The D3D4 Football Correspondents give you their match reports on the action that they have witnessed this weekend…
MATCH REPORT: Morecambe 0-0 Grimsby Town
Brian Spoils Contest at The Globe.
Grimsby Town travelled from the eastern coast of England to the western one today to face the teeth of the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia’s bastard offspring Storm Brian as it lashed the Lancashire resort with wild winds from the Irish Sea. Conditions such as these tend to always mitigate against skilful football but that might help the hosts at least after recent performances. Unusually, Manager Jim Bentley has publicly berated his players for lack of effort and commitment in their last two matches, putting it on record that only goalkeeper Barry Roche has actually `earned his wages’ in recent times. The Shrimps were woeful during midweek when, after a bright start, they just laid down and died against fellow-strugglers Port Vale and never got to grips with Vale’s outstanding centre forward Tom Pope, who Jim has tried and failed to sign-up for Morecambe in the past. They faced a Mariners side today which arrived in eleventh position in League Two, ten places and eight points better off than today’s hosts. So far this month, Russell Slade’s team have won two and drawn one in the league but their overall form seems to be patchy: capable of winning at Accrington Stanley one week but then losing at home to Wycombe another.
With rain and a very strong wind lashing the players, both sides won corners during the opening three minutes. The home team fashioned the first decent earlyish chance when Adam McGurk took a shot from a free-kick conceded by Scott Vernon which took a slight deflection off the Grimsby wall and forced visiting goalkeeper James McKeown to make a difficult but successful save after eight minutes. With Danny Collins looking commanding at the back for Grimsby, the effect of the weather was evident when James Berrett took a swing at the ball on the edge of the Shrimps’ penalty area but the wind carried it nearer to the corner flag than to the goal after about a quarter of an hour. The best move of the game so far, however, arrived after 23 minutes when Morecambe played the ball out from the back and a clever move involving Luke Conlan and Vadaine Oliver resulted in an instant shot from McGurk which McKeown did very well to push round the post for a corner. The closest anyone came to scoring so far was in the twenty-seventh minute when first Andy Fleming had a shot blocked by the Grimsby defence and Oliver narrowly blasted the rebound wide when he might have done better. With Alex Kenyon heading an excellent cross from Michael Rose only just wide with about a half an hour on the clock, the Shrimps were dominating the play. Conlan made excellent progress up the Morecambe left after 37 minutes and his cross was met with a towering header by Oliver which skimmed the bar. But try as they might, the Shrimps could not break the deadlock and went in at half time knowing that the second period would see the visitors with the advantage of a gale at their backs.
In reality, the gale slackened at times during the second period and the contest continued to be more or less end to end. For Morecambe, Rose tried his luck from all of 35 yards after 68 minutes and forced the visiting goalie into another good save at the expense of a corner. Ten minutes later, the Grimsby goalkeeper again pulled-off another good save low down to keep out Steven Old’s excellent trademark header from a further corner. At the other end, Town’s best chance of the entire game came when Luke Summerfield took a long-range shot after 74 minutes which was deflected high and wide of the target for a corner which came to nothing. And nothing was the final score: nil each. For the home team, this was a vastly improved performance than that they put on against Port Vale four days ago and with a bit of luck, they could well have netted all three points. Grimsby – having failed to force Barry Roche into a single save throughout the ninety minutes – will be pleased to head back to Cleethorpes with a point. With rapidly-improving Vale winning away from home again and Forest Green also taking all three points at Stevenage, the draw sees Morecambe fall to twenty-second in League Two, just two points ahead of the team they will face in Gloucestershire in their next match, next Saturday. Grimsby’s single point sees them slip to twelfth.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 5 Steven Old; 2 Aaron McGowan; 6 Dean Winnard; 24 Michael Rose; 14 Luke Conlan; 8 Andy Fleming; 4 Alex Kenyon (C); 15 Aaron Wildig (Y) (21 Elliot Osborne 73 mins); 28 Adam McGurk (7 Garry Thompson 69 mins); 9 Vadaine Oliver.
