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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 08 Feb 14 at 16:45 PM

Report: Oldham Athletic 1-1 City

Mark Perrow reports from Boundary Park

City gave as good as they got in more unkind weather conditions to secure a point on the road at Lee Johnson’s Oldham Athletic.

Ferocious winds and heavy showers did not prevent a lively opening to the contest as both teams exchanged goals inside the opening ten minutes.

Danny Philliskirk’s long-range shot put the hosts in front as early as the fourth minute, only for City to draw level through Aden Flint’s significantly less spectacular equaliser.

Former Ashton Gate favourite Jon Stead came closest to snatching maximum points on his home debut, but the Robins had chances of their own in an even game.

Steve Cotterill made five changes to his side beaten by Coventry City in midweek, including a first start for 19-year-old Wes Burns on the right side of a three-man attack.

Elsewhere, there were recalls for Brendan Moloney, Marlon Pack, Bobby Reid and Tyrone Barnett, while Greg Cunningham, Simon Gillett, Joe Bryan, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and the injured Scott Wagstaff all dropped out.

But it was to prove a nightmare start for the visitors, whose new-look back four was breached inside four minutes by a stunning individual goal.

Receiving the ball on the turn, Philliskirk advanced to within 25 yards of goal and let fly with a thunderous shot which sailed high into the net.

However, City’s response took just six minutes, as Reid’s corner was headed goalwards by Barnett and fell kindly for Flint to smuggle home his second goal of the season from close range.

After an eventful opening ten minutes, the contested descended into a state of calm.

City old boy Stead threatened for the first time, but Moore was never going to be overly troubled by the striker’s low left-footed shot.

Then Sam Baldock exchanged passes with Bobby Reid and fell to the floor inside the penalty area, but only received a clearance in the face for his troubles.

Stead was getting closer at the other end, as David Worrall’s cross picked him out, but his header under pressure from Flint was well wide of goal.

City’s afternoon was to take another turn when Marvin Elliott clashed heads painfully in the middle of the field with Oldham’s James Wesolowski. 

But while the blue-shirted player was soon back to his feet, Elliott was leaving the field several minutes later on a stretcher and having to be replaced by namesake Wade.

It was not enough to stop the Robins finishing the first half the stronger, with Barnett forcing keeper Mark Oxley into a sprawling save down by his near post before Moloney’s deep cross was retrieved by Baldock and volleyed over from 12 yards by former Latics loanee Reid.

However, City remained vulnerable defensively as demonstrated by Gary Harkins’ teasing cross which somehow evaded everybody inside the danger zone – and the back post by a matter of inches on its way wide.

The second period began with another attempt at a goal against his former club from Stead, whose 30-yard free kick was only inches wide and certainly the closest he had come so far.

City threatened from a set-piece of their own soon after, when Reid’s delivery was fumbled by Oxley who was only bailed out by the referee with Barnett lurking.

The game was opening up. Burns ignored the overlapping run of Moloney and let fly with a well-struck shot which only evaded the far post by a couple of feet.

Then Stead made a near post run but could not find the angle to divert Jonathan Grounds’ left-wing cross on target, before Harkins’ rising drive was just too high.

The hosts were coming on strongly, with a Harkins cross finding Philliskirk unmarked at the back post who could only head straight at the perfectly placed Moore.

Substitutes Elliott and Emmanuel-Thomas both tried their luck from distance without success, while Flint headed Reid’s last-minute corner wide before making a crucial interception from a Harkins cross to ensure a point apiece.

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