The D3D4 Correspondents give you their match reports from all the action in both League One and Two…
MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood Town 2-0 Oxford United
Oxford travelled to Fleetwood to try and end the hoodoo of a ground that they have struggled to get any results on in the recent encounters. Up against Conor McAleny, who did so well when on loan with the Yellows last season plus the threats of Devante Cole and Jordy Hiwula and you knew Oxford had plenty to worry about.
Recent performances have been good though and so you could be forgiven for taking some massive chunks of optimism pie with you to the tiny ground in the small Lancashire town of Fleetwood.
Famous for the throat lozenge, fishermans friend, Oxford would leave with a familiar bitter taste in their mouths as they ended up losing to two late goals.
The first half was nothing special and with the wind howling around the ground it made attractive football challenging. It would have been the kind of conditions that former Oxford captain Malcolm Shotton would have relished and he was in the crowd to watch his former side.
Conor McAleny had a couple of half chances before Oxford’s Wes Thomas broke away and forced Alex Cairns into a brilliant save to keep parity. It was good to see Dwight Tiendalli back in the side and he was very impressive in the tackle. If he can stay fit then you feel that Oxford have an excellent player on their hands.
The second half saw Oxford come under increasing pressure. Devante Cole had an effort really well saved by Simon Eastwood and Mowatt did well to block another effort. As Clotet threw on Rothwell and Obika hoping to grab a winner it was clear that the first goal would be vital and with just three minutes left the home side made the break trough.
A corner was not cleared properly and Grant rifled a shot back through all the bodies in the box to find the corner and win it for Rosler’s men.
Now I hate goal music at the best of times but when it is to the tune of a seas chantey then please bring me a bucket and quick! Hearing it once was once too many but for those poor travelling Oxford fans but they were forced to endure it again!
Stoppage time saw The Trawlermen grab a second on the break as Jordy Hiwula tapped home Grants cut back and that was that.
It is the FA Cup up next for the Yellows and a tie against Port Vale. Let’s all hope for another wonderful cup run!
words James Richards, D3D4 Football
MATCH REPORT: Oldham Athletic 2-3 Scunthorpe United
The last time Jack Ruddy pulled on an Oldham jersey, he conceded 5 goals in what turned out to be the John Sheridan’s final game in charge. Following the sad news that Johnny Placide’s mother passed away yesterday, the Scottish u21 goalkeeper was called upon to fill the boots of the very popular goalkeeper dubbed ‘the Haitian Sensation’.
The Latics have been impressive under Richie Wellens so far but a calamitous start made Oldham fans fear for a return of the poor football seen earlier in the season. After just 5 minutes Adelukun picked out Lee Novak in the centre of the box and, despite an initial save from Jack Ruddy, Hopper passed the ball into the open goal. Only 4 minutes later The Iron doubled their lead. A mix up in the box saw Peter Clarke poorly dispossessed and Funso Ojo capitalised to slot Morris through who made no mistake. A shaky defence has been a theme for Latics, but this was particularly seen today as they missed the dominant presence of Placide. Ruddy looked bereft of confidence and a dropped cross and poor distribution didn’t do much to reassure the defence.
Omrani had a particularly poor game for Oldham, with few of his passes finding a blue shirt and the Frenchman made way for Queensy Menig afte just half an hour. The exciting winger brought some much-needed energy into the Oldham team. Eoin Doyle struggled to get going, despite his 10 goals to-date this season. Passes found him in promising positions but he struggled to control the ball on numerous occasions. Towards the end of the half, Oldham showed much more promise. A move built up of 15 passes fell to Dan Gardner who hit just wide. In the 1st minute of additional time, Oldham were rewarded for their renewed energy when Jack Byrne’s corner was headed across goal by Davies and Peter Clarke managed to find the net. Only a minute later, Eoin Doyle went close. 1-2 was a fair score at half time.
