D3D4 Correspondents give you their takes on the matches in Leagues One & Two…
MATCH REPORT: Oxford United 1-2 Walsall
Oxford’s first half performance was yet again atrocious in their match against the Saddlers. If it wasn’t for their Keeper Simon Eastwood then they could have been 3-0 behind and the ‘Turkish Messi’ Erhan Oztumer could and maybe should have had a had-trick.
The Oxford defence was about as sturdy as a chocolate teapot and indeed melted away on several occasion during a first half, much like Blackpool last week, they were all too easily opened up. Walsall took the lead when Joe Edwards drilled in a cross that deflected over Eastwood leaving Oztumer with a tap in. Oztumer then shot wide before seeing an effort saved well by Eastwood when he was clean through as the Yellows continued to struggle. Oxford’s passing was about as accurate as Donald Trumps press releases and effort was lacking with Walsall players always first to the second ball!
Half Time came as a relief for Oxford but rather than come out with fresh impetus they were just as cumbersome and uninspiring. Walsall doubled their lead, and deservedly so when ex-Oxford forward Tyler Roberts turned away from his defender and rasped a shot in to the corner. It was clear that Oxford were looking to play out from the back but they were well handled by Walsall and had no penetration. Robert could have heaped more misery onto the majority of the 6,895 fans in the stadium but was brilliantly denied by a diving save from Eastwood.
It was a frustrating afternoon but the U’s did at least test Gillespie with a well hit James Henry volley and then they got a break when Luke Leahy tripped Hall and Ledson converted the resulting penalty. Oxford huffed and puffed for the last 10 minutes or so but couldn’t find an equaliser as the Yellows lost at home for the first time this season and Walsall won their first away game of 2017! The Saddlers will be confident as they take on Charlton at home next while Oxford face a big test of character on Tuesday night at struggling Bury.
MATCH REPORT: Rotherham United 5-1 Oldham Athletic
On an overcast day in South Yorkshire, Oldham’s defence continued to suffer as a well organised Rotherham United fired 5 past Jack Ruddy in what truly was a game of two halves.
It took just 9 minutes for The Millers to take the lead following an excellent save from Ruddy. Rotherham had their corner poorly defended and Kieffer Moore smashed his header against the crossbar before defender Michael Ihiekwe nodded in the rebound.
Rotherham continued to look the better side but it was the Latics who managed to score after 21 minutes. A low corner to the near from Jack Byrne was neatly tapped across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner by on form striker Craig Davies – his fifth goal in as many games. As has also been the case in recent weeks, this goal spurred Oldham on; Tope Obadeyi probably should have done better as his shot sailed wide of the mark before Craig Davies had his appeal for a penalty turned down. Ryan McLaughlin, who had been causing some problems down the right wing, pulled up with a hamstring injury after half an hour and was replaced by Cameron Dummigan.
Rotherham did, however, finish the half strongly as Richard Wood volleyed too high and Jon Taylor had his shot well saved by Ruddy. 1-1 felt a fair score at half time.
In the second half Rotherham came out all guns blazing and Oldham were fortunate to hold out as Rotherham saw a number of chances go begging. Oldham held out for half an hour but after 75 minutes Rotherham were rewarded for their pressure as Kieffer Moore pounced on Jack Ruddy’s save following a strong shot from Ryan Williams. The Millers continued this pressure and just 4 minutes later Kieffer Moore notched his second goal of the game with a free header from a well-taken corner.
The afternoon got even worse for Oldham as Newell made an impressive run before playing the ball to Forde who made no mistake as he slotted the ball into the bottom corner to make it 4. Just 2 minutes later Jerry Yates punished Oldham further with a close-range finish. A game to forget for the Oldham faithful.
Paul Warne will have been pleased to have pulled off a five-star victory over his ex-boss John Sheridan, whose job looks to be under pressure as the Latics sit bottom of League 1 with only 4 points from a possible 27.
FULL TIME: Rotherham United 5 Oldham Athletic 1
Rotherham – Rodak, Vaulks, Wood, Frecklington, Taylor (Newell 62), Potter, Towell (Forde 81), Purrington, Ihiekwe, Williams, Moore (Yates 84). Unused- O’Donnell, Ajayi, Clarke-Harris, Cummings.
Oldham – Ruddy, Gerrard, Gardner (Omrani 63), Davies, McLaughlin (Dummigan 33), Edmundson, Clarke, Nepomuceno, Byrne, Obadeyi (Menig 62), Bryan. Unused- Placide, Banks, Menig, Hunt, Fane.
REFEREE: J Brooks
ATTENDANCE: 8250 (825)
words Chris Stringer, D3D4 Oldham Athletic Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Rotherham United 5-1 Oldham Athletic
A cloudy overcast Saturday afternoon saw the Millers run out at NYS for their home league game with bottom of the table Oldham.
