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Match Reports

Latics 2-1 Bristol Rovers

8 February 2022

© Eddie Garvey

Latics make it back-to-back wins after producing a thoroughly professional performance against an in-form Bristol Rovers.

Davis Keillor-Dunn made an instant impact as he fired the opening goal of the match inside the first minute with an empathic finish whilst clean through on goal.

After Junior Luamba’s strike was disallowed, Keillor-Dunn doubled his, and his side’s, tally for the evening as he neatly found the bottom corner from close range which lifted the atmosphere.

Bristol Rovers responded just before half-time when Sam Nicholson, at an acute angle, slotted his low strike into the back of the net, but the Greater Manchester-based outfit demonstrated solidity to hold on for the win.

At the weekend, the ‘boys in blue’ manufactured a stunning victory against Scunthorpe United which caused bedlam in the terraces and Shez made two changes to his line-up for the visit of the Gas as Dylan Bahamboula and Junior Luamba returned to the side.

Unfortunately, Mike Fondop missed out through concussion protocol following sustaining a head injury last time out. Also, Tope Obadeyi was unavailable for the encounter as he struggled with his fitness after enduring 90 minutes on Saturday.

Prior to kick-off, the Club announced a proud partnership with Her Game Too as well as dedicating the fixture against Bristol Rovers to the organisation. Their valuable work plays a vital and important role within the game and the community for female supporters.

Latics’ last triumph over the visitors on home turf occurred in April 2010 as Lewis Guy and Deane Smalley fired into the back of the net in order to secure a two-nil scoreline with the current squad endeavouring for a similar outcome after they opened the scoring inside a minute.

A defensive mistake allowed for Nicky Adams to slot Keillor-Dunn one-on-one with Anssi Jaakola and Oldham’s talisman remained composed as he smashed his attempt past the ‘keeper into the roof of the net. 

Moments later, Junior Luamba, coming into the game full of confidence, thought that he’d made it two goals in two games for himself after slotting inside the near post, however, the linesman had already raised his flag. A very tight call.

Aaron Collins – who has previously played under Shez – ran riot at Boundary Park in the final encounter of last season for Forest Green Rovers, and he exemplified his quality when he adjusted his body on the edge of the area to steer a low effort towards the bottom corner, but he was excellently denied by Danny Rogers.

With the Athleticos creating an electric atmosphere in the terraces, Bahamboula strived to entertain them with a trademark individual piece of brilliance. The flamboyant attacker glided past a defender before cutting inside to try his luck from 30-yards out, but the shot-stopper produced a fine save to keep him at bay.

From the resulting corner, Shez witnessed his side double their lead courtesy of Keillor-Dunn, again. Adams delivered a pinpoint corner to Carl Piergianni, and then, the towering skipper directed the ball into the path of his teammate, and he managed to tap in from inside the six-yard box.

Joey Barton, a notorious figure within the game, will have adapted his half-time team talk as his side pulled a goal back just before the interval. Fresh off the bench, Nicholson persisted with possession as he kept his cool from a tight angle as he placed a low effort under the goalkeeper which gave the travelling contingent a glimmer of hope.

Early into the second-half, Adams continued to torment their backline with his instrumental crossing ability. Callum Whelan illustrated immense vision to produce a reserve pass towards the veteran on the left-hand side, but Christopher Missilou couldn’t make any contact on his delivery across the face of goal.

Keillor-Dunn forced his way down the right-flank before he crossed towards Luamba, the forward contrived a glancing header that looked bound for the goal, however, Jaakola, remarkably, tipped his attempt over his crossbar.

In the 79th minute, controversy arrived as the referee failed to award Latics a goal which sparked frustration amongst the home crowd. Whelan cannoned an effort off the crossbar before it bounced over the line – players reeled away in celebration – but the official, somehow, declared it not to be a goal.

As the final whistle neared, Bahamboula dribbled to the byline, and then, expertly pulled it back to Adams, however, his effort, that lacked conviction, went straight at the goalkeeper to his relief.

The Pirates were gifted a free-kick with minutes to spare after Jordan Clarke tripped up Sam Finlay in a dangerous position. Luke Thomas stepped up to take the free-kick, but his well-struck set-piece was tipped over the crossbar by Rogers as Bristol Rovers tasted defeat for the first-time since the start of December.

Oldham Athletic XI – Rogers (GK), Clarke, Hart, McGahey, Piergianni ©, Adams, Whelan, Keillor-Dunn, Bahamboula, Missilou, Luamba (Hunt 83’).

Unused Subs: Leutwiler (GK), Fage, Da Silva, Hopcutt, Couto.

Goals: Keillor-Dunn 1’, 31’

Bristol Rovers XI – Jaakola (GK), Finley, Collins, E.Anderson (H.Anderson 74’), Coutts ©, Anderton (Thomas 65’), Connolly, Evans (Nicholson 24’), Saunders, Harries, Hoole.

Unused Subs: Ward (GK), Spence, Whelan.

Goals: Nicholson 44’

Attendance: 5,137 (372 away)

Referee – Scott Oldham

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