Oldham Athletic v Newport County
8th September 2018 k.o 3:00pm
Sky Bet Football League Two
Report from Mark Vickery at Boundary Park
Oldham Athletic 0
Newport County 1 (Bakinson 69)
Newport County LWWDWWLW
Oldham Athletic LDLWdWWL
Bakinson strike edges tight game
Both sides are missing players and will need to adapt. Expecting Oldham to come out and force issue so key County remain resolute and pick holes.
Cool, rain on and off with keen breeze. Pitch in decent condition but glossy on top.
OUR PERFORMANCE IN ONE STATEMENT
Resilient when under pressure, kept composure to use ball effectively but restricted on chances.
Oldham missed opportunity early in second half was defining but important nevertheless.
County were forced into one change with Mark Harris on Welsh U21 duty and he was replaced by Jamille Matt up top. Oldham started with purpose forcing County back with some direct runs and they had appeals for a penalty turned down on 2 minutes when Lang made a strong run down the left side of the area and went down meekly inside the box but there was minimal contact. Oldham threw a couple of early crosses into the area with Surridge make some strong runs and he was on the end of heavy collision inside the six yard box on 4 minutes and received attention for a nose injury. Oldham kept plugging away offering plenty of energy and Lang was checked crudely by Franks on 7 minutes to deny him progressing his run down the middle which saw him booked. The game remained competitive especially in the middle of the pitch with County not shirking in the challenges but Oldham keen to press play and deny time to play. County were finding it difficult to make the ball stick in the final third with Matt and Amond not always on the same wavelength and Oldham were quick to snap up possession and counter. Oldham were direct on times with some testing balls forward to pinpoint ex-Chesterfield striker Chris O’Grady and Surridge remained a threat with his runs in behind but Bennett and Demetriou were vigilant denying opportunities to shoot. County had a better spell of possession midway through the first half shifting the ball lower to move Oldham across the pitch. Oldham continued to probe away in the final third and were rewarded with a few corners which County dealt well with. Oldham made efforts to pass across the pitch with a lot going through Gardner who had an eye for a neat pass but County kept their focus well clearing danger in behind. On 30 minutes, Oldham had a glimmer of a chance when they worked an efficient move left side orchestrated by full back Taylor. He cut back a neat ball to the edge of the area which Lang again anticipated with a late run but he poked a somewhat rushed low drive from 20 yards which Day read well. County kept their defensive shape well and were encouraged to push on creating a couple of a decent chances. On 35 minutes, County close to forcing ahead when they worked an excellent move shifting play well from right to left. Butler was bold carrying his run down the left side of the area and he clipped over a decent cross which was retrieved deep by Bakinson. He set up Sheehan for an overlapping run down the right side of the box and his drive from an acute angle was beaten away by De La Paz. County had another decent situation moments later when they caught Oldham sleeping when Dolan played a quick free kick to Matt near the edge of the area. He caressed a good ball for Amond who flicked a smart pass for Franks and his first time effort from 14 yards which was push away by De La Paz. The game remained tight as half time approached especially in the middle with Gardner picking out some of the better passes for Oldham with good vision.
County came for the second half offering more determination to retain possession and work Oldham about the pitch. On 47 minutes, Dolan whipped in a direct free kick from the left side well inside the Oldham half which Demetriou met strongly in the air from 8 yards despite being under pressure forcing De La Paz to tip over the bar. On 50 minutes, Oldham had a corner on the right side which captain Clarke met well in the air but Demetriou did enough to put him off and the header from 10 yards flashed wide of the right post. Oldham continued to pick holes using their left flank well and created a bright move on the break on 55 minutes when Bakinson lost the ball cheaply in the middle. Gardner was quick to pick out the run of the Lang left side and Amond did well to track back and put pressure on his back with a low shot come cross flash wide of the right post. Oldham were buoyed on by their approach play and were snapping at County heels and created another good opportunity on 58 minutes. Taylor made a penetrating run on the left flank exploiting some space offered by County and he chipped back a deft cross into the box which Branger anticipated well from a late run but his header from 10 yards was saved well in the left corner by Day. County made efforts to pick up their game and with Oldham pressing play hard up the pitch there were holes developing especially down the flanks. On 69 minutes, County took the lead from such a situation with Butler alive to the loose ball and he made a spritely run left flank before measuring a superb pass in behind to pick the run of Bakinson. He showed pace to carry the ball beyond the right back Hunt who was left exposed and despite Clarke coming across to intercept right side of the box, Bakinson showed great composure to finish low into the right corner from 10 yards from a wide angle. Oldham cranked up the pressure again adding to the corner count but County kept their focus clearing well under pressure and Day forced into some good punches. County made a change on 75 minutes with Matt being replaced by Marsh-Brown and Oldham responded with Baxter on for O’Grady up front. On 77 minutes, Oldham caught County napping when Gardner slipped a quick lofted chip down the middle and Baxter carried his run goalside glancing a header wide of the right post from 8 yards. On 78 minutes, with Oldham somewhat exposed at the back, Marsh-Brown did well to pressurise Clarke who was casual trying to back pass but the ball was left short and Marsh-Brown stole the ball ahead of keeper De La Paz but he overran the ball for a goal kick. On 80 minutes, Butler was booked for County for delaying a quickly taken throw with Oldham eager to get on with the game. Oldham persisted with attacking the left side with Taylor pushing well inside the County half. On 82 minutes, Taylor did well to provide a cross from the left side of the box which Branger again met stealing in with a late run but his header from 12 yards was wide of left post and bar. County made a defensive change with 5 minutes left introducing defender Mark O’Brien for Josh Sheehan and Oldham made two late substitutions with Missilou and Branger replaced by Mauoche and Benteke. County were happy to retain the ball and play on the counter in the five minutes of injury and they worked extremely hard to close down and restrict chances. Oldham kept plugging away with both full backs committed forward. Mauoche was eager to make an impression and went close deep in injury time when he addressed a low shot from 25 yards which Day read well parrying to safety. County held on to gain the first league win over Oldham since 1969 and got a warm applause for their efforts.
