John Sheridan’s love affair with Oldham showed no signs of stopping, as Ollie Banks’ early strike gave Latics a second consecutive win in a scrappy Valentines Day clash against Charlton. Like Saturday’s win against Coventry, it wasn’t pretty, but Sheridan’s 5th win from eight games has lifted Latics to 19th, four points clear of relegation.
Charlton had plenty of chances to win the game, but a combination of poor finishing, determined defending, and bad luck prevented them from returning to South London with any points.
Here, with help from Charlton fan Richard, I look at the talking points from the game and what’s next for both sides.
For detailed player ratings, have a look at my Trust Oldham matchday blog.
Story of the Game:
Although Oldham took the lead after just three minutes, Charlton should have been ahead inside 20 seconds. Josh Magennis beat the offside trap, but blasted over with no defender in sight. Latics responded though, and a Chris Taylor pull back found Ollie Banks on the edge of the box, who fired the ball past Declan Rudd in the Charlton goal with the outside of his boot.
Charlton looked dangerous in search for an equaliser, with wingers Jordan Botaka and Stephy Mavididi causing trouble with close shots and crosses. Latics were just about holding firm though, and could have had a second when Peter Clarke’s downward header smashed against the post from a Banks corner.
At the other end, Connor Ripley saved impressively from a Ezri Konsa header as Latics took their lead into the break.
The pattern of play continued into the second half, with Magennis heading wide and Ripley keeping his side ahead with more impressive saves from Forster-Caskey, sub Lee Novak and Patrick Bauer.
Latics had chances of their own – Taylor forced a save from Rudd, and Anthony Gerrard had a couple of half chances. As Charlton pushed men forward in injury time, Aiden O’Neill could have capped off another good showing with a goal but shot over.
Charlton may have had the better chances, but Oldham took theirs and held on for their first back-to-back success of the season. They say the sign of a good team is winning when not playing at the best – and that’s two home games in four days where Latics have ground out the win.
Oldham Athletic: Ripley; Wilson, Clarke, Gerrard, Hunt; Green, Banks (Fane, 89), O’Neill, Taylor; Erwin (N’Goo, 79), McLaughlin.
Charlton Athletic: Rudd; Solly, Konza, Bauer, Chicksen; Botaka (Holmes, 59), Forster-Caskey (Watt, 79), Crofts, Aribo, Mavididi (Novak, 82); Magennis.
How the sides performed:
Just like Saturday’s important win against Coventry, Latics were second best for most of the game. But they stood up to Charlton’s attack and did what they needed to do.
Sheridan has admitted the Boundary Park pitch won’t allow his team to play ‘attractive’ football, and recent performances haven’t been won by playing the opposition off the park. Instead, Latics are battling for every ball and kept plugging away – something that just wasn’t happening before Sheridan arrived.
While the midfield of Paul Green, Aiden O’Neill and Ollie Banks worked well together and often fed strikers Lee Erwin and Ryan McLaughlin, Charlton looked most dangerous running at the defence after breaking from midfield.
Upfront, Aaron Holloway’s hold-up play was missed, but Lee Erwin tried his best to keep possession and could have increased the score with some better decision making. Michael N’Goo provided a bigger presence upfront when Charlton were pushing forward in the latter stages, and is on his way to becoming a cult hero with his unorthodox approach.
Richard says: “I thought Oldham were well organised and kept Charlton at bay . For the Addicks I felt we didn’t have the penetration up front until the last ten minutes when Ricky Holmes and Tony Watt came on . That said there should have been a penalty when Chris Solly was pulled back . We had a flurry of corners but I didn’t feel that we threatened your goal much.
Who stood out?
Goalscorer Ollie Banks was involved all night, from his well taken goal to trying to find Erwin and McLaughlin upfront. He was supported in midfield by Paul Green and Aiden O’Neill, who both continued their good performances from Saturday.
The back four faced a tough evening as Charlton forced 16 corners and multiple saves from Connor Ripley. Saying that, Peter Clarke and Anthony Gerrard dealt well with Josh Magennis upfront and could both have scored at the other end.
Upfront, Lee Erwin received a lot of ‘constructive criticism’ from the crowd, but no-one could fault his effort. He went alone twice when he should have crossed, but there was some good hold-up play and he’s obviously a player lacking in confidence.
Richard says: “Peter Clarke and Anthony Gerrard as centre backs for Oldham were sound and helped keep the Addicks at bay. Conor Ripley demonstrated what a good young keeper he is and looked in good form. David N’goo looked interesting when he came on. The crowd seem to like him. Also a mention for Ollie Banks who took his goal well.
For detailed player ratings, have a look at my Trust Oldham Matchday Blog.
Richard says: “We are back in Lancashire on Saturday when we play away at Rochdale , next Tuesday we are at home to Oxford and then your other neighbours Bury visit us at the Valley the following Saturday.
“Oldham must be pleased to win two home matches on the bounce. Just please make it three out of three against Millwall on the 25th February!”
Up next for Latics is an important trip to Swindon, who sit five points behind in 22nd place. Defeat could drag Oldham back into the relegation zone, while a win could put the club 6 points clear of the bottom four. The last two games have taken the pressure off slightly, but Latics certainly aren’t safe yet and a win over relegation rivals would do wonders for survival prospects.
After that is a tough home fixture against Millwall, before away games to midtable Northampton and Walsall.
Sheridan is targeting home wins, and admits he’s doing what he has to even if the football isn’t pretty. But in adopting a no nonsense style he’s returned organisation and character to the side, and as long as that brings wins Latics fans will be entertained regardless of style.
After half a season of no character at all in the squad, Sheridan’s honesty is exactly what Oldham need. His record of five wins from eight games has given the club a realistic chance of staying up, and long may it continue.