It has to be assumed that Richie Wellens gave a fiery half-time team talk as Oldham came out much stronger in the second half and took the game to the visitors. Menig went close from the edge of the area and Davies had a strong shot well blocked – the Scunthorpe defence really did look strong today. On the hour mark Eoin Doyle went close, Menig worked well down the left wing and cut into the box to play the ball across to the Irishman, who had his shot deflected into the arms of the goalkeeper.
Following the late heroics of Tuesday night, Aaron Amadi-Holloway was introduced to the game after 77 minutes and provided an immediate impact by making himself a nuisance for the Scunthorpe defence. His influence was really seen just 4 minutes after appearing on the pitch. Jack Byrne’s freekick was poorly cleared, Holloway used his strength to get to the ball first and headed across goal, where Craig Davies was happy to stab home and complete the comeback for the home side. The match wasn’t over yet and following the Latics affinity for late goals under Richie Wellens, many must have thought the blues would go onto win. The Iron clearly hadn’t read the script though and after another defensive error from the Latics defence where Dummigan failed to clear down the flank, Morris raced down the wing and played a low cross to Holmes who was free to finish. Oldham continued to press forward but just couldn’t find the net. Holloway very nearly found the net in the last minute, but he failed to make proper contact to Queensy Menig’s acrobatic attempt. It just wasn’t to be for Oldham and their 7-match unbeaten run has come to an end.
FULL TIME: Oldham Athletic (Clarke 45+1’, Davies 81’) 2-3 Scunthorpe United (Hopper 5’, Morris 10’, Holmes 83’)
Referee: Scott Oldham
Oldham Athletic: Ruddy, Dummigan, Clarke (Wilson 66’), Bryan, Hunt (Holloway 77’), Byrne, Omrani (Menig 29’), Fane, Gardner, Davies, Doyle.
Subs not used: Gerrard, Green, Nepomuceno, Flynn.
Scunthorpe United: Gilks, Clarke, Wallace, Ojo, Morris, Bishop (Crofts 86’), Hopper (Church 65’), Adelakun (Holmes 70’), Novak, Burgess, McArdle.
Subs not used: Watson, Madden, Van Veen, Butroid.
Attendance: 4,331 (440 visiting supporters)
words Chris Stringer, D3D4 Oldham Athletic Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Rotherham United 1-3 Gillingham
League 1 action this afternoon as Rotherham & Gillingham took to the field at a windswept New York Stadium.
The Millers started sluggishly & Gillingham took the lead in only the second minute as a Billy Bingham corner was headed home unopposed by forward Josh Parker. The game then settled into a pattern of Rotherham having the lions share of possession & Gillingham repelling the attacks quite comfortably. The closest the Millers got to a leveller was a Kieffer Moore header from a Ryan Williams cross in the 38th minute that sailed just over the bar.
HT Millers 0 Gills 1
Unfortunately for Rotherham they started the second half exactly as they started the first, namely conceding in the first 90 seconds, ex Millers loanee Tom Eaves scoring with a diving header from a Jake Hessenthaler cross.
The Millers manager had obviously seen enough at this point, replacing the ineffective Richie Towell & Anthony Forde, replacing them with forwards Jon Taylor & David Ball in order to get back in the game, which they did on 58 minutes when a long Darren Potter ball was expertly controlled & finished by Millers striker Moore who netted his 12th of the season. Cue the Rotherham onslaught? Well not really, a lot of huffing & puffing but the only effort of any note was a rasping Ryan Taylor effort that forced a fine save out of giant Gills keeper Holy. Towards the end of the game Frustration got the better of Millers defender Joe Mattock when a scything tackle on Gills Wagstaff earned him a yellow card & his continued protestations with the Gills players earned him an immediate second yellow card & off he went. Gillingham rubbed salt in the Millers wounds on 86 minute when another Bingham corner was headed in by Parker for his second of the afternoon which was almost a carbon copy of his first goal.