As is normally the case these days at Millers home games Rotherham were quick out of the blocks. A superb effort by full back Ben Purrington was smartly saved by Jack Ruddy in the Oldham goal in the 7th minute. From the resulting corner Millers top scorer Kieffer Moore hit the bar with a header with defender Michael Ihiekwe tapping in the rebound for his first Rotherham goal since his summer move from Tranmere.
The Millers continued to press with Moore, Lee Frecklington & Ryan Williams all coming close before the Millers were pegged back completely against the run of play when an Oldham corner was stabbed home at the near post by striker Craig Davies.
Oldham gained confidence from their equaliser & really should have taken the lead on the half hour when Tope Obadeyi shot wide from around 10 yards with the goal at his mercy.
The Millers regained the upper hand as half time approached with Williams having a goalbound effort deflected wide & Jon Taylor having a raking 20 yard drive crash into the side netting.
Half time 1-1
Rotherham began the second half on the front foot with Moore being inches wide with a header & again a few minutes later forced a superb save from Oldham keeper Ruddy less & less was seen of Athletic as an attacking force but they were repelling Rotherham’s attack quite well until Taylor & loanee Towell were replaced by winger Antony Forde & left sided winger Joe Newell.
Manager Warne’s tactics seemed spot on when a Forde through ball was put through to Williams whose shot was saved by Ruddy but following up to score was Moore with goal number 7 for the season
Almost immediately it was three for the Millers & eight for Moore as he powerfully headed home a Newell corner.
Oldham looked flat after this & after several near misses, sub Forde made it 4 after good wide play by Newell, then local lad striker Jerry Yates took advantage of the lax defending by letting in Rotherham born sub Jerry Yates for the strikers first goal of the season.
In the Millers first five home games of the season they have amassed 12 points & 18 goals, now if we could sort out this away record we’d be flying.
words Ian Bradley, D3D4 Rotherham United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Crewe Alexandra 0-5 Carlisle United
Due to Gresty Road’s handiness on the train, many Carlisle United fans took the opportunity head down to Crewe Alexandra via that route. The big news this week for the Cumbrians was that Clint Hill, a friend of Keith Curle and a former consistent Premier League defender, had arrived on a short-term deal. Last time these sides met in Chesire was Boxing Day last season, a 1-1 draw unfolded which meant each team had a share of the Christmas spoils. For Crewe, it wasn’t just their deadly attacking trio of the minds of the travelling blues, centre-back Michael Raynes – who spent 2 solid years as a blue – was playing against his former team for the first time after signing in the summer for the railway men. Both of those aforementioned defenders started the match. In addition, both teams needed a win to stop their respective winless rots.
It was those railway men who started the slightly stronger side. With Chris’ Dagnall and Porter stretching the Cumbrian back-line from the front. Full-backs James Brown and Danny Grainger were having a tough time early on. Crewe lined up in a 3-4-3 which was a change from their regular shape. A midfield trio of Kelvin Etuhu, Luke Joyce and Mike Jones therefore had their work cut out to stop any supply.
There was almost a freak own goal when Shamal George scuffed a clearance and the ball rolled back towards his net but thankfully for the Liverpool loanee, the ball went for a corner. Following that scare for the away side, they grew into the game. Lone striker and former Crewe man Shaun Miller’s work rate paid off a number of times as Raynes and his centre-back teammates struggled to contain the high press. Reggie Lambe linked up well on the right with Brown on numerous occasions to put the pressure on. It wasn’t long before that pressure counted too. After some action in the box, Jones laid it across to an advancing Grainger who hit a strike with venom that whizzed past Crewe ‘keeper Ben Garratt. That thunderous effort gave United the lead just 13 minutes in. Nicky Adams on the left-wing kept the home defence on their toes each time after the goal but he struggled to gain support as United held their lead well from the back. George was pulled into action throughout the remainder of the half as the Alex aimed to equalise but nothing came of it. Carlisle countered often but those attacks were filled with half-chances, as the match petered out before the break.
The second-half had barely got going for either team when Raynes got himself into trouble with Lambe on the edge of his own box. The former Stockport County man passed on the ball right into the path of Carlisle’s man ended up taking the Bermudan international down inside his penalty area. Grainger had the chance to double his tally and he did with precision. A clean strike from the spot into the bottom right-hand corner, was able to double the travel teams’ lead on 48 minutes. Crewe were struggling to get as many chances as they did in the preview half, as Hill & Tom Parkes were resilient in winning the ball.
This allowed Carlisle to harbour a more controlled style and it suited them well. As if it wasn’t bad enough for Raynes, a corner from Grainger came into the area and as Miller dummied it at the front post, leaving the ball to deflect off Raynes’ boot and fly into the back of the net on 72 minutes. Chants of “Raynesy, what’s the score?” could be heard in the away stand, rubbing salt into his wounds.
