The D3D4 correspondents are back giving you their take on the weekend’s action in Leagues One & Two …
MATCH REPORT: Morecambe 1-1 Stevenage
Kev Steals A Point For The Shrimps
Stevenage visited the Globe Arena today looking to complete a double over Morecambe this season, having won their previous League Two match 2-1 against the Shrimps last September at Broadhall Way. Darren Sarll`s men arrived fifteenth in the division and on the back of a 4-1 New Year’s Day victory over Cheltenham. Boro have an excellent record against today`s opponents, having won five and drawn three of their previous nine encounters. As far as the hosts were concerned, Jim Bentley`s side were looking for their third win in a row with evergreen Kevin Ellison also seeking to score for the third time in three matches. The manager`s quip that he has `twenty-five quid` to spend on additions to his squad during January`s transfer window has so far been proved to be no joke with no signings – loan or otherwise – at the Lancashire seaside so far this year. For the visitors, Ronnie Henry played his 469th match for his club, extending his all-time appearance record for Stevenage. Ben Kennedy also chalked-up his one hundredth appearance for Boro as goalkeeper Tom King lined-up for his first on-loan game from Millwall for the Hertfordshire club. Rumours that eighteen-year old central defender Ben Wilmot is interesting clubs such as Spurs and Liverpool continue to circulate strongly. The match started under leaden but dry skies and the visitors had the best of the early chances. Matty Godden was fed by Danny Newton after just three minutes but his resultant shot went into the side netting. After six minutes, youngster Ben Wilmot rose the highest from a Stevenage corner but his header went over the Morecambe bar. The match was bogged-down on a heavy pitch after this for some time as attrition rather than art seemed to be the order of the day for both teams. Boro carved-out the next chance though, as Joe Martin hit the target with a shot which Barry Roche saved relatively easily after twenty-two minutes.
Just two minutes later at the other end, there was some clever play between Vadaine Oliver and Luke Conlan, who crossed the ball perfectly to set-up Kevin Ellison to smash the ball past Tom King and put the Shrimps into the lead. In doing so, Kev again not only confounded his critics with his third goal in three games but also confirmed yet again his Manager`s rating of his as the best signing he has ever made for the club. After the goal, however, the visitors continued to shade things but Ben Kennedy`s effort from Jonathan Smith`s cross was too high again with just over half an hour played. With thirty-eight minutes on the clock, Stevenage came even closer to equalising when Godden headed another excellent cross from Smith against the post with Baz a mere spectator in the Morecambe net. But try as they might, the visitors could not find a way to get back on terms before half time. They trailed off to the Dressing Rooms having had the better chances and the best of the play. But as Morecambe themselves know from their own experiences recently – most notably at Mansfield – possession alone doesn`t win football matches: goals do. Boro had the first good chance of the second half as well. Newton received the ball with his back to goal inside the Shrimps` penalty area after 51 minutes and rolled it back to Tom Pett only for the home defence to crowd him out before he could unleash a shot. Two minutes later, Pett played in Godden down the Stevenage left but his cross was just too far in front of Newton for his team-mate to connect with it. Kennedy had the next chance, heading over from a corner to the visitors after 54 minutes.
