MATCH REPORT: Fleetwood 1 Oldham 1
Fleetwood Town picked up another vital point in their fight for survival as they drew 1-1 with fellow strugglers Oldham at Highbury.
Stefan Scougall scored his first goal for the club in the 67th minute after Wes Burns teed him-up.
It was a good bit of refereeing by Graham Salisbury who allowed play to go on after Burns was felled on the right wing. Burns seized the initiative with the defender waiting for a whistle that never came and raced on before whipping the ball in towards Scougall who calmly lifted the ball over Joel Coleman.
But the 10 minutes after the opening goal where to be Town’s downfall as Oldham peppered Chris Maxwell’s goal and pressed for an equaliser.
Fleetwood failed to clear their lines as Maxwell made a tremendous one-handed save to tip Curtis Main’s header away but John Sheridan’s hungry men pounced on the rebound with captain Liam Kelly on hand to just get the ball over the line.
Fleetwood captain Nathan Pond desperately tried to clear the ball off the line but his efforts were in vain as it just squeezed over the line.
The point leaves Fleetwood two points above Blackpool (who currently occupy the last relegation spot) with a game in hand.
They are still 19th in the League One table and level on points with Shrewsbury and a point behind the Latics.
Town boss Steven Pressley named an unchanged side for the third game in a row.
His men did everything right in the first half, except bag an all important goal.
They were nearly punished for missing several opportunities as Oldham were controversially not awarded a penalty just before the break.
Conor McLaughlin appeared to foul Jonathan Forte in the box but as they both fell to the floor the referee waved away Oldham’s claim.
Fleetwood made a bright start, Scougall’s cross was just deflected with Bobby Grant waiting at the back stick and Burns looked to be one-on-one with Coleman but his first touch was too heavy and flew straight to Coleman as Fleetwood used their pace to get in behind Oldham early in the first half.
Sarcevic pounced on a poor clearance from Burns’ right wing cross at the top of the box and he drilled the ball towards the far corner but Coleman dived low to his right and held the ball.
Conor McLaughlin’s cross from the right was just punched away by a back peddling Coleman with Antoni Sarcevic lingering at the back stick and Town had three successive corners from that clearance.
The first too were put back out of play by the Latics but Burns’ final corner just missed the head of Pond at the back post.
And the lively Burns nearly opened the scoring from another Town counter-attack in the 27th minute.
The ball was launched from deep to Burns who cut inside and fizzed the ball towards the corner. The keeper was unsighted until the last second by the two defenders Burns had used as a shield and curled the ball round but Coleman dived to his right and just managed to tip the ball away.
Just moments later Bobby Grant attempted the spectacular from distance once again but unlike last Saturday at Southend when his magnificent 30-yard strike flew into the top corner his thunderous effort blazed wide of the right stick.
Oldham could have had a penalty in the 40th minute. Oldham pounced on Bell’s loose pass out from the back and Lee Croft slipped the ball into the box for Jonathan Forte to run on too, he looked to be just ahead of McLaughlin, appeared to be impeded by the full-back and went down as the two raced towards the ball but as they both tumbled to the ground the referee waved away their penalty claim.
Town were straight back in the action up the other end as Sarcevic’s low effort was saved by Coleman.
It was a much scrappier start to the second 45 with both side’s misplacing passes but Fleetwood still looked in the driving seat.
Holmes-Denis had the first real effort of the half as his long range strike moved in the air before flying wide of the left stick in the 49th minute.
Oldham had a number of good chances to break the deadlock. Firstly Forte nodded wide from close range, Anthony Gerrard’s effort was cleared off the line and Curtis Main’s angled shot was deflected over from three yards by one of his own team mates who was in an offside position.
There was a bit of handbags between Jimmy Ryan and Liam Kelly after a few meaty challenges in Town’s half.
After Oldham’s purple patch Fleetwood re-grouped and managed to get Burns back in the action.
The pacey Welshman steamed down the left flank before doubling back on himself and whipping the ball in towards Bobby Grant who headed the ball over.
Town had another chance minutes later as Bobby Grant threw himself through the air to connect with McLaughlin’s right-wing cross but his diving header flew agonisingly wide of the left stick.
Burns and Scougall linked up well together to carve out a chance for Jonsson, the midfielder’s low, hard shot was fumbled by the keeper but Oldham quickly mopped up the danger.
And it was Burns and Scougall who teamed up to finally open the scoring. Burns was felled on the right wing but instead of waiting for the set-piece to be awarded he used his initiative, dusted himself down, picked up the loose ball and found Scougall in the box.
The Scot was hovering unmarked at the top of the box and he edged closer towards Coleman before coolly lifting the ball over the keeper and netting his first goal for the club.
But Fleetwood did not manage the next 10 minutes after the goal well and allowed Oldham to get on the ball and threaten them.
Oldham did have the ball in the back of the net as Main squeezed the ball home from close range but fortunately he was flagged offside and it spurred them on to launch a number of assaults on Maxwell’s goal.
The Latics claimed for another penalty in the 75th minute as Cameron Dummigan’s shot was blocked by Bell in the box but the referee rightly ruled that it had not struck Bell’s arm.
But Oldham levelled three minutes later Maxwell made a fine one handed stop as he dived to his left to stop Main’s header but the rebound was picked up by Liam Kelly and despite captain Pond’s best efforts to clear it off the line the referee ruled the ball had gone over.
It was not all Oldham as the clock ticked towards 90, a nice piece of skill by Ryan unleashed McLaughlin on the right and Bobby Grant tried to convert the cross home with an overhead kick but his acrobatic attempt sailed wide of the left stick.
Fleetwood: Maxwell, McLaughlin, Jordan, Pond, Bell, Jonsson, Sarcevic, Ryan, Scougall (Ball, 85), Burns, B Grant. Subs not used: Gogic, Forbes, Hunter, Nilsson, T Grant, Cole.
Oldham: Coleman, Dieng, Wilson, Kelly, Croft, Forte (Cassidy, 79), Gerrard, Holmes-Dennis, Wilson (Brown, 54), Main, Dummigan. Subs not used: Mills, Poleon, Cornell, Edmondson, Touhy.
Referee: Graham Salisbury (Lancashire)