Latics And Walsall Play Out Goalless DrawThe first home league game of the 2016/17 season ended in a goalless draw as Latics and Walsall both picked up a point.
Chances were limited in the game but the best opportunity came on 70 minutes as Lee Erwin headed against the post but the ball fell wide.
Latics huffed and puffed for a winner but were met by a stubborn Walsall defence as both sides settled for a point.
Steve Robinson made two changes to his starting 11 from Tuesday night as Billy Mckay and Jamie Reckord returned to the starting 11.
Walsall dictated a lot of the early possession but Latics did grow into the half and created good chances.
Erwin was a threat in attack, providing good running, holding the ball up well and bringing others into play.
There was little in terms of attempts on goal in the opening 20 minutes but it was not for the lack of trying.
Reckord, who returned to the squad, picked out a good cross but it was just ahead of Mckay whilst minutes later, Erwin threaded a through ball to Paul Green but he was just flagged offside.
Midway through the half, Marc Klok picked out Erwin in the centre but Walsall just managed to nick the ball away from him in time.
There was a break in play on 27 minutes after Rico Henry was forced off on a stretcher.
Klok’s free kick into the box was defended well by the full back but he took a knock to the head and was carried off.
Connor Ripley was untroubled in the Oldham Athletic goal but was almost caught off guard as Franck Moussa’s strike deflected off Simeon Jackson but the ball went wide of the goal.
The first real shot of the game came on 40 minutes as Mckay won the ball on the edge of the box and shaped a shot towards the top corner, but it went over the crossbar.
Latics upped the tempo towards the end of the half and almost forced an error from Wasall goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.
The former Latics loanee casually knocked the ball out to his full back but did not put enough power behind the ball. Erwin chased the loose ball but Walsall just managed to clear in time.
The visitors started the second half well and forced Ripley into a succession of saves to keep the score at 0-0.
After Moussa struck inches wide on 51 minutes, Ripley pulled off a fine save to deny Jackson from inside the box after the striker created space for himself.
Two minutes later the goalkeeper again to be alert to tip wide a strike from Walsall substitute Andreas Makris.
The visitors were starting to up the tempo and manager Robinson brought on Ryan McLaughlin in place of Klok.
That move seemed to inspire Latics as they took control of the game and could have scored the opening goal.
Erwin crossed into the centre for Mckay but the striker’s header was saved by Etheridge.
Latics continued to put pressure on his goal and they almost took the lead with only 20 minutes remaining.
Ryan Flynn created space for himself in the penalty area, forced a smart save from Etheridge but Erwin on the follow up headed against the post.
That would be Athletic’s best chance of the game as the game petered out.
Both sides had half chances to get a winner from the game but the ball just would not sit for either side and it ended goalless.
Oldham Athletic: Ripley, Law, Clarke, Burgess, Reckord, Fane (Banks 70’), Klok (McLaughlin 63’), Green, Flynn, Erwin (Osei 83’), Mckay
Subs not used: Kettings, Croft, Edmundson, Woodland.
Walsall: Etheridge, Edwards, Henry (Preston 31’), O’Connor, McCarthy, Cuvelier (Bakayoko 82’), Jackson, Oztumer (Makris 46’), Osbourne, Kinsella, Moussa.
Subs not used: MacGillivray, Dobson, Morris, Ginnelly.
Goals: Oldham Athletic 0-0 Walsall