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15 December 2020 Venue Boundary Park Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

Latics vs. Walsall

Sky Bet League Two - Matchday 18

15 December 2020

Latics are looking to made it back-to-back wins at home as they welcome Walsall to Boundary Park (7pm KO).

Goals from Dylan Bahamboula, Carl Piergianni and Davis Keillor-Dunn propelled Oldham to just their second league win on home turf and saw them rise to 15th in the Sky Bet League Two table.

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Harry Kewell will be hoping that his side can replicate their impressive form on the round at Boundary Park and a win against Walsall could go some way to doing that.

Latics have won four out of their last five games in the league, a run that leaves them just four points off the top seven.

A win against Walsall would see Oldham leapfrog them in the table.

Form Guide

Walsall come into the game on the back of a four-game unbeaten streak, with them picking up maximum points in their last two outings.

Before picking up wins in their last two, the Saddlers had gone six games in all competitions without finding a win.

They are 11th in the Sky Bet League Two table, four places but just one point better off than Latics.

The Saddlers’ last six:

  1. Walsall 2-1 Bolton Wanderers
  2. Tranmere Rovers 1-3 Walsall
  3. Walsall 1-1 Stevenage
  4. Newport County 1-1 Walsall
  5. Cheltenham Town 3-0 Walsall
  6. Walsall 0-1 Southend United

Head-to-Head

Meetings: 60

Latics wins: 23
Walsall wins: 23
Draws: 14

For - 81
Against - 91

Last time the sides met Latics won 2-0 at Boundary Park.

The visitors were reduced to 10-men early on in the second half with Matt Sadler being sent for an early bath and the extra men advantage paid off for Latics.

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Goals from Scott Wilson and Desire Segbe Azankpo gave Oldham a 2-0 win in October 2019.

Latics have lost none of the last five games against Walsall at Boundary Park and the last time the Saddlers won in Oldham was August 2013.

Interesting Info

  • Since 2000, Latics are W14, L9 against Walsall in 30 matches.
  • At home we've P30, W14, D6, L10 with 45 for and 44 against in terms of goals.
  • There's been a couple of 8-goal matches at home, both Oldham wins (6-2 in 1966, 5-3 in 2004).
  • With one defeat in 11 at home against Walsall. There's been two defeats in all at home since 2000.
  • Matches have been tight with few goals since 2005 - an average of 2.2 goals per game (27 matches). Also an average of 3.4 before that (33 matches).
  • Walsall are in solid form too, winning and drawing two in last their last four, beating in-form Tranmere and Bolton most recently.
  • Walsall do only have one away win all season though, but also only one defeat. Becoming draw specialists (6), whereas Latics drawn only one home match all season.
  • The Saddlers have also started this season well, but had a lull before their recent four-match run. 
  • With Latics' traditional Tuesday home form taking a hit in the last few weeks (losing to Sunderland and Tranmere). But are still better on Tuesdays (W35 D17 L24 since 2010, win percentage 46%) than not on Tuesdays (W68 D62 L81, win percentage 32%).
  • On This Day: 1990 Oldham 4-1 Wolves, 2007 Millwall 2-3 Oldham, 2018 Oldham 4-2 Bury.
  • With a steady record at home on December 15th - W2 D2 L2. Whenever the boys in blue have won at home on this day, four goals have been scored!

Team News

In terms of selection, Head Coach Harry Kewell still has Danny Rowe as a doubt after his knock last week, with George Blackwood now having some more time on the sidelines after a setback in his recovery.

Zak Dearnley is back involved and available for selection once again, with defenders Andrea Badan and Kyle Jameson continuing their recovery from hamstring injuries.

Watch Out For

Elijah Adebayo has scored seven league goals for the Saddlers this campaign, including the opener in their win over Bolton this weekend.

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The young forward has hit a good run of form and has netted in three of his last four games.

Adebayo came through the ranks at Fulham but never made a senior appearance for the Cottagers and instead had to go out on loan to Slough Town, Bognor Regis Town, Cheltenham Town, Swindon Town and Stevenage for his first experiences of senior football.

He was eventually released by Fulham following the 2018/19 season and signed for Walsall on a free transfer in June 2019.

He managed eight league goals in his first term at the Bescot Stadium but looks set to be much more prolific this season as he has seven to his name already in just 17 league games.

In The Dugout

Darrell Clarke is the man in the dugout for the visitors.

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Clarke took over at the Bescot Stadium in May 2019 and it his third posting in management following spells with Salisbury City and Bristol Rovers.

The 42 year-old’s most notable achievement to date is guiding Bristol Rovers from the Conference to League One with back to back promotions.

As a player, Clarke represented; Mansfield Town, Hartlepool United, Stockport City, Port Vale, Rochdale and Salisbury City.

Match Officials

The man in charge for the game tonight is James Ball.

The official has had 13 games this season, handing out 40 yellow cards and five red cards.

He is yet to officiate a Latics or Walsall fixture after promotion from the National League last campaign and will be assisted by Billy Smallwood and Alistair Nelson, with Carl Boyeson as the Fourth Official.

Sky Bet Odds

The Saddlers have made been slight favourites for the clash at 6/4 with Latics at the slightly longer odds of 13/8.