Subs Not Used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 10 Adam Campbell; 29 Callum Lang; 16 Sam Lavelle.
Grimsby Town: 1 James McKeown; 2 Ben Davies; 5 Nathan Clarke (C); 6 Danny Collins; 3 Paul Dixon; 7 James Berrett; 19 Luke Summerfield; 27 Sikiri Dembele (20 Diallang Jaiyesimi 69 mins); 10 Samuel Isaac Jones (Y) (9 JJ Hooper 79 mins); 25 Martyn Woolford; 21 Scott Vernon.
Subs Not Used: 30 Ben Killip; 12 Zak Mills; 14 Karleigh Osborne; 18 Tom Bolarinwa; 29 Jamille Matt.
Ref: Graham Salisbury.
1527 (462 from Grimsby)
words Roger Fitton, D3D4 Morecambe Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Cheltenham Town 1-0 Lincoln City
Cheltenham Town returned to winning ways in Sky Bet League Two after two defeats in a row as Danny Wright scored the only goal against Lincoln City at a wet and windy Whaddon Road.
The 33-year-old gave the Robins a deserved lead after half an hour when he brought down a Brian Graham header and coolly placed the ball into the bottom left hand corner for his fifth of the season.
It was the second game in a Lincolnshire double header for the hosts after a midweek 3-2 defeat to Grimsby Town but a much improved performance against the Imps helped Gary Johnson’s side to all three points.
Jordan Cranston had the game’s first attempt when he intercepted a clearance and drove into the box but failed to open his Cheltenham account as his shot was bravely blocked before Billy Knott failed to trouble Scott Flinders with two wayward efforts for Lincoln.
After an even ten minutes of action Mo Eisa nearly broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion when his dipping half volley from outside the box was tipped wide by Josh Vickers in the Imps’ goal after good play from Kevin Dawson.
Attacking the noisy home end Gary Johnson’s side then had another great chance to score after Danny Wright controlled Flinders’ long goal kick and Carl Winchester fired just over the crossbar on the 25 minute mark.
The home side were really starting to turn the screw as Eisa danced through two challenges and curled an effort just wide of the right hand post as Cheltenham began to take control of the game and the first goal finally arrived after half an hour.
Danny Wright showed great ball control and strength to hold off two Lincoln defenders after a Brian Graham flick on before rolling a low shot into the bottom corner past the sprawling Vickers to give the hosts a deserved lead.
The visitors were creating most of their chances down the right hand side but a series of crosses failed to find Matt Green and Josh Ginnelly in the middle as the Cheltenham defence held firm.
Graham and Wright were linking up well in their first appearance together and after the latter controlled brilliantly, Graham hit a skimming low shot wide of the left hand post.
Danny Cowley’s side started the second half stronger as Josh Ginnelly pounced on a poor back pass by Carl Winchester but missed the target by inches after smashing the ball just wide of right hand post.
Ten minutes after the interval the lively Mo Eisa cut inside and curled another effort high and wide before good play in midfield allowed Taylor Moore to deliver a teasing cross which was admirably dealt with by former Cheltenham loanee Rob Dickie.
Ginnelly then missed another big opportunity as the match started to open up, heading a close range effort straight at Flinders. The on-loan Burnley winger was then replaced by striker Ollie Palmer as Cowley made his first change.
Tireless pressure from Kevin Dawson then forced Vickers to hurriedly clear the ball but his attempt cannoned off the back of Eisa and into the travelling Lincoln supporters.
A succession of Lincoln corners eventually led to Flinders making a splendid reaction save to push Matt Green’s header over the bar as the visitors grew more confident approaching the 70th minute mark.
Morrell was then dispossessed outside the penalty area and Jordan Maguire-Drew hit a swerving volley that was again brilliantly denied by man of the match Flinders who was determined to keep a clean sheet.
