Oldham’s disappointing campaign reached a new low on Saturday as they sank to bottom of the league after defeat to in-form Southend. Nile Ranger and Jermaine McGlashan scored in both halves to extend Southend’s unbeaten run to 10 games, while Oldham have now failed to score in 13 of 21 league games.
Latics will now spend Christmas at the foot of League One as the country’s lowest scorers, having now won only one of 10 home games this season and scoring in just two. Manager Stephen Robinson was thrown in at the deep end over the summer, but yet again showed he doesn’t know how to turn around his side’s fortunes.
Here, with help from Southend fan Deano (@deanallum), I look at the key talking points from Saturday’s game, and where both sides go from here.
Story of the Game:
Chances were shared early on, with Southend’s Stephen McLaughlin striking over before Billy McKay forced a save from Mark Oxley. The visitors took the lead on 18 minutes as controversial striker Nile Ranger sent a message to critics of his recent court appearance by acrobatically hooking a corner past Connor Ripley.
Latics stumbled towards the break, and reacted by bringing Carl Winchester and Lee Croft on at half-time for the tired pair of Ryan McLaughlin and Paul Green. Robinson had hinted at resting the pair, while praising Winchester and Croft for their impact in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy win at Walsall, so the double change meant Latics lined up as they should have done from the start.
The substitutes had the desired effect, with Ollie Banks, Ryan Flynn, Peter Clarke and Freddie Ladapo all having shots on goal. However, Southend made Oldham pay for failing to take their chances, as Jermaine McGlashan stole the ball from Banks with 15 minutes remaining, before racing clear and sliding past Ripley at the second attempt.
The goal secured the points for Southend, and the margin of victory could have been greater had Ripley not tipped Anthony Wordsworth’s free kick past the post.
Deano says: “I think 2-0 was probably a fair result on chances looking back on the game as a whole. I think also we just have a winning mentality about us at the moment and the reverse for Oldham.”
How did the teams perform?
Oldham, again, lacked any attacking intent. This result was their fourth 2-0 reverse at home already this campaign, and all have followed the same structure – a lacklustre first half followed by more effort after the break before the visitors seal the game. The fact that Robinson has failed to prevent the same mistakes from happening must say a lot about his management.
Latics’ performance was summed up by Carl Winchester’s teasing second half cross, where any touch would have secured an equaliser. However, striker Billy McKay was nowhere to be seen.
The visitors were professional in their performance, and took their chances when they came. However a better team could, and should, have taken the game to them.
Deano says: “I thought Southend played well in parts of game but at 1-0 up didn’t kill the game off until late and in the past have been made to pay. As for Oldham I saw some of your FA Cup tie the other night and again today, I just think it’s a confidence thing and a couple of wins can turn things round.”
Who stood out?
For Oldham, only Lee Croft can really come out of the game with any credibility, and perhaps fellow substitute Carl Winchester. Even reliable captain Peter Clarke and keeper Connor Ripley had off-days, allowing Southend to take control of the game. Paul Green, taken off at half time, was anonymous yet again, while Billy McKay was another who failed to make any impact.
The visitors, on the other hand, were confident and were good value for their win. Goal scorers Ranger and McGlashan deserved their goals and were dangerous in each half they played.
Deano says: “Think Banks for you looks a fair player and for us Wordsworth in midfield is a key player who gets forward from midfield and chips in with goals.”
Oldham are in desperate need of a win to kickstart a run that would give them a chance of staying up. However, difficult trips to Sheffield United and Fleetwood await over Christmas, followed by a home game against Port Vale on January 2nd.
If Latics are to get out of their predicament, some sort of change is needed. Manager Robinson is under pressure get performances to match his pre-match promises that rarely materialise, and his players need to deliver 100% effort at the very least – something which has been lacking throughout the season. However, players can’t be added in January until a transfer embargo is lifted.
Not many would complain if Robinson was replaced, but the problems at Oldham are much deeper than the manager. Should Robinson leave, the chances of chairman Simon Corney appointing the experienced manager required to improve results and morale around the club are slim. Whatever happens, if the current uninspiring manager, under-performing players, and unambitious chairman remains, then League Two beckons.
Southend go into a Christmas period in good form, and face tough home games against Wimbledon and Charlton before a New Year’s trip to Swindon. Deano says: “Coming to halfway point and having played most teams there’s not many teams that have outclassed us. I think top 2 is asking a lot but if we can keep key players fit then we have as good as chance as any of making play-offs.”
Thanks to Deano for offering his view on the match, and good luck to Southend for the rest of the season.