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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: Latics Suffer Opening Day Defeat

5 August 2017

Oldham Athletic suffered defeat in their opening game of the Sky Bet League One season against Oxford United.

Goals in either half from Wes Thomas and Josh Ruffels secured the victory for the U’s.

Manager John Sheridan gave debuts to Ben Wilson, Rob Hunt and Craig Davies on the first game of the season.

Oxford United had the first opportunity of the game on four minutes but Josh Ruffels' shot from the edge of the box trickled wide.

Latics started to enjoy a good spell of possession but struggled to create a clear cut opening.

Goalkeeper Wilson was forced into action on 17 minutes as he saved Thomas' shot at the front post.

Midway through the first half, Latics felt they should have been awarded a free kick on the edge of the box.

Oxford goalkeeper Simon Eastwood strayed out of his penalty area, looked to handle outside the box but the referee waved away the strong protests.

The visitors went down to 10 men temporarily on the half hour mark as Mike Williamson was forced to get stitches in a head wound.

Latics looked to capitalise as they put pressure on the Oxford goal but could not convert their chances.

The best of those fell to Davies who was set free on 37 minutes but his volley was well saved by Eastwood.

Two minutes later and Oxford United took the lead, but in controversial circumstances.

A ball over the top found Thomas, who many believed had ran from an offside position but play continued and he slotted past Wilson to put the U's ahead.

The visitors had the momentum and they almost made it 2-0 on two occasions.

Thomas again found a way behind the Oldham Athletic defence but he was denied by Wilson's outstretched hand, whilst a minute later, Ledson tested the palms of the goalkeeper but he made a good save.

Oxford came out of the brighter at the start of the second half and Wilson was forced to pull off a wonder save to deny Jack Payne from close range.

However, two minutes later, Latics were almost level after Davies cut in from the left and unleashed a fierce effort which went just past the far post.

Not long after, McLaughlin headed into the palms of Eastwood after being set up by Aaron Amadi-Holloway.

The visitors almost made it 0-2 10 minutes into the second half as Ledson was allowed to run onto the edge of the box but his shot went over the crossbar.

On 70 minutes, substitute Tope Obadeyi should have done better as he received the ball at the far post but sliced wide 10 yards out.

The visitors doubled their lead a minute later, however, as Ruffels created space in the penalty area and poked beyond Wilson to make it 0-2.

Athletic struggled to create openings against a stubborn Oxford United defence and the scoreline could have been worse had it not been for Wilson in Athletic's goal.

Jonathan Obika wriggled free to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper in the closing minutes of the game but Wilson managed to save with his feet.

Athletic pushed for a way back into the game but were denied a result on the first day of the Sky Bet League One campaign.

Oldham Athletic: Wilson, Wilson, Gerrard, Clarke, Hunt, McLaughlin, Green (Obadeyi 59'), Fane, Banks (Flynn 75'), Holloway, Davies (Duffus 75')

Subs not used: Dummigan, Edmundson, Stott, Fawns.

Oxford United: Eastwood, Ribeiro, Williamson, Nelson, Ledson, Thomas (Obika 65'), Payne, Johnson, Ruffels, Henry, Rothwell (Carroll 71').

Subs not used: Martin, Hall, Shearer, Fernandez, Napa.

Goals: Oldham Athletic 0-2 Oxford United (Thomas 39', Ruffels 71')

Attendance: 4,874 (1,067 visiting supporters)


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