Just a minute later Eisa saw a deflected shot parried wide and again in the 88th minute as the game threatened to burst into life with added time looming.
As storm Brian battered the stadium the hosts managed to weather the Lincoln onslaught, even managing one final attempt through Kevin Dawson before the whistle blew to confirm a much needed victory for the Robins.
words Luke Saunders, D3D4 Cheltenham Town Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Milton Keynes Dons 4-4 Oldham Athletic
Richie Wellens continued his impressive run of form by extending Oldham’s unbeaten run to 6 in an exceptional 8 goal thriller at Stadium MK. Nevertheless, he will have come away disappointed after the Latics failed to hold on to their 3-1 half time lead.
It didn’t take long for the excitement to begin, after just 7 minutes a superb counter attacking move involving 10 passes found Eoin Doyle in the box who played the ball across goal to Craig Davies who placed the ball into the bottom corner – a touch from MK goalkeeper Nicholls wasn’t enough to keep the ball out of the net.
Oldham held the lead for just 10 minutes. Milton Keynes’ midfielder Alex Gilbey capitalised on an Oldham defensive error to smash past Johnny Placide. An all too common occurrence from the Oldham defence.
A series of Latics attacks went unrewarded but in the 39th minute a brilliant 40 yard run from winger Queensy Menig saw the Dutchman cut inside and play the ball to on-form Eoin Doyle who flicked the ball across goal for the keeper to tip onto the post and in. The first half excitement hadn’t finished yet though, 6 minutes later Davies found Doyle in the box who played the ball against defender Joe Walsh who knocked the ball into his own goal. The Latics looked good value for their lead at half time.
Milton Keynes came out second half strongly and in the 56th minute and earned a free kick after a Peter Clarke foul. Upson stepped up to smash the ball against the underside of the crossbar and in – a fabulous strike. Captain Peter Clarke made up for his error 7 minutes later when a placed Jack Byrne free kick found the skipper 10 yards from goal and he volleyed home in front of the jubilant travelling supporters.
At 4 – 2, Oldham started to sit back and the hosts found some energy and started to force some attacks. They were rewarded for this persistence and after just 2 minutes on the pitch, Nesbitt found the net in the 82nd minute after a good low cross found him close to goal and he smashed his shot against the post and in. Wellens introduced Ryan Flynn in an attempt to tighten the midfielder and provide some needed energy for the Latics but Milton Keynes continued to push forward. In the 89th, Upson found the net again; passing the ball into the net after his initial shot smashed against the cross bar. Heartbreak for the nearly 700 travelling Oldham fans.
The home side couldn’t find a 5th goal and to a sigh of relief from travelling supporters, the final whistle went after 6 minutes of added time.
— PB (@pbfl81) 21 October 2017
FULL TIME: MK Dons 4 (Gilbey 17’, Upson 56’, 89’, Nesbitt 82’) – 4 Oldham Athletic (Davies 7’, Doyle 39’, Walsh OG 45+1’, Clarke 63’)
Milton Keynes :Nicholls, Walsh, Wootton (Seager 69’), Upson, Cisse (Ariyibi 69’), Aneke, Golbourne, Agard (Nesbitt 80’), Ebanks-Landell, Brittain, Gilbey.
Subs not used: Sietsma, Williams, Lewington, Tshibola.
Oldham Athletic: Placide, Dummigan, Clarke, Bryan, Hunt, Byrne, Fane, Gardner, Menig (Nepomuceno 70’), Davies (Flynn 85’), Doyle.
Subs not used: Ruddy, Wilson, Gerrard, Omrani, Obadeyi.
Referee : Anthony Coggins
Attendance: 9,312 (694 visiting supporters), although I’m very sceptical that the stadium was almost a third full.
words Chris Stringer, D3D4 Oldham Athletic Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 1-1 Notts County
Following heartbreak midweek, Carlisle United returned to Brunton Park once again to face Notts County. Keith Curle’s men were aiming to oust Kevin Nolan’s in spite of their differences in positioning in the table and despite them having their own heartbreak recently as they were beaten on the road.
