MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 0 Oldham 2

Uwe Rosler
Uwe Rosler

It was not just the weather which had taken a sharp turn from Saturday but the performance as Town slipped to a dreary 2-0 defeat.

Town had impressed in the surprising autumn sunshine in their 1-1 draw with Sheffield United on Saturday but as the cold nights roll in Town rolled over as Oldham eased to a 2-0 win on a cold, dark night at Highbury.

It could have been a different story had Town capitalised on their bright start as they dominated the opening 20 minutes but Martyn Woolford and debutant Kieran Wallace wasted opportunities.

Oldham punished right-back Michael Duckworth’s mistake as Ryan Flynn slipped the ball to Billy McKay in the 32nd minute and it was 2-0 six minutes later as Wallace gave too much space to Lee Erwin on the opposite flank and he fired home a left-footed beauty.

It knocked the stuffing out of a youthful Town side who never found their footing in the second half and Oldham could have added more.

Fleetwood’s crowd doubled from the small attendance that saw them beat a youthful Blackburn XI 1-0 in their opening Group D game last month but it was a less than vintage Town display.

Oldham have now moved ahead of Town in the Group D table on goal difference to second behind unbeaten League Two side Carlisle with Blackburn rock-bottom.

The Checkatrade rules state that five of the XI that started Saturday’s draw against Sheffield United must remain so Chris Neal, Ashley Eastham, David Ball, Bobby Grant, and Michael Duckworth all retained their places to fulfil the quota.

With Nathan Pond, Jimmy Ryan, Amari’i Bell, recovering duo Chris Long and Kyle Dempsey and Conor McLaughlin who is away on international duty missing out.

On-loan Blades left-back Kieran Wallace was handed his first team debut and on-loan Watford striker Alex Jakubiak was given his first start with Cian Bolger, Eggert Jonsson, Victor Nirennold and Martyn Woolford all returning to the starting line-up in a 4-4-2 formation.

Fleetwood made a lightning quick start with Woolford and Wallace both wasting good opportunities in the box.

As usual Town looked dangerous on the counter in a 4-4-2 with Grant finding full-back Wallace in space on the left flank with a sublime cross-field ball, Wallace’s first touch was just as picturesque as he outfoxed the Oldham defence but his subsequent strike crashed into the side netting.

Ball limped off just after the half hour mark with Devante Cole entering the fray but Oldham took the lead seconds later.

Ryan Flynn left Town’s defence for dust as he outfoxed Duckworth before sliding the ball to McKay in acres of space on the left who sweetly curled the ball over Neal.

Cole fired wide and up the other end Town were let-off by McKay who’s close range effort skimmed the post after Grant was dispossessed in his own box.

Lee Erwin made it 2-0 in the 38th minute as he picked up the ball, strode past Wallace who allowed him the space to take the shot and launched a Grant-esque left-footed curler home.

Rosler made a change at the break with Hunter coming on for Grant as he switched to a 4-3-3.

It was a slow start to the second 45 but Town were let off twice in the opening 15 minutes by a wasteful Oldham.

They were saved by the woodwork once again as Cameron Burgess nodded Carl Winchester’s corner into the right post and then Winchester sent a free header looping over the bar.

Erwin was booked for kicking the ball away and Rosler brought Manchester City loanee George Glendon on for Jonsson seconds later.

But it was all Oldham as Neal was forced to make a fine diving save to tip Flynn’s long range effort round the right stick.

Woolford was one of the only shining lights in a dull second half display from Town and he blasted over from the edge of the box and Oldham shot-stopper Connor Ripley was forced into a fine fingertip save to deny the midfielder from the top of the box as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

Hunter whipped a free-kick into the arms of Ripley but the the referee blew the whistle for full-time and a deserved Oldham win seconds later.

Fleetwood: Neal, Duckworth, Eastham, Bolger, Wallace, Grant (Hunter, 46), Jonsson (Glendon, 63), Nirennold, Woolford, Jakubiak, Ball (Cole, 31). Subs not used: Cairns, Davis, Roberts, Sowerby.

Oldham: Ripley, Reckord, Wilson, Burgess, Flynn, McKay (Ladapo, 77), Winchester (Banks,72), Erwin, Fane, Clarke, Green (Croft, 72). Subs: Kettings, Law, Klok, Osei.

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire)

Attendance 793.