Gillingham thoroughly deserved the three points. They worked harder than Rotherham, defended resolutely & when the opportunity arose broke quickly & directly. As far as the Millers are concerned a really bad day at the office.
words Ian Bradley, D3D4 Rotherham United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Peterborough United 1-0 Shrewsbury Town
Town are still at the summit of League One, but a worldy of a strike on fourteen minutes condemned the leaders to their first defeat of the season against Peterborough at London Road. The defeat saw Town fall agonisingly just one undefeated game short of equalling the club record of sixteen consecutive games without defeat.
To be honest it seems that the only way to breach this solid Salop back line at the minute is for somebody to unfurl an absolute belter. Dan Agyei hit a dipping twenty yarder for Walsall at the beginning of the month and then a week later at Home Park Graham Carey got in on the act, smashing home via the post from fully twenty five yards for Plymouth. On both occasions though Town were able to fight back and secure a point but this trend changed against the Posh.
With a third of the first half gone Marcus Maddison took advantage of some hesitant defending just over halfway, latching onto a bouncing ball in the left channel and unleashing a forty yard half volley which flew over a stranded Dean Henderson in the Salop goal and into the net. It was quite a strike to be fair.
Town went in search of an instant response to the wonder strike. Carlton Morris saw his excellent header saved at full stretch by Bond before Maddison had another go from distance, but this time he hit straight at Henderson. Jon Nolan then lashed wide and then straight at the ‘keeper from good positions for Salop as Town went into half time trailing in a game for the first time this season.
The second period started scrappily, the referee’s whistle halting play on several occasions. Town were looking to mix it up to gain a foothold in the game as Nolan, Whalley, Ogogo and Godfrey were all booked quickly
after the restart, but Town struggled to create any real opportunities. Hurst attempted to rectify this switching to ultra attacking mode, introducing Payne and Bryn Morris and going three at the back, but still there was no joy. LJL replaced Godfrey and it was ‘The Shop’ who fashioned the best Salop chance, seeing his header cleared off the line from a Whalley corner late on just after Rodman had drilled a shot straight at Bond.
Town ended the game frantically searching for an equaliser, ‘keeper Henderson finishing the game in the right wing position but the goal to preserve the unbeaten run wasn’t to come. We never seem to take anything from trips to London Road and to be honest, for it to take a goal of that stunning quality to end Town’s equally stunning unbeaten start to this campaign, sometimes you just have to doff your cap and say fair play!
Bond; Taylor, Tafazolli, Da Silva Lopes, Taylor; Edwards, Baldwin, Doughty, Grant; Maddison (Anderson, 80); Da Silva Lopes, Marriott (Kanu, 90+5)
Subs: O’Malley (gk), Shephard, Miller, Lloyd, Chettle
Henderson; Bolton (B Morris, 70), Nsiala, Beckles, Riley (Payne, 70); Godfrey (John-Lewis, 85); Whalley, Ogogo, Nolan, Rodman; C Morris
Subs: MacGillivray, Shelis, Adams, Gnahoua
words Ian Evans, D3D4 Shrewsbury Town Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Luton Town 0-3 Coventry City
I bet a mate a fiver that Luton would put at least 4 goals past the City, and added if the Sky Blues win at Kenilworth Road I’d eat my hat, pardon the pun. Well that is the last time this season I’ll open my big mouth again as eating a hat is definitely not part of getting your five a day and that fiver would get me a pint and a bag of crisps in my local!
But what an away performance that was by Coventry City and I honestly never saw that coming. They have been goal shy recently but to go to Luton and bang in three and to yet again keep a clean sheet is the highlight of the season for me.
But then again I’ve been watching the Sky Blues for 50 years and we’ve always been a club who play well against better teams in all divisions, so I shouldn’t be surprised that they turned in a stellar showing really, it seems ingrained in our DNA.