The Cumbrians welcomed back Richie Bennett from suspension after a number of weeks, but controversially, fellow striker Shaun Miller had been fined by the FA after his ‘successful deception of a match official’ on Tuesday night; that prompted an appeal from the club that was rejected, meaning the man who’d really improved in recent weeks and become integral to the side, was banned for two-matches. The Magpies had former Carlisle defender Shaun Brisley in their team, who had moved between the clubs back in summer. The suspenseful S. Miller. coming out of the starting eleven for Hallam Hope was the home side’s only change (meaning there was still no Danny Grainger), whereas the away side returned to a more recognisable starting eleven including the returning Brisley.
There was no sharp start for Carlisle but they managed to damage some County confidence with some of typical slick attacking play orchestrated by the in-form Jamie Devitt. The Magpies’ strike partnership Shola Ameobi & John Stead’s presence was being dealt with by the Cumbrians’ centre-back partnership of Clint Hill & Gary Liddle. Discussions on the pitch were rife from Nolan’s side but Curle’s side were getting the crowd behind them and a goal was coming. Jack Bonham in the home goal did well to smother a number of away chances and James Brown at right-back for Carlisle had the better of County’s defence.
Just after the halfway mark in the first-half, Nicky Adams’ long ball from the right found Devitt at the back post. The skilful Irishman’s header found Reggie Lambe who connected with the ball to find Hope on the line to sneakily finish into the back of the net. There were a few skirmishes in both boxes but not too many clear-cut opportunities. That opener got the Brunton Park crowd going and a quiet spell for the remainder of half ensued. That was all in spite of the fact that possibly the lead could have been bigger.
As the weather dampened and the wind picked up, Notts gained momentum. The game became filled with long balls and half-chances were more frequent as Carlisle sat back & lost their stride, now devoid of any tempo. There was an expected equaliser after some good build-up play via the away midfield. The home defence was in knots as they couldn’t pick up any runners as well as Bonham being caught out of his goal in hope of getting the ball. The move was eventually finished off coolly by John Stead in the penalty box following Terry Hawkridge finding Matt Tootle, who was bounding on from right-back.
Bennett and Steven Rigg were ushered on by Curle and Nolan made substitutes of his own too; with Lewis Alessandra entering play. The two sides both were content with a point each by the look of the rest of the second-half. Ameobi, who did hit the post late on, and Bennett were focal points for their respective systems and were relied on too heavily for a goal. The final whistle blew after both men flirted with a couple opportunities for a winner that came to nothing.
That result leaves the pair in the same position as they began the day. An abundance of respect was shown from both teams to their opposition; meaning the outcome of the match seemed fair. Now that the season is in full flow, it’s time for both Carlisle & Notts to show what they’re made of.
words Nathan Ridley, D3D4 Carlisle United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Oxford United 3-3 Rotherham United
Oxford United and Rotherham played out a very entertaining 3-3 draw at the Kassam Stadium in a game that summed up everything that is both good and bad about the Oxford team this season. It also allowed the home fans to glimpse one of the sides that are currently in the play-off places in League One, a side that are free scoring and one that could be an end of season rival if the U’s are to progress in to that coveted top six
The near 7,500 crowd were thoroughly entertained on a blustery afternoon as storm Brian (zero points for imagination to whoever named this one) hit parts of the country. Oxford lined up with only one change to the side that drew with Charlton on Tuesday with young Canice Carroll replacing the injured Ribeiro and it was Carroll’s headed clearance that fell to Joe Newell who rifled the ball past Eastwood for the opener after 20 minutes.
The lead was short lived as Jack Payne, one of Oxford’s star performers this season, played a neat one two with Ruffels and then struck the ball home as the Millers defence retreated like a vegan from a sausage.
Ruffels himself then gave Oxford the lead after swivelling inside to strike home before Ledson had a penalty saved by Rodak following a handball by Will Vaulks.