Three minutes later, Morecambe had the first chance of the second period to increase their lead. Michael Rose plonked one of his specialty free-kicks into the Stevenage penalty area but his target – Steven Old – was just unable to reach the ball with an attempted header. As the Shrimps basically failed to get out of their own half, Jamie Gray was denied after 75 minutes when Roche brilliantly saved his shot with his legs when one-on-one with the Boro substitute. With just seven minutes scheduled to play, Oliver and substitute Andy Fleming combined well but Fleming`s attempt to play-in a well-placed Ellison was absolutely woeful. Darren Sarll`s final throw of the dice paid-off spectacularly, however, after 88 minutes. The newly-arrived central defender Fraser Franks controlled the ball with his thigh on the edge of the Morecambe box and then blasted an unstoppable volley high into the net to give the visitors the point that their domination of the play certainly merited. Jim Bentley must have been chewing his nails during the five minutes` extra time because there was only going to be one team which would pinch the game at the death. But his men managed to hang on to a very valuable point against the run of play particularly during the second half. Jim must be pleased with his team`s resilience today but also knows that his team has played better this season and lost. Elsewhere, Chesterfield`s shock win against leaders Luton propelled them out of the relegation zone. Barnet lost again and are bottom of the EFL three points behind Forest Green, who also lost at Swindon. Crewe`s defeat at Carlisle means that Morecambe move above Dave Artell`s club into nineteenth position, six points above FGR and nine above the Bees. Despite the loss of a point, Stevenage remained in the same position they had been when they arrived in Lancashire earlier in the day: fifteenth. Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 16 Sam Lavelle; 2 Aaron McGowan; 5 Steven Old (Y); 22 Max Muller; 4 Alex Kenyon ; 24 Michael Rose (C) (Y) (8 Andy Fleming 70 mins); 11 Kevin Ellison; 29 Callum Lang (15 Aaron Wildig (Y) 45 mins); 14 Luke Conlan; 9 Vadaine Oliver (28 Adam McGurk 89 mins). Subs not used: 20 Niall Maher; 10 Adam Campbell; 7 Garry Thompson ; 17 Mitchell Lund. Stevenage: 13 Tom King; 25 Ronnie Henry (C); 33 Ben Wilmot; 4 Jack King; 3 Joe Martin; 2 Jonathan Smith (Y) (5 Fraser Franks 80 mins); 17 Dale Gorman (18 Tom Conlon 65 mins); 11 Tom Pett; 10 Ben Kennedy; 24 Matthew Godden; 19 Danny Newton (Y) (31 Jamie Gray 68 mins). Subs not used: 1 Joe Fryer; 6 Luke Wilkinson; 20 Terence Vancooten; 34 Andronicos Georgiou.
Star Player: Kevin Ellison
Ref: Tom Nield
words Roger Fitton, D3D4 Morecambe Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Oldham Athletic 1-1 Rotherham United
It’s been a turmoil week for Oldham fans – several players have left the club and there have been struggles in registering new players due to a rumoured transfer embargo, so it was a relief to see new loan signings Ben Pringle and Kundai Benyu named in the team sheet ahead of the game. Latics suffered an embarrassing 5-1 defeat at New York Stadium earlier in the season, which John Sheridan depart the club so there will have been a real want for revenge from the team. However, words of inspiration may have been missing as Richie Wellens suffered a touchline ban following his comments about the referee at Shrewsbury.
It was the Latics who started off on top and Craig Davies should have given the home side the lead in the third minute. Pringle played an excellent ball to an onrushing Dan Gardner who laid the ball back to Craig Davies whose shot was cleared of the line by Richard Wood – a poor miss from Davies. This miss came back to haunt the striker when just 4 minutes later Rotherham took the lead. Anthony Gerrard was beaten for pace and failed to get back into position which allowed David Ball the chance to use his pace and beat the lethargic defender to the ball, who created space for Anthony Forde who played a threatening ball into the box. More poor defending meant this cross wasn’t dealt with and Williams took his opportunity to smash home. The leaky Latics defence continued to struggle.
Oldham didn’t give up hope though; Davies pressured the defence and started to force errors whilst Pringle and Benyu caused the Millers’ defence trouble but it was Ousmane Fane who really shone and he did well to win a free kick on the edge of the box after half an hour. The resultant free kick saw Gardner lay the ball of to Davies who turned and fired the ball into the bottom corner.
— Channel 5 Sport (@Channel5Sport) 13 January 2018
An impressive run from Tope Obadeyi in stoppage time gave the home side some hope, but his shot blazed over the cross bar. The sides walked in at half time 1-1, with the score feeling fair – Rotherham appeared to have the better quality in their side but Oldham were creating chances.
Rotherham started the half well and Placide was forced to make a good save when Vaulks hit a powerful shot. Chances also fell for ex-Miller Ben Pringle and for Tope Obadeyi but nether side could capitalise on their chances. Obadeyi was causing problems for the Millers’ defence and it was only for a timely Emmanuel interception that his cross failed to find Craig Davies in acres of space. It was the Latics who began to create the most chances as Gevaro Nepomuceno and Ryan McLaughlin were brought on to provide pace and it made for a nervy end to the game as chances were found at both ends of the pitch. Alas, neither side could capitalise on these chances and the match finished 1-1.