Day (8) – under pressure with some crosses but good decision making on when to punch and handle. Kicked well from several passes back and made some good saves second half
Pipe (7) – stood up to several raids Oldham made left side and got to the loose ball to clear danger and read game well. Forced back second half and maintained defensive focus
Butler (8) – did well in the air and was brave on several key challenges. Had to defend for large parts to defend but did have some bright moments coming forward and set up goal.
Demetriou (7) – asked questions in the air but made some firm headers to clear danger. generally dealt well with O’Grady and showed most threat from set pieces
Bennett (8) – did well in the aerial duals but his reading of the game and alertness to mop up danger was vital. Used the ball effectively when he had and kept concentration.
Franks (7) – got a bit of silly booking early on but adapted well to make some well-timed challenges and track danger forcing runners in the less threatening zones.
Bakinson (6) – will be a little disappointed with his game in the middle and got bogged down losing possession by forcing a couple of passes. Worked hard and took goal well.
Dolan (5) – competed throughout but never really allowed to settle into the game and play his passes. Provided several decent set pieces but passing was forced simple today.
Sheehan (6) – frustrating game, made several good runs to link play but was well tracked and lost out a bit in his tackles. Had a couple of decent chances inside the area squashed.
Amond (7) – restricted on chances but worked tirelessly dropping back on times second half to support defence. Made some clever runs down the middle but went unnoticed.
Matt (5) – won some headers but disjointed and unable to find Amond. Did well when he fended off challenges to link and spread play but needs to improve ball retention.
SWOT ANALYSIS OPPONENTS
Strengths – they pressed play well as a unit and were determined in midfield. Defence were dogged and full backs did well force County into a corner.
Weaknesses – centre backs were sometimes slow to react and looked vulnerable when turned. Were over reliant on crosses and direct play especially in the final stages
they gambled on pressing and often by passes the midfield and just kicked long.
Did offer more patience to work situations second half but lacked cutting edge.
Threats – Surridge was bright and lively in behind. O’Grady did well contesting across the line. Lang threat carrying ball forward and eye for goal. Branger late runs into the box.
M Heywood (7) – kept his cards in the book as much as possible. got the key decisions right and was keen to keep game flowing.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Joe Day – safe with his hands and gave assurance inside the six yard area on crosses. Made some key saves today and kept defence organised and focussed.
IF YOU WERE MICHAEL FLYNN WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
County worked like trojans today to protect their lead and despite being put under pressure by Oldham they were bright and snappy going forward but the final pass was too often left short or went out. However, this was typical dogged away performance they will need to harbour ambitions of staying in the top part of the league. Oldham gave their full backs a licence to push on which allowed their defence to push up as a unit and restrict playing space for County and you always felt today that a goal would come from a quicker measure pass in behind. County defended very well again but the central midfield were perhaps a little off the pace and not able to assert enough sustained authority. When County did keep the ball and work free kicks, they always looked capable. County need to get Matt more into the game as it was often enough for Oldham to force him to play back to goal and his influence waivered. County have the Swindon Checkatrade Trophy game up next and a chance to rest some players or experiment before the Yeovil home game. The Glovers have made a better than expected start to the season and have perhaps more energy and spark in their midfield despite not being a big side. It will be important County hold the ball and react better and don’t lose it cheaply to Yeovil who are likely to sit in and play a counter attacking game.