Luton have been banging in goals for fun at home this season but the City’s defence is the meanest in the division and in the football league, and if the game was going to be won by a single goal either side would have probably taken that. But Coventry defended like Trojans and frustrated the Hatters, and silenced the home crowd by taking the lead in the 17th minute with a quality header by McNulty. Luton in the second half threw everything forward at the City but Burge in goal made two excellent saves and his defence kept solid. And all three points were finally secured by the away team in 90 minutes when a superb free kick by young substitute Shipley was curled into the top corner of the net, then followed up with goal number three by the other substitute Nazon.
So I’ll happily carry on eating a hat and losing a fiver if we continue playing like that ! As I wrote before ” Football is a funny old game. ”
words Kevin Halls, D3D4 Coventry City Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Forest Green Rovers 2-0 Morecambe
Forest Green: New Lawn; Morecambe: No New Dawn.
Off the field, Morecambe Football Club have had another very trying week, with claim and counter-claim being posted by the various factions involved in the on-going melodrama concerning who actually owns the thing. As further rumours about whether or not the staff would be paid on time swirled around the internet, the team made its way to the smallest community ever to have supported a Football League club in the shape of Nailsworth of Gloucestershire (population: 5,800) to confront the growing crisis on it. Their opponents – Vegan, Right-On and Environmentally Friendly Forest Green Rovers – were in the relegation zone when the Shrimps arrived from North Lancashire today. But if they continued their recent form – two wins on the spin – and made it three, Forest would swap positions with today’s visitors. So for both clubs concerned, this really was a crunch match which – even at this early stage of the season – could have a big influence on who sees themselves returning to the League the Green Devils emerged from just last season: the National one.
The game started on a sunny, relatively warm day in the Cotswolds with rural views from the ground – perched high above Nailsworth on the top of a steep hill – towards the rolling green countryside all around. The Shrimps started confidently and dominated the first twenty minutes or so. As the Morecambe fans chanted “There’s only one Rod Taylor!” in support of the only member of the club’s Board who seems to be prepared to stick his head above the parapet these days, Andy Fleming played-in Vadaine Oliver with a clever pass down the right only for Bradley Collins to rush from his goal and smother the ball after two minutes.
Although the visitors were dominating the possession, you did start to wonder if the away team had any alternative to Plan A: a succession of long balls aimed at their overworked centre forward. After just nine minutes, Aaron Wildig made his displeasure known to his team-mates that he had no options to select from as he crossed the half way line with the ball at his feet on a counter-attack. With Reece Brown looking impressive for the Green Devils, the home team had their first attack after ten minutes and their first serious effort when a long-range shot from Drissa Traore narrowly missed Barry Roche’s right hand post almost ten minutes later. Up the other end, Morecambe showed that they had a Plan B after all when Adam McGurk had his effort blocked by the Forest defence after seventeen minutes. Straight after this, Wildig found himself unmarked to the right of the Devils’ penalty area but hit a shot over the bar when he could have steadied himself and done better.
With almost twenty minutes on the clock, Steven Old produced yet another header from a Morecambe corner but his effort went tamely wide of the Forest goal to its left. The best move of the first half arrived ten minutes before half time though – Fleming’s excellent 30 yard pass from the left flank went to the onrushing Aaron McGowan on the right who outstripped Scott Laird and swung in a cross which Jack Fitzwater cleared off the line at the expense of a corner. From this, Old headed the ball down eventually to tee-up Oliver whose shot slammed against Collin’s right-hand post but bounced away to safety. At the other end three minutes later, Alex Iacovitti hammered the ball from the left side of the Morecambe penalty area from his point of view only to see a rising shot only just clear the bar. But after 28 minutes, Morecambe’s Achilles Heel was exposed yet again this season when a corner taken from the Forest Green right finally found its way to the unchallenged Keanu Marsh-Brown, who had time to pick his spot and stick the ball in the back of the net with a well-placed shot. As some of the away supporters began to shout abuse at their own players, Forest Green had the next chance as well when Roche managed to turn a shot he knew little about from Christian Doidge away for a corner more by luck than judgement. But his own luck ran out as this corner was taken when he was injured trying to push it away and needed prolonged treatment on the field. Although the big Irishman soldiered-on until beyond half time – earning a very sporting round of applause from the home fans – he had to come off during the second half. So the away team went in at half time a goal down with an injured goalie and a pronounced silence from the uncovered West stand, where all their supporters were gathered.