23/10 is the price available for the game to end level.

Please gamble responsibly by clicking here. For more information visit: www.begambleaware.org 

How To Follow The Game

Because the game is classed as behind-closed-doors, supporters can tune into a live match stream with commentary available for all subscribers on iFollow Latics, as Roy Butterworth and Mike Leyland talk you through the action.

This match is available as a live stream for the fee of £10 by clicking here.

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In the current environment, there is a greater dependence on match streaming than ever before. 

As a result iFollow generates one of the only revenue streams available to clubs through these financial challenges. 

Piracy - and illegal streaming of matches - does not only carry the risk of potential criminal action, but also has a greater financial impact on clubs while supporters are unable to attend matches. 

The EFL's campaign would like to not only convey the message that piracy is immoral and illegal, but that it is also financially damaging club's across the divisions.

For more information on the campaign and iFollow, click here.

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

Visit the Live Match Centre to access form guides, live text commentary and live access to the match on iFollow

Alternatively, supporters can also follow the game with live updates on the club's official Twitter account: @OfficialOAFC.

Oldham Athletic would like to make it clear that all fixtures are still strictly-behind-closed doors with spectators not being allowed entry.

Extensive guidelines are in place for the safety of officials and players whilst the events are taking place.

It is important you do not travel or attempt to visit Boundary Park on the day, especially with the new local restrictions in place.

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Match Reports

Latics 2-3 Walsall

15 December 2020

Latics suffer a frustrating defeat against Walsall on a cold winter evening at Boundary Park.

After picking up our second home league win of the season at the weekend, Head Coach, Harry Kewell named an unchanged starting XI for the visit of the West Midlands outfit. This is the first time this campaign that Latics have lined-up the same in back-to-back matches.

The OACT dedicated fixture failed to offer any excitement in the opening 20 minutes with neither side creating a chance on goal.

However, in the 22nd minute, the match came to life as Dylan Fage clumsily brought down Wes McDonald inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Josh Gordon stepped up and confidently placed it into the bottom right corner with Ian Lawlor diving the opposite direction.

Darrell Clarke’s side went in search of doubling their advantage and came close on two occasions. The first opportunity occurred as the tricky Rory Holden dribbled into the 18-yard box and chipped a cross to the back post which was met by the goalscorer, but Cameron Borthwick-Jackson bravely put his body in the way to deny what looked a certain goal.

Just minutes later, a long ball up to Elijah Adebayo saw the forward bring the ball down before turning and driving towards the Rochdale Road End. The former Fulham man drilled an effort, from an angle, with power and it cannoned off the post and out for a corner-kick.

The hosts created two chances of their own just before the interval as Conor McAleny chased down and produced a great slide tackle which landed at the feet of Bobby Grant. The experienced attacker had the vision to slot the onrushing Alfie McCalmont clean through on goal but the Leeds loanee was denied by the goalkeeper before smashing the rebound against the crossbar from yards out.

With momentum growing, Latics thought they had got the score as Ben Garrity found Dylan Bahamboula inside the box and the flamboyant wideman confused the defender with step overs before striking low and hard which smashed the post and agonisingly rolled across the goal line before being cleared.

The Saddlers started the second-half in style as they doubled their lead through an own goal. Cameron Norman delivered a cross from the right which the Latics shot-stopper punched away, but it rebounded off Carl Piergianni and, unfortunately, into his own net.

Harry Kewell’s side showed great character to get themselves back into the game as two minutes later they pulled a goal back. Bahamboula was the creator as he raced to the byline before pulling a low cross back which found the feet of Dylan Fage and the full-back placed his effort into the far corner.

Following this, the boys in blue managed to get themselves level in the 68th minute with the skipper atoning for his own goal. Once again, Bahamboula was at the heart of the goal as he floated a free-kick, from near the half-way line, into the box and it found the head of Piergianni who steered the ball into the bottom corner.

After all their hard work to get back level, Latics were given a sucker punch by the lively Adebayo. Wes McDonald did well on the left-wing to deliver an in-swinging cross which found the path of the striker for him to flick past Lawlor for his eighth goal of the campaign.

Hayden White felt ambitious as he tried to catch Lawlor out with a quick free-kick from the middle of the park but he managed to recover and collect the ball easily after causing panic.

Oldham battled to try and get an equaliser, but their pressure didn’t amount to any chances on goal and the Saddlers picked up their first win at Boundary Park since August 2013.

Oldham Athletic XI – Lawlor (GK), H.Clarke, Borthwick-Jackson, Piergianni ©, Garrity, Grant, Fage, Ntambwe (Keillor-Dunn 61’), McAleny (Dearnley 67'), Bahamboula, McCalmont (Barnett 85’).

Subs – Bilboe (GK), Whelan, Diarra, Hamer.

Goals: Fage 55’, Piergianni 68’

Walsall XI – Rose (GK), Norman, Jules (White 44’), J.Clarke ©, Scarr, Kinsella, Gordon (Sinclair 76’), Adebayo (Lavery 83’), Bates, McDonald (Scrimshaw 83’), Holden.

Subs – Roberts (GK), Guthrie, Osadebe.

Goals: Gordon 23’, Piergianni OG 53’, Adebayo 72’

Referee – James Ball

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