Alexandra then attacked as much as possible in hope of finding their way back into the match but it left severe gaps at the back that would prove fatal. Substitute Jamie Devitt was able to collect the ball on the right and put through Lambe to round the ‘keeper on the 6-yard box and produce a smart finish to secure the victory for Carlisle with 74 minutes played. To the sadness of home manager David Artell, Curle’s men weren’t done there either. Through some showboating, the game looked to be dead before full-time and a mass exodus from the home faithful signified it; despite a late chance for Dagnall to pull one back. However, a man who was jeered off last week after a poor performance, Hallam Hope, showed his worth from the bench as he finished well deep into added time on 94 minutes. It was so deep into that added time was that the referee blew his whistle when the team were celebrating in ecstasy with the fans.
Even if there was a lack of scintillating stuff from Carlisle United on the day, a 0-5 victory certainly was excellent. It was exactly what Curle’s men needed after some real pressure from the fans but they will need to prove their worth once again on Tuesday night. Crewe Alexandra will come away distraught and none more so than Raynes, but some good spells and tidy football are positives to pull from the five goal thriller. With a Capital One Cup defeat on penalties at Anfield following a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes in 2015, September 23rd has become a rather lucky date as of late for the Cumbrians; and it was certainly, again, much appreciated.
words Nathan Ridley, D3D4 Carlisle United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Coventry City 2-0 Exeter City
The league leaders came to the Ricoh in a confident mood no doubt but at the end of the game they had to accept they were well beaten by the Sky Blues.
The crowd of 8,340 were well entertained as both sides passed it around well and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they didn’t do the long ball stuff that most teams in this division like to do. The first half was a bit like a chess match with both sides cancelling each other out, and at half time I thought this could end up 0-0 or one side may nick it with a solitary goal.
That doesn’t mean it was a boring game, far from it but I got the feeling the visitors would have been happy to go away with the draw. Yet once again the Sky Blues came out for the second half with the mind set that they could win this match.
What manager Robins says to his players in the closed confine of the dressing room at the interval must be akin to a Churchillian speech as they came running out with a renewed vigour and belief and look a completely different side in most games this season.
And yesterday was no different as the home side really turned on the style and deservedly went ahead even though it was through an own goal. Coventry could have been happy with one but on and on the City attacked with Jodi Jones having a free role switching flanks and even playing as a striker, but the whole side contributed and the win was wrapped up in the 90th minute by young Kelly-Evans who looks about twelve but what a prospect he is as he has skill and confidence and his overall performance was rewarded with his late goal.
I left the Ricoh buzzing to be honest as we played really well and Exeter could have no complaints at their loss, and we go to Swindon on Tuesday night on a high. If we play like this there I can see us picking up another three points.
But I’m a long suffering and hard bitten Coventry City supporter, so that means anything can happen and no two games are ever the same, we blow hot and cold, but the talent is there so fingers crossed we keep it going.
words Kevin Halls, D3D4 Coventry City Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Peterborough United 3-2 Wigan Athletic
Saturday 23rd September 2017, English Football League 1
PETERBOROUGH UNITED 3-2 WIGAN ATHLETIC ATT: 6,099
Morias 47, 84, Jacobs 33, Colclough 87
Line-up: Bond, Shephard, Taylor, Tafazolli, Hughes, Maddison (Anderson 90), Doughty (Grant 69), Forrester, Edwards (Baldwin 44), Morias, Marriott
To say this contest lived up to its lofty expectations would be a severe understatement. Posh, who it has seemed recently have been adopting back to the 4-4-2 formation, but can also play 3-4-1-2 to change it up as a useful alternative. This generally transpires with just one substitution, this time with Gwion Edwards being culled just before half-time for Baldwin. This was for tactical variation as Posh had conceded a fortuitous two deflection effort from Jacobs approximately ten minutes prior.
McCann’s half-time team talk certainly inspired as Boro came out like the proverbial ‘house on fire’. Morias fired in the equaliser with a true thunderbolt, that lifted the goal net as much as it did Peterborough’s supporters. Goalkeepers Bond and Jones were kept busy as both sides created chances. Then came the action-packed last six minutes of normal time, not to mention, from my point of view, agonising five added minutes.
Morias put the Posh ahead with a long-range effort. “You’re most vulnerable when you have just scored”, came to the forefront when Posh did not have a player on the far post from a set piece, allowing Colclough to comedically walk the ball in.
Amazingly this showcase of how football should be played had yet another twist. Wigan could have also taken stock from the aforementioned quoted phrase above as Anthony Grant picked out Jack Marriott with a delectable pass, which the striker slotted home for his first goal of September. If there was a Player of the Month hoodoo, that has been put to bed now.
