Written by Gary Skinner
Oldham Athletic registered their first win of 2020 on Tuesday night with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over visitors Mansfield Town at Boundary Park.
Changes were made to the starting line up after the disappointing performance in the 1-1 draw at Salford on Saturday.
Straight back in at centre half came Salford loanee Carl Piergianni, allowing Tom Hamer to move to right back, and there was a debut given at left back to Cameron Borthwick-Jackson on loan from Manchester United.
In midfield Gevaro Nepomuceno started alongside Christopher Missilou, Mo Sylla and Jonny Smith.
Up front was Danny Rowe and Zack Dearnley.
Mansfield came into the game on the back of an excellent 3-0 win over promotion chasing Bradford City at the weekend.
Latics started the game brightly and on the front foot, but it wasn’t until the 15th minute before they created their first clear cut chance. Smith put a low cross in from the left that was only partially cleared and Nepomuceno’s follow up effort, although on target was hit straight at Olejnik in the Mansfield goal for a comfortable save.
Five minutes later there was another chance when Hamer’s long throw was headed back to the full back, his low cross found Wheater six yards out but his shot lacked the power to trouble the keeper.
Latics did take the lead though in the 22nd minute. Good work by Nepomuceno down the right saw him float over a cross which found its way to Jonny Smith who with pinpoint accuracy fired a left foot shot into the far corner of the goal for his 6th league goal of the season.
The home side were dominating possession, particularly in midfield, and goal opportunities were being created. Danny Rowe hit a powerful right footed effort that went just wide of the left hand post.
Latics doubled their lead after 42 minutes when a Jonny Smith corner found Tom Hamer who was able to slip his marker and divert the ball home with the outside of his boot and in off the foot of the post.
There was still time for Rowe to fire a left foot shot wide of the post before the referee blew for half time.
A half time scoreline of 2-0 certainly didn’t flatter them as they had created numerous chances in the first half.
The second half began as the first had ended, with Latics on top and pressing forward. Nepomuceno intercepted a poor cross field ball by Rose and his run from the halfway line saw him it a shot that produced a smart save by the Mansfield keeper.
The visitors had their first real chance of the game after 50 minutes when danger man Nicky Maynard played a dangerous ball across the face of goal, evading the defenders and goalkeeper but it was just out of the reach of the onrushing Hamilton.
That was Maynards last piece of action as he was substituted almost immediately afterwards. A puzzling decision given his obvious goal threat, he had bagged a hat trick in the return fixture earlier in the season in which Mansfield won 6-1.
It didn’t take long for Latics to make it 3-0, when after some good possession football from Sylla, Rowe and finally Missilou, the ball was played out wide to Nepomuceno who ran at the defenders before cutting inside and hitting a left foot shot into the far corner of the net for what was the best goal of the game.
Missilou blazed an effort over the bar from the edge of the box as Latics continued to dominate.
The midfield duo of Sylla and Missilou had been outstanding throughout the game, the latter receiving the sponsors man of the match award but Sylla could just as easily have been given it. They were backed up by solid performances by both wingers Nepomuceno and Smith, strikers Rowe and Dearnley, and Piergianni at the back seemed to win every header.
The only slight disappointment was Mansfield’s very late goal. Otis Khan turning in a cross from Riley which will have disappointed the defence in preventing them from keeping a deserved clean sheet.
All in all though a very good team performance, probably the best of the season and with the new players recently added to the squad it augurs well for the rest of the season if they can push forward with some consistency and hopefully the results will follow.
Bradford City are the visitors in the next home game and with their large away support it promises to be a good game and a good atmosphere at Boundary Park on Saturday.
Image courtesy Oldham Times