The first match of Pete Wilds’ second stint as Oldham Athletic Head Coach began with a win against Grimsby Town at Boundary Park. Alex Iacovitti on loan from Nottingham Forest came into the starting line up to make his debut at the expense of Rob Hunt, so allowing Gevaro Nepomuceno the chance to play in a more forward position, something that many supporters had been hoping for in the past weeks.
With Jose Baxter serving the first game of a 3 match ban the rest of the midfield was made up of Mohamed Maouche, Christopher Missilou and Johan Branger-Engone, with a strike pairing of Chris O’Grady and Callum Lang. The first half wasn’t particularly scintillating, with neither side able to achieve any real dominance.
Grimsby missed an excellent chance to take the lead on 18 minutes when Wes Thomas slipped his marker only to put his point blank header too close to Iversen who was able to produce a reflex save to tip the ball over the bar. Latics had the lions share of possession without creating many clear cut chances. Iacovitti produced a fine first half display at left back, generally solid when defending but showing a willingness to get forward when the opportunity presented itself. He very nearly scored after a neat one-two with O’Grady saw him produce a fierce left foot volley which the Grimsby keeper just managed to keep out at the near post.
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The deadlock was broken on 42 minutes when a cross from the right by Callum Lang was turned in smartly by Chris O’Grady for his 7th League goal of the season. There was still time for Nepomuceno to try his luck from 25 yards but his well hit shot was straight at the keeper.
The second half saw much better quality football from both sides and Grimsby had their two best goal scoring opportunities within a minute of each other. On 55 minutes following a corner, Woolford crashed a right footed shot against the crossbar with Iversen beaten and before the ball could be cleared properly by Athletic, Hessenthaler crossed the ball and found Öhman who’s powerful header at the far post was brilliantly kept out by Iversen.
As the second half wore on Oldham began to get a stronger hold on the game and both O’Grady and Branger-Engone had half chances to grab a second goal. It eventually came in the 77th minute when Lang rose unchallenged to head home a corner from Mohamed Maouche.
In the 88th minute Lang was denied what looked like a clear cut penalty when he was brought down, sandwiched between two Grimsby defenders but the referee waved play on.
Overall it was a satisfactory performance from Oldham who were well worth the 3 points, and it remains to be seen if Pete Wild can once again have a positive impact on the team as he did in his first spell as caretaker manager.
He’s off to a good start!
Images courtesy Grimsby Telegraph & Getty Images