Few of these people applauded when the team re-took the field, which surely does not help their general morale. With about three minutes on the clock, Luke Conlan worked his way down the Morecambe left but his cross went straight into the goalkeeper’s gloves. Two minutes later, Old needlessly gave the ball away but the home team failed to take advantage. Down the opposite end, Andy Fleming looked as if he might have been impeded as goalkeeper Collins reached the ball before he could and fell on it. A seemingly tiring Oliver than made good progress down the Shrimps’ left and slung over a cross which was cleared for a corner which required the Forest goalkeeper to punch clear. Roche finally went off in the 63rd minute and the first thing replacement Danijel Nizic had to do was pick the ball out of the Morecambe net. The visitors were caught napping for the second time from a set-piece: Laird took a free kick which Doidge seemed to help on its way to putting the Gloucester team two-nil to the good.
After that, the game deteriorated into a pretty scrappy and aimless contest. Having said that though, Forest Green came closer to extending their lead than Morecambe ever did to reducing it and if it wasn’t for an excellent save from Nizic to deny Brown after his defence had yet again given the ball away with three minutes left to play, the defeat would have been even heavier. Most alarmingly from the Shrimps’ point of view, however, was their failure to put any sustained pressure on a Forest Green side who looked short of confidence themselves and were certainly vulnerable at the back.
Kevin Ellison came on after his three-match ban for most of the second half and Garry Thompson also appeared during the closing minutes of the game – but neither player had any significant impact on the game and Kev’s contribution, very sadly, was precisely nil. The Shrimps looked beaten from the moment they conceded the first goal and trooped off to even more abuse from some of their own supporters. This was a wretched display by any measure and at the end of the game, they found themselves swapping places with their hosts and falling into the relegation positions.
So a typically acrimonious and unpleasant week off the field was finished-off by a pretty hopeless display on it during which – for the third game in a row – they failed to put the ball in the net. For Morecambe Football Club, things have rarely looked bleaker and unless Jim Bentley finds a way to motivate players who looked short of confidence right across the team today, their tenth season in the Football League might very well prove to also be their final one.
Forest Green Rovers: 1 Bradley Collins; 2 Dale Bennett; 3 Scott Laird; 4 Drissa Traore (11 Omar Bugiel 79 mins) ; 5 Lee Collins; 7 Keanu Marsh-Brown (6 Manny Monthe 79 mins); 9 Christian Doidge; 10 Reece Brown; 16 Jack Fitzwater; 20 Alex Iacovitti; 34 Isiah Osbourne.
Subs Not Used: 24 Harry Pickering; 19 Will Randall; 21 Mark Roberts; 25 Ben Hedley; 33 Luke James.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche (12 Danijel Nizic 63 mins); 22 Max Muller; 5 Steven Old; 4 Alex Kenyon (11 Kevin Ellison 53 mins); 2 Aaron McGowan; 24 Michael Rose (C); 8 Andy Fleming; 14 Luke Conlan (Y); 15 Aaron Wildig (Y) (7 Garry Thompson 74 mins); 28 Adam McGurk; 9 Vadaine Oliver.
Subs Not Used: 3 Patrick Brough; 16 Sam Lavelle; 21 Elliot Osborne; 29 Callum Lang.
Ref: Charles Breakspear.
2515 (183 from Morecambe)
words Roger Fitton, D3D4 Morecambe FC Correspondent