Oxford were on top now and were putting The Millers under a lot of pressure and it paid off when Nelson scrambled home a third from a corner to give the Yellows a 3-1 lead.
Rotherham have been frustrating on the road and the Ian Bradley, the D3D4 Rotherham Correspondent, would have been banging his head on the table at this point but Warne’s men clawed one back before the break through Ryan Williams and came out in the second half showing why they were 4th heading into this game.
The second half was a blur of chances and half-chances with Rotherham playing a more direct style to the Yellows. Keiffer Moore had been well marshalled by Nelson and Mousinho but he struck the top of the bar on 67 minutes. It was a warning of things to come as with 12minutes remaining the big striker was picked out perfectly by the excellent Williams to drill home from 8 yards, making it 3-3 to cap off an excellent 6 goal thriller.
It was a great advert for League One football and a great test of pace-makers but probably 3-3 was a fair result leaving Oxford trailing Rotherham by just two points in the table after 15 games. Many Oxford fans will feel that this was two points dropped but the last few performances have been highly encouraging and I, for one, am really looking forward to the rest of the season. COYY
words James Richards, D3D4 Long Suffering Oxford Fan
MATCH REPORT: Scunthorpe United 2-1 Peterborough United
Having only gained 2 points from the previous 15, the Iron desperately needed a win to put right the recent poor run of form. However, based on the performance in the first half, it was looking likely that Scunthorpe were to go on waiting for that elusive victory. Peterborough occupied the majority of the possession with Grant McCann’s side playing some excellent football at times. Though the away side struggled to turn their control of the game into clear cut chances, you have to say that if they had gone into the break with the lead it would have been a fair reflection of the first half. Beyond that there is little to note of the first 45.
A half time substitution of Hakeeb Adelakun for Duane Holmes brought some desperately needed intensity to Scunthorpe’s play. The Iron played some excellent attacking football for the first 5 minutes and so were unfortunate when Peterborough took the lead against the run of play. A corner ball delivered in from Maddison was met by Andrew Hughes who was able to volley it past Gilks to give Posh the lead. A well taken finish but it has to be noted that goals conceded from set pieces are becoming a prevalent problem for Graham Alexander’s side, and one that needs addressing quickly.
Whilst Scunthorpe did attack the game more in the second half, Peterborough remained comfortable and looked to be taking all three points from the game; that is until the last 10 minutes. The equaliser came from Adelakun’s run down the right wing as he placed a perfectly judged cross into the box which resulted in Lee Novak levelling with a powerful header. 1-1 with 10 minutes remaining. Try for 3 points or sit back in hope of a draw was now the decision to be made and fortunately, but perhaps surprisingly given recent performances, the Iron opted to continue this newfound attacking play. Just as Adelakun proved a game changer, so too did new signing Simon Church who was brought on just prior to the equaliser. In the 88th minute an under hit backpass from goal scorer Hughes was intercepted by Church who found himself brought down in the box by keeper Jonathan Bond. Josh Morris stepped up to take the resulting spot kick and neatly placed the ball in the bottom left corner to ensure a victory for Scunthorpe United.
Peterborough will wonder how they didn’t manage to take anything from this game having being in control for so long. As for Scunthorpe, an emphatic 10 minutes does not disguise the many problems that still blight the team. However, if the attacking style of the last 10 minutes is carried forward then hopefully this victory will act as a catalyst and get the season back on track.
Final Score: Scunthorpe United 2-1 Peterborough United
Scunthorpe United: Gilks, Clarke, McArdle, Wallace, Butroid (Church), Holmes (Adelakun), Ojo, Bishop, Morris, Madden (Van Veen), Novak.
