Tranmere Rovers 2 Oldham Athletic 2
Saturday 20th February 2021
English Football League Two
Tranmere’s hopes of enhancing their chances of sitting comfortably in the promotion places suffered a blow as they dropped two points at home to Harry Kewell’s Latics. Going into this game, Rovers were buzzing following their victory at League One Oxford United to stake their place in the Papa Johns Trophy final. Thus, the visitors knew that they had to fight for a result following their 4-3 defeat against Forest Green Rovers. Fight, they did. However, Keith Hill’s men will rue missed chances.
The opening stages were relatively balanced yet it seemed that the Tranmere defence had started the game off slow in comparison to normal, they seemed to lack that bite that you normally find when watching them as a unit. Davis Keillor-Dunn certainly noticed this as the 23-year-old struck first, running at pace before firing into Scott Davies’ net. This was a wake up call, Oldham weren’t scared of the quality that they were coming up against and that quality would have to be shown sooner rather than later.
After conceding in the opening five minutes, the hosts pretty much dominated the first half although they wouldn’t have anything to show for it until much later on. There were numerous set pieces as a result of the Tranmere attackers running at pace against the Oldham back line. However, the deficit could’ve been doubled as Davies got off his line quickly to dive on the ball before it found the feet of new recruit Serhat Tasdemir.
A player who’s passing strengths shone, in my opinion, was Keiron Morris’. On this occasion, halfway into the second half, the midfielder played a ball over the top in an attempt to find Kaiyne Woolery but this ball unlike his others found the feet of the Latic’s shot stopper instead.
As the half progressed, it seemed to get more and more likely that the scoreline would soon be levelled. Superwhites top scorer, James Vaughan, looked set to add another to his tally but his volley was parried by Lawlor before Woolery picked up the rebound. Frustratingly, the Latics scrambled this opportunity away.
All of the hosts’ graft seemed to be rewarded by a goal as the referee pointed to the penalty spot, nine times out of ten Vaughan doesn’t fail to impress from this position. However, the 32-year-old’s shot was saved.
Keith Hill’s men’s struggle would continue until Calum MacDonald found himself with the ball at his feet in a promising position facing forwards but still a relatively long way away from goal. The 23-year-old fired the ball in the direction of the net, it setted beautifully away from the keeper’s reach and Rovers found themselves going into halftime with a scoreline that was more than deserved. MacDonald’s performance was exquisite throughout.
In the first half, Sido Jombati was booked for a WWE-esque foul on Peter Clarke in the box. It is a miracle, from Oldham’s perspective, how that wasn’t awarded as a penalty. However, the Lisbon-born defender would soon let his team down greatly as his foot struck Woolery’s midriff when he was through on goal. The visitors were left with a great task on their hands, with ten men.
Woolery, who recently signed an extension for the Merseyside outfit, further dampened the mood of Kewell’s men when he was left with a tap in front of the Kop after a surging run forward from Liam Feeney. There was no chance that he was going to pass this opportunity up, he didn’t and Rovers were leading with forty minutes left to play.
How this lead wasn’t extended around the hour mark is a question that Vaughan should be asking of himself, it certainly wasn’t his day as he turned to shoot inside the box before his attempt went inches wide of the post. He had another opportunity to add his name on the scoresheet when his head met a brilliant corner, Latics cleared off the line.
The gametime of Rovers top scorer was cut short, he normally plays the full ninety when a manager selects him for the starting eleven. However it was time for new recruit David Nugent to make his talents aware of, if he needed to, when he was subbed on with 15minutes remaining.
Sometimes in football, the game just doesn’t go your way. Whether that be down to playing worse than your opponents or a piece of unexpected brilliance. Oldham added their second of the afternoon when Dylan Bahamboula struck a shot that no keeper would’ve had a chance of getting to from outside the box just before the 80th minute mark.
This was the last real moment of the game, despite both teams going for the winner. Frustratingly, Rovers would drop two more points at home following the recent loss against Stevenage as Corey Blackett-Taylor failed to make any real difference when he was subbed on for Keiron Morris.
Tranmere Rovers 2 Oldham Athletic 2
Tranmere – Scott Davies, Lee O’Connor, Peter Clarke, Manny Monthe, Calum MacDonald, Kieron Morris, Jay Spearing, Paul Lewis, Liam Feeney, James Vaughan, Kaiyne Woolery.
Subs on. Corey Blackett-Taylor and David Nugent.
Oldham – Ian Lawlor, Nicky Adams, Sido Jombati, Harry Clarke, Andrea Badan, Marcel Hilssner, Dylan Bahamboula, Alfie McCalmont, Davis Keillor-Dunn, Serhat Tasmedir, Conor McAleny.
Subs on. George Blackwood, Callum Whelan, Kyle Jameson, Raphael Diarra and Marcus Barnes.
Shots – 19/8
Shots on target – 7/3
Possession – 67%/33%
Fouls – 15/14
Yellow cards – 3/2
Red cards – 0/1
Corners – 8/3