In a series of ongoing match and player reviews, Trust Oldham are delighted to team up with our guest contributor Joe Bray (@_joebray on Twitter, oafc-latics on owtb.co.uk). He posts a full match report on his blog https://joeoafc.wordpress.com with a concise version only available here.
Matchday Blog – Bolton Wanderers.
The ‘Shezzurection’ is on again, after Latics moved six points clear of relegation with an impressive win over second placed Bolton Wanderers. Lee Erwin scored the goal after Michael N’Goo’s clumsy red card.
Bolton had chances to get something from the game, hitting the bar twice and forcing two goal-line clearances, but Latics held on for an unlikely win.
I’ve reviewed the game, with the help of a Bolton fan, on my blog. Take a look:
Just like the Sheffield United and Fleetwood games, I’d have easily taken a point before this game. But Latics had taken four points from those matches, so a point was definitely realistic. Now, John Sheridan’s men have seven points from three home games against the Top 3, surely more than even Sheridan himself was planning for.
Lee Erwin got the goal – just – to continue his fine goalscoring form, but this was another win achieved through a real team effort. Ryan McLaughlin made two clearances off the line, and Connor Ripley made his customary important save as Bolton searched for an equaliser. Luck was also on Latics’s side as the visitors twice hit the bar.
At the back, young Jamie Stott was thrown into the starting line-up after an injury to Anthony Gerrard. It might have been his professional debut, but Stott looked like he’d been playing League One football for years. The defence has been solid all season, and with Stott and George Edmundson in reserve the future looks bright.
Infront of the back four, Ousmane Fane, Paul Green and Ollie Banks outran their higher-paid opponents. The trio have all improved under Sheridan, and have played a key part in keeping Latics clear of relegation.
Upfront, Michael N’Goo was the only downside to the afternoon. For a 6-foot-something striker, he barely won a header and was slow with everything he did. Two clumsy tackles saw him sent off which could have cost Latics the chance of a result. Saying that, I thought Bolton’s tactics of surrounding the referee to influence the red card was shocking. Justice was done though, as two of the main culprits – Mark Howard and Jay Spearing –gifted Latics the winning goal.
PLAYER RATINGS – OUT OF TEN
Connor Ripley – 7
One more clean sheet will give Ripley the club record, and this was another impressive performance. Bolton rarely tested him, but when he was called upon he made important second half saves.
Brian Wilson – 8
Wilson barely put a foot wrong, again, and dealt with Bolton’s talented attack with ease. Surely a contender for Player of the Season alongside Peter Clarke and Connor Ripley.
Peter Clarke – 7
Adam Le Fondre isn’t an easy opponent to play against, but Clarke shut him out of the game. Another captain’s performance.
Jamie Stott – 8
Thrown in at the last minute, Stott was impressive and looked like a seasoned professional, especially when moved to left-back after N’Goo’s sending off.
Ryan McLaughlin – 8
Quiet first half, but two important goal-line blocks, including a header that saw him clattered into the far post.
Ollie Banks – 8
Played it simple, and did the hard running that Bolton’s midfield weren’t prepared to do. His set pieces were better than recent weeks too.
Paul Green – 8
Whatever John Sheridan has said to Paul Green since January, it has worked. He’ll support the attack, mop up for the defence, and run like a 20-year-old.
Ousmane Fane – 8 – Man of the Match.
Fane is another player much improved under Sheridan, and this was one of his best performances yet. He was everywhere, and took the pressure off the defence when Bolton were pushing for an equaliser.
Tope Obadeyi – 7
Struggled to mark Filipe Morais in the first half, but improved after the break and was a threat when moved upfront following N’Goo’s red. His cross forced the goal, and he nearly sealed the points with a bursting run later on.
Lee Erwin – 7
After a quiet first half, Erwin kept possession well in the second half and deserved his goal. He should have scored his one-on-one minutes before though.
Michael N’Goo – 5
Barely won a header, took too long to pass when he did get possession, and then made two needless challenges to earn a red card. After giving away a penalty against Millwall and now getting a stupid red, Sheridan might not turn to N’Goo again.
Manager – John Sheridan – 8
Latics were hard to break down in the first half, and Sheridan didn’t fold after going down to ten men. Instead, he moved to four at the back, and stuck with two upfront. The changes worked, and Sheridan masterminded the most impressive three points of the season.
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