Paul Green and Ryan McLaughlin scored their first goals for Oldham as John Sheridan’s side recorded a crucial 2-0 win over Peterborough infront of a packed Boundary Park. Over 7,000 took advantage of free tickets, and were treated to an impressive attacking performance which moved the club to three points from safety with a game in hand.
7,224 packed into Boundary Park. [Credit: Oldham Athletic]
Here, with help from Posh fan Adam, I look at the talking points from the game and the standout players. I’ll also look at what’s next for both teams, and see whether Oldham’s free ticket offer will pay off.
For the first time, I’ve teamed up with Trust Oldham for a regular matchday blog with player ratings. Take a look here.
Story of the Game:
Oldham started the game brightly, and in truth Peterborough never really threatened. An Ollie Banks free-kick was deflected just wide, before Banks released Ryan McLaughlin who held the ball up before his shot was also deflected agonisingly wide.
Banks’ floated set pieces were causing trouble all night, and a loose ball from his corner eventually found captain Peter Clarke, who fired a shot over the bar on the turn.
If the first half performance was solid, John Sheridan’s half time tactical changes turned the game totally in his side’s favour. One of those changes saw McLaughlin playing in a wider role and he immediately created problems alongside Ryan Flynn.
Peterborough’s defence was struggling with the pair’s direct running as they earned a number of corners and free kicks. From one, Peter Clarke’s header was cleared off the line, and Peterborough’s physical approach saw multiple penalty appeals denied by the referee.
Paul Green celebrates giving Oldham the lead. [Credit: Alan Howarth].
On 68 minutes, Anthony Gerrard was hauled down from another Banks corner, but as the referee again shook his head, Flynn took up possession and put a cross into McLaughlin who’s shirt was clearly being pulled. The penalty was finally given, and Paul Green stepped up to send Posh ‘keeper Luke McGee the wrong way.
Latics pushed for a second as Boundary Park was buoyed by Green’s penalty. First, the impressive Aaron Holloway chested down a corner and sent a fierce volley inches over the bar. Then, a driving run from Flynn found Banks in space 12 yards out, but the shot was weak and straight at McGee.
The second goal eventually came though, as Gerrard’s searching long ball found Holloway who held up play well before sending a pinpoint ball over to the onrushing McLaughlin for a simple tap in.
Latics had no trouble seeing out the win, despite Peterborough’s Marcus Maddison smashing the bar with an impressive 30-yard shot in the final minute.
How did the teams perform?
Oldham were positive in attack, and solid in defence. For once, they took the game to the opposition and won the midfield battle. Ousmane Fane, Paul Green and Ollie Banks all put shifts in, and were supported well by fullbacks Brian Wilson and Jamie Reckord to provide width.
At the back, Peter Clarke and Anthony Gerrard showed their experience and let nothing past them, and both were threats from Banks’ set pieces. Upfront, while McLaughlin and Flynn had quiet first halves, Sheridan’s half time instructions to press more and run at Peterborough changed the game. Both players drove the team forward, and were well supported by the midfield and Holloway upfront.
Peterborough manager Grant McCann said his team folded, and put in a worse performance to last week’s 5-1 defeat at Bury. Adam said: “Oldham performed better on the night but we didn’t show up at all. That’s not the Peterborough United I know.”
“Although in the first half when you had a few chances I didn’t feel threatened that much and didn’t think we’d concede. You did however take your second goal very well after awful defending by us.”
“Unfortunately if I was an Oldham fan I wouldn’t take much confidence because we played like a pub side”
Who Stood Out?
All 11 of Oldham’s players can be proud of their performances. If that level of effort and commitment remains for the rest of the season, the team stands a good chance of surviving relegation.
While McLaughlin and Green will take deserved headlines for their goals and all round contributions, credit must go to Brian Wilson, Ryan Flynn and Aaron Holloway for solid performances.
For individual player ratings, see my Trust Oldham Matchday Blog.
In last week’s home win over Gillingham, Latics faced a team with talented individuals who failed to turn up, the prime example being Bradley Dack. This week, Peterborough’s squad was guilty of exactly the same. Marcus Maddison, Tom Nichols, Chris Forrester and Gwion Edwards are all top League One players, but none looked like troubling the home defence.
Adam says: “Nobody stood out for Peterborough. Maybe the ref for blowing at every single opportunity!”
Oldham: Ripley; Wilson, Clarke, Gerrard, Reckord; Fane, Green, Banks, Flynn; Holloway (N’Goo 89), McLaughlin (McKay 89)
Peterborough: McGee; Smith, Tafazolli, Ball, Hughes; Bostwick, Forrester, Edwards (Da Silva Lopes 60), Maddison; Nichols (Morias 73), Angol (Taylor 59)
Peterborough go back to the drawing board, and Grant McCann won’t stand for another performance like Tuesday. Posh have 5 of the next 7 games at home, including Saturday’s big game against MK Dons. Adam says: “Peterborough and MK are only 50 miles apart, and we need to bounce back. I’m currently hurting badly after Tuesday night so I’m expecting a performance. I walked out after 85 minutes and I never leave early.”
For Oldham, Bradford are the next visitors to Boundary Park, and the club will surely hope for another big crowd after Tuesday’s offer doubled the season’s average gate. After that is a must-win game at fellow strugglers Chesterfield. Latics missed the chance to overtake Shrewsbury last week, so wins against Chesterfield and bottom side Coventry in February are crucial.
Sheridan celebrates as Latics go 2 goals up. [Credit: @JeroneHJFC]
With two home wins from two since Sheridan’s return, and three clean sheets at Boundary Park in succession, Latics will give themselves a fighting chance if they maintain their strong home form in 2017. With the club trying various tactics to get fans back to Boundary Park, the truth is only a winning team will see attendances rise again.
Tuesday saw a feel-good atmosphere at Oldham, and the sight of a full Jimmy Frizzell Stand jumping to cheer two deserved goals is something that’s been missing at the club for years. Yes, the free tickets helped, but having a committed team fighting for every tackle and driving forward will be the main factor that persuades stay-aways to return.
Credit should go to the club for recent decisions. Temporarily lowering prices to £15, bringing back John Sheridan and opening the turnstiles for free won’t have come cheap – but it shows the club are finally fighting to regain the relationship between the club and the fans. Now, it’s up the Sheridan and his side to do their part of the bargain and stay up against the odds again.
If they manage it, who knows? Whatever happens, the early signs of 2017 are that Oldham won’t be going down to League Two without a fight, and surely that’s all that fans ask for?
Thanks to Adam for his opinions, and good luck to Peterborough for the rest of the season.
Note: There will be no Post-Match Verdict or Trust Oldham Matchday Blog for Saturday’s visit of Bradford, but both will resume for the crucial home game against Coventry on February 11th.