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Match Reports

Rochdale 3-4 Latics

21 October 2023

Match Reports

Rochdale 3-4 Latics

21 October 2023

Micky Mellon kicked-off life as Oldham Athletic manager with a thrilling 4-3 victory over Rochdale.

It could be argued that Rochdale had the better of possession in the opening minutes of the game, but Latics made the most of what they had, when Sheron opened the scoring.

Kitching’s cross was half-cleared by Rochdale, Green took control of it, laying it off for Sheron, who unleashed a thunderous shot, finding the bottom corner.

Dale’s lion’s share of possession was in large part down to their preference to play out from the back, but Latics’ three frontmen, Hope, Norwood and Green, pressed the defence, and didn’t allow them to pass the ball around with ease.

Neither side created many huge chances for the rest of the first-half, the best from Latics saw Hope fire the ball across the face of goal, failing to find a Latics player, whilst Sinclair headed over in stoppage time for Rochdale.

The half-time team talks clearly changed things - for both sides, as the second-half was night and day compared to the first.

Oldham scored early in the first-half, and they scored early in the second, Kitching’s fantastic cross found Green, who nodded the ball past Moulden.

They say 2-0 is the most dangerous lead in football, and proponents of it will perhaps point to this game as evidence, as Dale threw everything forward, leading to Keohane pulling a goal back for the hosts.

Latics had the chance to restore their two-goal lead, Green moved forward on the break, giving the ball to Norwood on the wing. James looked to return the favour to Devarn, who would have been one-on-one with the goalie, but his pass was just a tad heavy.

Dale equalises, again through Keohane, and again it was a scrappy goal. Ryan East’s corner pinballed around the box, before Keohane poked it home, to the anger and dismay of the Oldham players and fans.

Micky Mellon’s side didn’t let their heads drop though, and just three minutes later, Hallam Hope cut in from the left, saw an inviting opening, and curled a beautiful shot into the far corner, giving Moulden no chance.

Hope & co celebrated with the 3,118 Latics fans inside Spotland, who were in fine voice throughout the entire game.

The Oldham defence were called into action not long after retaking the lead, a looping cross found Keohane at the far post, and he seemed certain to have bagged his hat-trick. But a combination of Hudson’s hands and Sutton’s aggression kept the ball out of the net.

A fourth goal was needed by Oldham to keep the travelling fans’ heartrates down, and that’s exactly what they got.

Hope, an instrumental part of the attack throughout all 87 minutes he was on the pitch, nodded the ball forward, anticipating that Norwood would run onto it. He did, and the lethal finish made no mistake beating the goalkeeper from close-range.

Four wasn’t enough for Athletic, who looked for another when Green switched possession to Sheron inside the box, but his effort went over the bar.

Keohane, who was denied a hat-trick just over ten earlier, finally got his hands on the matchball when he poked home again from close-range.

Reid came on for Hope with three minutes of normal time to play, but Alex ended up playing upwards of 20 minutes, as 16 minutes of stoppage time were added on.

Keohane nearly had a fourth, but Hudson managed to get down and push it wide.

Fondop came on halfway through stoppage time for Green, to give Latics some fresh legs and aggression.

Veteran Ian Henderson saw the ball fall to him inside the box, he flung a shot at Hudson, but it didn’t trouble him.

Dale threw everything at Oldham, but it was to no avail, and Micky Mellon started his time in the Latics hotseat with a win.

Oldham: Hudson, Kitching, Hogan, Hobson, Lundstram, Sheron, Green (Fondop 90+7’), McGahey, Hope (Reid, 87’), Sutton, Norwood.

Subs not used: Norman, Shelton, Tollitt.

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