After last week’s 2-0 home defeat to Swindon, Latics boss Steve Robinson promised his team ‘won’t play that badly again’. It seems he forgot to tell his players though, as Oldham fell to bottom of the league with an identical performance and scoreline against MK Dons.
Before the game, I interviewed Dons fan Colin (aka ‘WellDon’ from theconcreteroundabout.co.uk) for the matchday programme. Colin correctly predicted a 2-0 away win, and now provides his post-match verdict as I look at the key talking points from the game from both perspectives.
Story of the Match:
Chances were rare in the first half, and a Freddie Ladapo shot was tipped over for Oldham before Nicky Maynard’s shot was pushed round the post by home ‘keeper Connor Ripley. The home stopper wasn’t as solid soon after though, as a fairly simple Ben Reeves shot from long range slipped under his body to give the Dons the lead.
Much like the Swindon defeat, Oldham reacted to a lacklustre first half with a short spell of improved play after half time which nearly resulted in a goal. Peter Clarke followed up his midweek equaliser at Charlton with a spectacular overhead kick which was unlucky to hit the bar.
However, Oldham’s search for an equaliser was quickly ended by an easy Agard header from a pinpoint Samir Carruthers freekick (main picture, above). The goalscorer hit the bar soon after, and the Dons wrapped up an easy away win.
Colin says: “I predicted 2-0 before the game, and I don’t think many could argue with the scoreline. Neither side looked particularly good, just we were that bit better than Oldham on the day.”
How did the teams perform?
Steve Robinson admitted that his team lacked fight and desire, and commented that they ‘gave up and died’ after Agard’s goal. Latics were short of ideas, with slow build up play and long balls the only observable game plan. With only five goals scored all season, and five home league games out of six without an Oldham goal, it’s clear where Robinson’s problems lie.
For MK Dons, there was no evidence of the winless home run stretching back to April. Instead, Samir Carruthers and Darren Potter controlled the game throughout while Agard was a constant threat against the Latics defence.
While Oldham were fairly toothless upfront, the Dons defence was solid, and restricted the home side to eight shots compared to 17 for the visitors.
Colin says: “I thought Oldham started strong, but our midfield took over and I honestly couldn’t see anything other than a Dons win after that opening ten minutes. We didn’t have as much possession as we usually do, but all-in-all I thought we looked comfortable with another gear if necessary.”
Who Stood out for Both Teams?
Oldham’s Peter Clarke gave another typically solid performance, but the rest of the team are yet to match his commitment and composure. Clarke is single-handedly carrying Oldham’s defence and attack at the moment, and the top-scorer deserves better.
Connor Ripley has performed well so far this season, but his mistake for Reeves’ opener set Dons on their way.
As mentioned, Carruthers, Potter and Agard stood out for MK Dons, while last week’s hat-trick hero Ryan Colclough was bright and direct against the nervous home defence.
Colin says: “I thought Colcough was our main man, although Carruthers and Reeves dominated in midfield – and that was where the game was won. The Oldham midfield looked pretty poor to me and where we tried to play it around, the passes from your midfield were speculative and hopeful.
“We thought in the first half, Oldham players looked reluctant to shoot despite plenty of opportunities. I have to be honest, I don’t think anyone stood out for Oldham.”
Oldham will hope that their promising away draw at Charlton in midweek will spur them on for improved performances in a trio of games away from Boundary Park. Firstly, fringe players have an opportunity to impress at Fleetwood in the EFL Trophy, before tricky league fixtures at Gillingham and Bolton.
Steve Robinson believes his team are scared to play infront of (quite rightly) disgruntled home fans. Whatever the excuse, improved performances are required quickly.
Colin says: “It’s the Checkatrade Trophy away at Posh for MK Dons next. I don’t like the new format, it’s a disaster. Then it’s a home tie on Sunday on Sky against Port Vale to see if we can beat our home lean spell before a trip to league leaders Scunthorpe.”
Thanks to Colin for his insight both before and after the game, and good luck to MK Dons for the rest of the season.
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