FULL TIME: Oldham Athletic (Davies 31’) 1-1 Rotherham United (Williams 7’)
Oldham Athletic: Placide, Dummigan (Nepomuceno 85’), Edmundson, Gerrard, Wilson, Fane, Gardner (McLaughlin 70’), Benyu (Holloway 74’), Pringle, Obadeyi, Davies.
Subs not used: Hamer, Sheridan, Maouche, Duffus.
Rotherham United: Rodak, Emmanuel, Mattock, Vaulks, Ajayi, Wood, Forde, Ball (Clarke-Harris 86’), Towell, Yates (Smith 66’), Williams (Newell 82’).
Subs not used: Price, Taylor, Ihiekwe, Cummings.
Referee: R Lewis
Attendance: 4,775 (1,172 visiting supporters)
words Chris Stringer, D3D4 Oldham Athletic correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Carlisle United 1-0 Crewe Alexandra
Carlisle scraped past Crewe in a low quality game courtesy of a Sam Cosgrove late header. Following their FA Cup draw at Brunton Park against Sheffield Wednesday, the league was priority for now as Keith Curle welcomed his former player David Artell and despite the reverse fixture being 0-5 at Gresty Road to the Cumbrians, the Railwaymen were sure to make it a tighter affair this time.
A scrappy opening lead to few chances but a counter attack from Crewe allowed striker Jordan Bowery to hit the post from close range just a few minutes in following Callum Ainley and George Cooper linking up well in the middle of the park. Soon after, a cross from Eddie Nolan whipped across goal but wasn’t connected with by any Railwaymen player as it agonisingly went out for a goal kick. The best chance of the first half fell to Carlisle though when wing-back James Brown smashed a half-volley from the right corner of the box that brushed the left post whilst goalkeeper Ben Garratt could only stand and admire the effort. It was a lacklustre display from the Cumbrians and they failed to act like a team with a point to prove. The interval loomed and frustration from Curle built on the touchline.
There were changes made for the home side at half-time as Luke Joyce returned to make his 450th professional appearance in place of the jaded Reggie Lambe as well as John O’Sullivan replacing Brown as the 3-5-2 formation changed to a 4-4-2 in hope of the away side sitting back more. That happened and for the majority of the half, the chances all went to Carlisle as an opening goal for them looked to be inevitable. It was clear Crewe were content with the draw but Cosgrove had other ideas as even though he was in the midst of a heated battle between former blue Michael Raynes who returned to the club for the first time since leaving last summer. The former Stockport County man had another day to forget like in the reverse fixture in which he gave away a penalty and scored and own goal.
The pair squabbled all match, battling for long balls leading to fierce challenges leaving Raynes on a booking & Cosgrove with a bandage around his head at one point and when Richie Bennett came on for Hallam Hope to act as another target man it added to Raynes work load. It was Cosgrove who had the last laugh as when the pressure was mounting centre back Tom Parkes whipped in a cross from the left wing and flew perfectly to the head of Cosgrove to simply nod in his first goal in his third start for Carlisle past Garratt to lift the spirits of most of Brunton Park who had endured a gruelling affair.
There was drama on the touchline not long later and gave the fans something else to get excited about as Artell lost his patience and was spoken to by the referee. All his side’s efforts however were blocked by a resilient Clint Hill at the heart of the Cumbrian defence, clearing and heading away anything in the former Rangers man’s path. It was possible that the hosts could’ve extended their lead when Bennett hit a shot from point blank range at Garratt who beat the ball away. Added time added pressure on the vulnerable hosts but Crewe could only force a wonderful save late on from goalkeeper Jack Bonham (who is still improving each game) before the ball was cleared away by Parkes to safety. That was right on the full-time whistle and relief filled the air at Brunton Park with a the third round replay at Hillsborough next on the agenda.
Attendance: 4,467 (301)
Referee: Chris Sarginson
Man of the match: Sam Cosgrove
words Nathan Ridley, D3D4 Carlisle United correspondent