The Posh back-line did more than its fair share to hold out for the painful five plus minutes of added time, with Steven Taylor looking as inspirational as ever.
Posh performed a lap-of-honour to the fans which was greatly appreciated, the atmosphere within the ABAX was electric from both sets of supporters, the game certainly complimented the bombastic enthusiasm it was played in front of.
words Ian McFarlan, D3D4 Peterborough United Correspondent
MATCH REPORT: Scunthorpe United 2-0 Portsmouth
Having only lost one game and conceding just three goals in the league so far this season, there’s every reason to be optimistic going into games at Glanford Park. The Iron started the match promisingly, keeping possession and creating early chances so it was only a matter of time before the deadlock would be broken. The first goal came as a result of an excellent movement from the Scunthorpe side. Neal Bishop began the move with a perfectly weighted long ball that found Clarke. He neatly beat the Portsmouth left-back and put the ball across the box to Novak who was on hand to place it into the bottom corner. 2 in 2 for the striker now, matching his campaign total for Charlton last season, and though it is still early days Novak is already looking to be a valuable signing.
What followed was Portsmouth’s best effort of the match. Jamal Lowe got past Butroid and put an excellent ball in from the right wing. Hawkins beat McArdle to the header but placed it wide of the post from around four yards out. For all of the possession Pompey would have in the second half this was the only time they really troubled the Iron defence and realistically should have levelled the game at this stage.
Only a few minutes later Scunthorpe left-back Lewis Butroid crossed the ball into the box and Dion Donohue’s attempted to head the ball to safety. However, his effort failed to clear the box and midfielder Duane Holmes bagged his fourth of the season when he volleyed the ball, or rather had it bounce off his shin, into the bottom corner. Though his view seemed to be partly blocked you have to think that both the keeper and the Pompey defence will feel that they could, and should, have done a lot better on this goal. So with the Iron in complete control and playing some excellent football, going into the break 2-0 up everything seemed promising. Memories of the fixture from a few years ago came to mind when Scunthorpe won 5-1 and there was a real sense that we could have been on for a repeat encounter. The Portsmouth defence seemed troubled by our efforts and the whole team looked there for the taking.
However, when the teams returned for the second half the intensity from the Iron had vanished. Portsmouth grew into the game and were allowed much more possession. Unfortunately for them, for all their possession, they were unable to turn it into threatening chances and that posed a threat to the Iron defence. For the instances where they did manage to get into a good position going forward Scunthorpe held their shape extremely well and dealt with play quite easily. Early in the second half goalscorer Lee Novak went down injured and shortly after was taken off as a precaution. Tom Hopper was the resulting substitute and this movement saw an already lacking attacking threat from the Iron, for the half, vanish almost entirely. This is in no way a comment on Hopper’s ability but rather the way in which Scunthorpe appeared to approach the second period. Right from the off there was a sense that 2-0 was worth seeing out, that it would be better to protect what we had rather than to push on and try to get a third, fourth or even fifth; which wouldn’t have been beyond the realms of plausibility based on the first half performances from both sides.
The game has been described as having a ‘professional’ performance form Scunthorpe and this is true. They got the goals early on and did what was needed in the second half to see the game out but they never really felt like they got out of second gear. With another valuable 3 points, a 5th clean sheet in 6 and some excellent play in the first half you can’t really complain, however, the apparent willingness to sit back when we were so in control is slightly concerning. As we know all too well, goal difference can be a vital factor come the end of the season and it is games like this where we need to capitalise on performances and start converting. This is in fact only the second time this season that Scunthorpe have scored more than one goal in a game. Overall a pretty strong performance from the Iron and a rather abject one from Portsmouth and whilst it is a good win there is a sense that this one was a bit of a missed opportunity to really make a mark and show what the Iron are capable of. As a final note it has to be said that Scunthorpe left back Lewis Butroid, on his first professional league start, fitted nicely into the team and didn’t look out of place in what has become one of the most formidable defences in the league. I also have to give a special mention to the Portsmouth fans who, despite the loss and poor performance, never stopped singing and backing their side. They created a great atmosphere inside the ground and are definitely the best set of away fans we’ve seen so far this season.
Final score: Scunthorpe United 2-0 Portsmouth
Scunthorpe United: Gilks, Clarke, McArdle, Wallace, Butroid, Holmes (Mantom 79), Bishop, Ojo, Morris, Novak (Hopper 53), Madden (Burgess 84).
Portsmouth: McGee, Thompson, Burgess, Clarke, Donoghue, Close, O’Keefe, Lowe, Pitman, Kennedy (Naismith 73), Hawkins (Chaplin 67).
words Bradley Mell, D3D4 Scunthorpe United Correspondent