Grit and determination gives Town a seventh win of the season
Shrewsbury Town: Dean Henderson, Joe Riley, Ben Godfrey, Mat Sadler, Shaun Whalley, Abu Ogogo ©, Junior Brown, Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala, Alex Rodman (Ebou Adams 91), Stefan Payne (Carlton Morris 21)
Subs: Craig MacGillivray, Omar Beckles, Carlton Morris, Louis Dodds, Arthur Gnahoua, Lenell John-Lewis, Ebou Adams
Oldham Athletic: Jack Ruddy, Anthony Gerrard, Dan Gardner (Ousmane Fane 75), Craig Davies, Ryan McLaughlin, Eoin Doyle, George Edmundson (Queensy Menig 77), Peter Clarke ©, Gevaro Nepomuceno, Jack Byrne, Kean Bryan (Tope Obadeyi 85)
Subs: Johnny Placide, Cameron Dummigan, Brian Wilson, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Queensy Menig, Ousmane Fane, Tope Obadeyi
Referee: Ben Toner
Assistants: Neil Sharp and Oliver Bickle
Fourth Official: Peter Gooch
Shrewsbury Town went five points clear at the top of League One with a hard fought win over Oldham Athletic. Town took the lead through Stefan Payne, who was injured in the process. Oldham then got one back before half-time through Craig Davies and the home side made much of the running in the second half. However, Jon Nolan struck on 65 minutes and Town held on for the victory.
It’s same again for the table toppers. Stefan Payne had been a worry after picking up a foot injury against Southend on Tuesday night, but he returned to training on Thursday and is fit enough to play. James Bolton’s knee continues to trouble him, so Joe Riley continues at right-back.
After a quiet opening 5 minutes it was Town were created the first chance of note. Shaun Whalley took a corner short to Joe Riley and Riley’s delivery caused chaos in the Oldham defence. The home team half cleared the ball, but it fell to Nolan who took the ball past a couple of defenders before having his shot blocked and Latics finally cleared the danger.
Town were certainly the more comfortable side on the ball and at times they were cutting Oldham open with ease. Abu Ogogo went close to grabbing his first goal of the season when he played a neat one-two with Payne, but his shot from the angle went well wide of the near post.
With 19 minutes on the clock Town took the lead. Some more good build-up play from the visitors allowed Riley to find space on the right and his ball into the danger area was blocked by and Oldham man but Stefan Payne was quickest to react and poke the ball home from 6 yards. Sadly for Payne he was clattered as the lunged to get the final touch and after a lengthy delay it was deemed that he wasn’t able to carry on and he was replaced by Carlton Morris.
At times it can be difficult to get back up to speed after a lengthy delay and Town were a little slow out of the blocks after the goal with Oldham having their best chance of the game when Eoin Doyle was found in a huge amount of space on the right edge of the box, but Sadler recovered to make a great block and keep out the former Cardiff City man.
Doyle had scored for Oldham in their win at Bristol Rovers in midweek and he looked to be their biggest threat. He went close for a second time when he turned away from Sadler before shooting left footed across Henderson’s goal, but the effort trickled wide.
However, the home side didn’t have to wait long to equalise and it was Doyle’s strike partner Craig Davies who scored 10 minutes before the break. Davies had been on Town’s books as a youngster and he headed home from six yards after a wicked cross by Oldham’s left wing-back Gevaro Nepomuceno.
Town hadn’t really got going since taking the lead and it was the home side who probably looked the more likely to take a lead into the break, with both Craig Davies and Kean Bryn shooting over from distance.
Half Time: 1-1
Oldham had ended the first-half brightly and they really ought to have taken the lead five minutes into the second period. A neat through ball from Davies found Doyle and the Oldham striker took the ball past the on rushing Dean Henderson but with the goal gaping he hit the post and it bounced away to safety.
Town were really struggling to cope with the two Oldham front-men and Henderson had to make himself big to keep out an effort from Davies after the ball had bounced around in the box. Davies then went close again when he lost his man at a corner, but he couldn’t get the required angle with his header.
It took a good 15 minutes for Town really get a foothold in the second half, but once they did they regained the league on 65 minutes. Alex Rodman charged down George Edmundson’s attempted clearance and then showed a cool head to cut the ball back for Jon Nolan, who took a touch before firing past Jack Ruddy for his second goal in as many games.
However, Town never really looked in full control and Craig Davies went close once more as a perfectly weighted free-kick from Jack Byrne found Davies’ head, but the effort from 10 yards went just over Dean Henderson’s bar. Henderson then had to bundle a Byrne free-kick around the post after Ben Godfrey was adjudged to have fouled the same man.
It was a really entertaining game at the SportsDirect.com Park and Oldham went close when substitute Ousmane Fane shot just wide from distance. Shaun Whalley was then denied at the other end when his shot took a deflection and also bounced just wide.
The Fourth Official showed five additional minutes and Town could have made it comfortable when Carlton Morris found himself in behind the Oldham backline, but Jack Ruddy denied the Norwich loanee.
Oldham then sprung forward, but were reduced to ten-men when Eoin Doyle mistimed a challenge on Shaun Whalley. Doyle had received a yellow card in the first-half for a dive and was forced to take a slightly early shower.
Town brought Ebou Adams on in place of Alex Rodman as they looked to run down the clock and they did so, giving them a seventh win of the season.