Town 2 Oldham Athletic 0Full-time: 2-0
In the end the game had a low key feel to it but for Town it could be an important one with a home win, a clean sheet and the return of both Wesolowski and Knight-Percival to first team action.
As the game wore on Town grew more and more in confidence and were keeping the ball well and making Oldham do all the running. Town's passing was good and they were moving the ball quickly and with confidence looking to get on the attack whenever they could.
Micky Mellon waited until the 66th minute to make his first change with Shaun Whalley coming in to replace Liam McAlinden, and then minutes later it was the turn of Liam Lawrence to come on to replace James Wesolowski who left the field from applause from both sets of fans. The minutes later it was Mat Salder's turn to come into the action replacing Nat Knight-Percival, both he and Weso looked pleased with their first run out since returning from injury.
On the hour mark Town again played some good quick attacking football, this time Barnett received the ball on the edge of the box but showed good awareness to keep the ball going into the run of Patterson, he in turned a lovely curling ball that Barnett slide into put home but was inches away from connecting.
It was Town who were putting in the better of the attacking performances and there was good running from Barnett, McAlinden, Clark and Brown to create a string of good openings. At the other end Oldham created some openings and some good ones at that, the best when Philiskirk found the space to get in behind Grandison but the Town centre-back recovered well and hooked in a well timed challenge to come away with the ball.
Town grabbed a second goal 5 minutes into the half after good work from the front two, McAlinden did well to close down the Oldham defence and forced them into a mistake, Barnett nicked in to gain possession and then nicked ball past Cornell before sliding the ball into the empty net to make it 2-0 to Town.
There was a heart in mouth moment in the Town defence after the ball dropped to Grandison, he smashed a clearance down field but it hit an Oldham players behind and the ball rebounded back toward the Town goal leaving Leutwiler rooted to the spot but luckily it was wide of the goal.
There was a great chance to add a second just before the half-time break after good work from McAlinden to win a corner. Clark looped a high ball into the back post there was Mark Ellis in space to get his header in, but it was wide of the back post and from Ellis' reaction he knew he should have done better.
Town got their noses in front on 39 minutes when another quick Town break saw the ball with Jordan Clark down the middle, he had Barnett to his right and McAlinden to his left and it was McAlinden that Clark fed, and he made no mistake with a great finish from just inside the box that gave Cornell no chance.
On the half-hour mark Town had their best chance with a neat counter attack, the ball was moved quickly down the left with Brown, he came inside and then put a low ball across the Oldham box to set-up Barnett, he got in his shot but it took a deflection to put it behind for a Town corner.
Town were doing well closing down and harrying the visitors and Barnett and then Agogo showed good anticipation to get their bodies in to nick the ball away. Around the Town goal Oldham were starting to get more possession and get into dangerous areas but when called upon Barnett and then Junior Brown got in some important blocks.
The better of the chances were dropping to the home side and again it was Barnett who was causing the problems, this time getting a foot in to stab the ball past Cornell who had been quick off his line but an Oldham player got back in the nick of time to clear the danger.
Town had a good chance in the opening minutes after good work from McAlinden and Clark saw the ball threaded through to put Barnett in on goal, he put in a decent low shot but Cornell stuck out a foot to block, the ball dropped to Clark but again Cornell was there to deny Town.
Micky Mellon changes his side around but sticks with the 3-5-2 formation that Town have been playing in recent weeks. With only five spaces on the bench it means a few names are missing from the Town team tonight.
: 1,817 (with 133 from Oldham) Attendance
Fourth Official - Robert Merchant
Assistant Referee 2 - Robert Jones
Assistant Referee 1 - Kevin Mattocks
- Stephen Martin Referee
: Joel Coleman, Jack Truelove Subs
: David Cornell, Connor Brown (Rhys Murphy 61), Timothee Dieng, James Wilson (c), Lee Croft, Mike Jones, Danny Philliskirk, George Green (Jack Tuohy 84), Rhys Turner (Jonathan Forte 70), Mark Yeates, George Edmundson Oldham Athletic
: Mark Halstead, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro Subs
: Jayson Leutwiler, Jermaine Grandison, Junior Brown, James Wesolowski (c ( Liam Lawrence 70) Mark Ellis, Abu Ogogo, Liam McAlinden (Shaun Whalley 66), Nathaniel Knight-Percival (Mat Sadler 77), Jordan Clark, Tyrone Barnett, Sam Patterson Town