Town progress to the semi-finals of the Checkatrade Trophy
Town: Dean Henderson, Max Lowe (Alex Rodman 72), Mat Sadler ©, Omar Beckles, Shaun Whalley, Arthur Gnahoua (Louis Dodds 63), James Bolton, Bryn Morris, Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala, Stefan Payne (Lenell John-Lewis 90)
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Joe Riley, Carlton Morris, Louis Dodds, Lenell John-Lewis, Alex Rodman, John McAtee
Oldham Athletic: Johnny Placide, Brian Wilson, Dan Gardner, Craig Davies, Aaron Holloway (Courtney Duffus 82), George Edmundson, Ben Pringle, Jack Byrne, Tom Hamer (Cameron Dummigan 57), Mohamed Maouche (Ryan McLaughlin HT), Kean Bryan
Subs: Zeus De La Paz, Cameron Dummigan, Kundai Benyu, Ryan McLaughlin, Courtney Duffus, Gevaro Nepomuceno, Tope Obadeyi
Referee: Darren Handley
Assistants: Ian Smedley and David Plowright
Fourth Official: Mark Heywood
Attendance: 1984 (269)
Alex Rodman’s late goal helped Town to the semi-final of the Checkatrade Trophy thanks to a 2-1 victory over Oldham Athletic. Earlier Town had scored their fastest goal at the Montgomery Waters Meadow when Stefan Payne neatly finished Arthur Gnahoua’s cross 16 seconds into the game. Oldham then hit back in the 67th minute through Aaron Holloway, but Rodman struck 3 minutes from time as Town moved one step away from a Wembley final.
Paul Hurst makes five changes from the side that drew two-all with Doncaster Rovers on Saturday. Abu Ogogo is given the night off, whilst Luke Hendrie is cup tied and Ben Godfrey is suspended. Alex Rodman and Carlton Morris are handed spots on the bench. The five to come in are James Bolton, Omar Beckles, Bryn Morris, Arthur Gnahoua and Stefan Payne. It meant that Town started with a 4-4-1-1 formation with Arthur Gnahoua in the number 10 position and Max Lowe on the left-wing.
Many fans were still taking their seats when Town took the lead just 16 seconds into the game. After OIdham took the kick-off Town managed to work the ball out to the right-hand side with Arthur Gnahoua and his low cross was met by Stefan Payne who swept it home right-footed into the bottom corner from 15 yards.
Despite the explosive start the game, the next 10 minutes were far quieter as both sides felt each other out. That was until Town had two good efforts in quick succession as first Arthur Gnahoua tested Johnny Placide from inside the box, after a neat passing move, and then Bryn Morris shot over from just outside the box, after being played in by Jon Nolan.
It wasn’t until the 25th minute that the visitors had any meaningful shot at Dean Henderson’s goal. It came from the Oldham playmaker Jack Byrne who let go of a drive from a couple of yards outside the box, but his shot went inches wide of the right-hand post.
Oldham’s first shot on target also came from Byrne as he cut in from the left and unleashed a powerful effort that Henderson could only collect at the second attempt. However, Town broke quickly from Henderson’s throw out and Shaun Whalley was denied by a brilliant block as his curling left-footed effort looked destined for the far corner.
The visitors were building into the game and were starting to put together the more incisive moves. One such move allowed Craig Davies to get in behind after outmuscling Mat Sadler, but Dean Henderson was able to keep out his shot.
At the other end, Arthur Gnahoua fluffed his lines after some good hold-up play from Stefan Payne allowed Gnahoua some space on the edge of the box, but the ball was on his weaker right foot and the shot went well wide.
The second-half almost mirrored the first when with 47 seconds on the clock Arthur Gnahoua danced down the left before putting in a wicked cross for Stefan Payne who was all alone in the six yard box, but he couldn’t make the desired connection with his stooping heading and the ball went well wide of the post.
The next chance fell the way of a surprising source as Omar Beckles slashed wide from eight yards. Some neat build-up play from Stefan Payne and Arthur Gnahoua presented Beckles with the chance at the far post, but he slashed at the shot.
Town fans then thought their side had doubled their lead as Shaun Whalley teed up Jon Nolan in the box, but the ginger haired midfielder hit the side netting, rather than the target.
The home side were now well on top with Oldham struggling to get out of their own half and another free flowing passing move, which involved around five or six Town players, provided Shaun Whalley with a chance to shoot, but Brian Wilson managed to get in a last ditch block to take it behind for a corner.
With just less than 30 minutes remaining Paul Hurst turned to his bench for the first time in the evening as he replaced Arthur Gnahoua with Louis Dodds.
However, with 67 minutes on the clock it was Oldham who got themselves back into the game. Town failed to deal with Jack Byrne’s looping free-kick and with the ball bouncing around in the box Aaron Holloway was able to stop home into the bottom corner.
It was now the away side that were making all the running and Dean Henderson had to make a couple of decent saves to first keep out a close range header from Holloway and then to palm away Dan Gardner’s shot from distance.
In response to the equaliser Hurst decided to make his second change of the evening and this time it was an attacking one as he brought on Alex Rodman in place of the more defensive Max Lowe on the left-wing.
Town were next to have a meaningful effort at goal as Louis Dodds took a pot-shot after Omar Beckles held the ball up well from a free-kick, but his left-footed effort flew well wide of Johnny Placide’s right-hand post.
Dean Henderson was then called into action when Oldham took a free-kick short and Town were slow to react, allowing Jack Byrne to try his luck from 25 yards. His shot travelled with pace towards the top right hand corner, but Henderson tipped it round the post at full stretch.
With less than three minutes to go Town scored what would prove to be the winner and it was a goal worthy of winning any match. Bryn Morris started the move inside the Town half and it got worked out to the left-hand side with Alex Rodman. Rodman then used Beckles who played it into the feet of Jon Nolan in the box and Nolan linked-up brilliantly with Rodman, who skipped away from a defender before shooting past Johnny Placide from near the penalty spot.
Lenell John-Lewis was then brought on in place of Stefan Payne to help wear down the clock and Town saw out stoppage time with relative ease as they moved one step away from Wembley.