MATCH REPORT: Southend United 2-0 Oldham Athletic
233 Oldham fans made the 500-mile round trip from Lancashire to Essex in search of a victory to put the blues 5 games unbeaten. Despite taking 4 trains to get from Manchester Piccadilly to Prittlewell and experiencing severe delays in London Euston, the Oldham faithful left Roots Hall disappointed after the Latics put on a poor performance.
The Latics defence appeared to have improved over recent weeks, keeping 2 successive clean sheets, as Anthony Gerrard came back into the fray. The 31-year-old, however, was left out of the squad due to suspension and made way for skipper Peter Clarke as the Latics lined up in the 4-1-3-2 formation that has proved successful under manager Ritchie Wellens.
The Latics did show promise in the early parts of the game, with Eoin Doyle going close with a couple of shots but it soon became clear that Southend were up for the game as they pressed forwards and began to find weaknesses in the defence of the visitors; probing the defence and testing the pace of Peter Clarke. In the 16th minute, Oldham failed to successfully clear the ball and right back Cameron Dummigan put in a poorly judged challenge on Wright in the Penalty area. Demetriou made no mistake from 12 yards, as he sent Johnny Placide the wrong way. 15 minutes later, the home side should have doubled their lead as a fabulous cross from Hendrie down the right wing found Ryan Leonard 8 yards out who somehow managed to head wide.
It has been speculated that Rob Hunt could be leaving Boundary Park in January, with many Championship clubs rumoured to be willing to pay his £300,000 release clause and the promising full back showed his worth as he gave Latics a lifeline when he was brought down in the box by goal scorer Demetriou following some good breaking football. Ex-Oldham player Mark Oxley has been in impressive form for The Shrimpers this season and he showed his worth when he saved Craig Davies’ powerful penalty to keep them in the lead come half time.
Jack Byrne hit a powerful shot just over at the start of the second half and Latics would rue these missed chances. In the 54th minute a good Southend break found Antoine Fortune who played a neat ball to Stephen McLaughlin – his probing cross found Wright who volleyed into the bottom left hand corner. Nepomuceno was introduced and produced some good football but it just wasn’t Oldham’s day. Eoin Doyle should have hit the net with a header from close range, but it was clear it just wasn’t to be for the visitors.
Ritchie Wellens has now seen his 2nd defeat in the league as Oldham boss and he faces a real test of character coming into January to see if he can bolster his team and get his side scoring again, following 3 blanks for the normally potent attack as opposition sides start to understand his style of play. Hopefully new assistant manger Paul Jewell can provide some experience to set the Latics back on track.
FULL TIME: Southend United (Demetriou 17’, Wright 54’) 2-0 Oldham Athletic
Southend United: Oxley, Hendrie, Ferdinand, Turner, Kightly (Wordsworth 45+1’), Fortune, Cox (Ba 83’), McLaughlin, Leonard, Demetriou, Wright.
Subs not used: Bishop, Yearwood, McGlashan, White, Ranger.
Oldham Athletic: Placide, Dummigan, Clarke (Wilson 60’), Bryan, Hunt, Menig (Nepomuceno 57’), Fane, Gardner, Byrne (Obadeyi 72’), Davies, Doyle.
Subs not used: Wilson, Omrani, Flynn, Green.
Referee: Charles Breakspear
Attendance: 5,841 (233 visiting supporters)
words Chris Stringer, D3D4