Peterborough: Bond, Shephard, Taylor, Baldwin, Hughes, Da Silva Lopes (Miller), Anderson (Chettle), Grant, Edwards, Maddison, Marriott.
words Bradley Mell, D3D4 Scunthorpe United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Coventry City 0-0 Colchester United
Before every game now I boo and jeer the Sky Blues, saves me having to do it at the final whistle! Sorry for being sarcastic but this team I support is bad for your health and sanity. They seem hell bent on frustrating us supporters watching on with poor finishing as once again our so called strikers couldn’t find the net. Colchester were there for the taking, but the City just can’t finish off decent moves. The Ricoh Arena is a 32,000 seated stadium but with yesterday’s crowd of 7,149 withstanding strong winds whipping around the ground, the atmosphere at times does reflect the football being played, a bit dull and flat.
The Cov fans try hard to get behind the team but even the most vocal fans yesterday thought to themselves why bother as the players don’t hear or aren’t that bothered?
Luckily we still are solid in defence and do deal well with attacks from the opposition but upfront they couldn’t hit a cows backside with a banjo! Up next is a tough away trip to the league leaders Luton Town, who are ruthless at Kenilworth Road with an awesome 24 goals scored, so we will see just how good our defence is when the Hatters are surging forward? Then again the Sky Blues are such a strange side this season it wouldn’t surprise me if they nicked the win. Some City fans already want our manager out but at the moment I’d stick with him, what’s the point at keep dismissing managers, how about the players taking responsibility?
All we ask for is for some goals being scored and to convert chances being created, surely that’s not much to ask for is it?
What was that quote by my favourite ever footballer Jimmy Greaves : ” Football is a funny old game. ” How true are those words?
I think Greavsie meant football can change in an instant and can throw up shocks and twists and turns. So you have to try and be positive and we’re still in the top ten of the division. So the only way is up then!
words Kevin Halls, D3D4 Coventry City Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Fleetwood Town
Graham Turner peers down on proceedings on the pitch at the Monty from his lofty position in the West Stand (sorry, The County Group Stand as it has now been re-commercialised). ‘The Boss’ has pride of place on the “Spirit of ’79” banner, which has adorned the back of the stand for a long while, celebrating the bond that was forged by a team that were labelled pre-season no hopers, who stunned all before them to become third tier champions in 1979.
Yesterday in the wind and rain, Salop drew into some of the “Spirit of ’79” to record their first ever victory over a stubborn Fleetwood Town side. Toto Nsiala’s 89th minute header was enough to see Salop consolidate their position as league leaders against a side who parked their bus firmly in the eighteen yard box looking for a point.
In truth it was a frustratingly scrappy game, caused in the main by the arrival of Storm Brian and his strong winds and rains prior to kick off. Town had the best of the game in both halves though. Whalley and Rodman both tested Cairns as did Junior Brown with a long range shot and a header in the first period.
With the wind against them in the second half Town rallied. Rodman saw two snap shots scrambled clear after Cairns flapped at Whalley’s deep cross, then minutes later Abu Ogogo saw his volley fly inches wide.
That was it in terms of chances until the impressive Toto Nsiala rose highest to loop a well timed header towards goal from Whalley’s deep corner. Time seemed to stop as the ball headed towards the goal finally beating Jordy Hiwula’s jump on the line and nestling beautifully in the net to wild celebrations in the stands, on the pitch and the touchline.
The celebrations at the final whistle alone were reminiscent of the famous “Spirit of ’79”. The fans are starting to believe the ending to this incredible 2017 season can be similarly reminiscent of that legendary ’79 campaign.
Shrewsbury: Henderson; Bolton (Payne, 72), Nsiala, Sadler, Brown (Beckles, 75); Whalley, Ogogo (c), Godfrey, Nolan, Rodman; C Morris (John-Lewis, 84)
Subs not used: Dodds, Gnahoua, B Morris, MacGillivray (gk)
Fleetwood: Cairns; Eastham, Pond (c), Cargill; Coyle, O’Neill (Grant, 63), Dempsey, Schwabl (Hunter, 75), Bell; McAleny (Hiwula, 63), Cole
Subs not used: Burns, Rodgers, Sowerby, Neal (gk)
words Ian Evans, D3D4 Shrewsbury Town Correspondent