the ball back to Wildig, whose effort was again blocked by the Spireite defence. A minute later, the same player saw his shot parried by Anyon only for substitute Michael Rose to hit the rebound well wide of the target. With Roche again saving first from Dennis, who shot straight at him after 75 minutes and then from substitute Jordan Flores’ volley a minute later, the visitors were beginning to cling-on to their lead against an increasingly dominant, albeit desperate team. But try as they might, Chesterfield could not break through and at the end of the game, they faced the ignominy of their sixth defeat in a row in League Two. With Port Vale showing signs of recent improvement, only the poor form of fellow-strugglers Forest Green Rovers seems to offer Chesterfield hope of not being marooned alone at the bottom of the EFL.
They remain on five points whereas the potentially critical win pushes the Shrimps up to twentieth position in the division with thirteen points. Surprisingly perhaps, Jim Bentley pronounced himself `as flat as a pancake’ after the game. “I’ve never had to change the formation as often as I did during the second half” he said 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 Barry Roche’s determination not to beaten than it had to do with anything else. But a win is a win and I for one would doubt that he would like to swap positions with his opposite number tonight: on this showing, Jack Lester’s task to keep his club in the Football League will need nothing less than a miracle if he is to succeed.
Chesterfield: 12 Joe Anyon; 5 Scott Wiseman; 6 Ian Evatt; 9 Kristian Dennis; 10 Chris O’Grady (19 Diego de Girolamo 60 mins); 15 Joe Rowley; 24 Andy Kellett; 25 Louis Reed; 26 Jak McCourt (17 Connor Dimaio 49 mins); 27 Bradley Barry; 28 Robbie Weir (C) (Y) (23 Jordan Flores 64 mins).
Subs not used: 34 Brad Jones; 4 Sam Hird; 18 Delial Brewster; 32 Matthew Briggs.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 5 Steven Old; 2 Aaron McGowan; 22 Max Muller; 14 Luke Conlan; 8 Andy Fleming; 4 Alex Kenyon (C) (Y); 7 Garry Thompson (24 Michael Rose 72 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig (21 Elliot Osborne 89 mins); 28 Adam McGurk (18 Rhys Turner 60 mins); 9 Vadaine Oliver (Y).
Subs Not Used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 17 Mitchell Lund; 16 Sam Lavelle; 10 Adam Campbell.
Ref: Darren Drysdale.
4489 (120 from Morecambe)
words Roger Fitton, D3D4 Morecambe Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Accrington Stanley 1-0 Coventry City
At the Ricoh the home fans are staying away due to their dislike of the owners, which is understandable, and many much prefer to save their money and follow the Sky Blues on their travels instead. This way their money won’t go in to the hated owners pockets.
So on Saturday at the wonderfully named Wham Stadium, an impressive 1,494 away following outnumbered the home support. Tickets for the City’s away fixtures are quickly snapped up, and as the allocation isn’t that great seeing we’re in League Two where the attendances are small, many Cov fans miss out. The manager Mark Robins has praised the fans for their away support saying it gives the players a lift, but on Saturday their performance didn’t lift the supporters, as they came away disappointed again as Stanley picked up all three points.
Frustratingly the Sky Blues once again took an age to get going, they huff and puff not really taking control on the pitch, and only come alive in the second half of games. So it wasn’t a surprise when the home team scored on 14 minutes with a well worked move and goal. Thankfully our defence is solid and that goal sparked them into life and they then limited Accrington to the odd chance. But as solid is the defence at the back upfront they just do not put away enough goals through chances created. They carved open 14 attempts but only 4 of those hit the target. So they do need to sort this problem out pretty soon especially on the road.
You look at the top 3 teams in the division Notts County, Exeter City, and Luton Town, they all are scoring goals especially the Hatters who banged in seven on Saturday against Stevenage, and have already scored an impressive 30 times in only 13 matches, while we have only managed a measly 14 in the same number of games. So yes our defence is granite like but upfront it’s powder puff, and if we want to get out of this division the goals for column needs to look better and match those above us.
Up next is a home game on Tuesday night verses newcomers Forest Green. They lost at home on Saturday to Newport County 0-4 so on paper the City “should” pick up three easy points? But will FGR do a “Mourinho” and park the bus? Or will they look at the Ricoh Arena a 32,000 seated stadium, with its lush green pitch, and think this is like a mini Wembley, so let’s enjoy it and play some football instead of defending in numbers? All will be revealed tomorrow night.
words Kevin Halls, D3D4 Coventry City Correspondent