Notts County 0 – 0 Oldham: Derry remains upbeat despite bore draw

Notts County manager Shaun Derry refused to criticise his side after a rather underwhelming goalless draw against Lee Johnson’s Oldham.

With this point the Magpies stretch their unbeaten run to seven games, yet they never really looked like taking all three points in a bland affair.

Oldham travelled to Meadow Lane off the back of two draws and were looking for their first league win since the beginning of September.

And the visitors started brightly, nearly taking the lead inside the first two minutes when Dominic Poleon neatly back-heeled from close range, straight at Notts’ goalie Roy Carroll.

Neither goal was threatened much in the first half, with Carroll and his opposite number Paul Rachubka enjoying the majority of possession courtesy of back-passes and goal-kicks.

County’s young back four, led by new captain Haydn Hollins, looked assured as Oldham struggled to carve out any clear opportunities.

But the Magpies were also failing to create any goal-scoring chances, with Zeli Ismail cutting a lonely figure on the left wing.

County fans were starting to become restless, with both teams unwilling to take any risks.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with the Latics looking slightly more assured and confident on the ball.

Despite his height, Oldham striker Conor Wilkinson looked tricky on the ball and drove a low shot narrowly wide of Carroll’s right hand post just before the hour mark.

Derry was clearly unimpressed by his side’s lacklustre start to the second half and made a double substitution on the hour, with Shaun Harrad and Garry Thompson replacing Ronan Murray and Danny Haynes.

And the changes nearly inspired an immediate response, with Ismail finally coming to life on the edge of Oldham’s box, dancing neatly around a couple of challenges before firing his shot well over the bar.

An ambitious overhead kick from Harrad followed as the Magpies finally started to gain some purchase in the game.

The 29-year-old was clearly causing problems for Oldham and County fans were left baying for a penalty minutes later as Harrad was seemingly cut down in the area, only for the referee to book the veteran striker for simulation.

Oldham clearly sensed they could claim a smash-and-grab victory and forced Carroll into a couple of smart saves in the final ten minutes.

The best chance of the match fell to Carl Winchester in stoppage time, his mazy run ending in a low shot which Carroll saved at full stretch to deny Oldham a late winner.

After the game Notts County boss Shaun Derry elected to focus on the positive aspects of the game.

He said: “I don’t want to get too down and despondent over it because it’s another unbeaten game and once again we’ve kept a clean sheet.”

“It wasn’t the best game on the eye, but we’ve come against a team who are unbeaten in five themselves and who are high on confidence.”

He added: “What we are is a team that is really hard to beat, a team with the second best defensive record in the division, which I’m proud of.”

County’s next game is a tasty East Midlands derby against Chesterfield on Saturday.

 

Notts County: Carroll, Dumbuya, Hollis (c), Laing, Cranston, Ismail, Jones, Noble, Haynes (G Thompson – 59′), Murray (Harrad – 58′), Cassidy. Subs not used: Wroe, McKenzie, Thompson, Speiss, Traoré.

Oldham Athletic: Rachubka, Mills, Elokobi, Kelly (c), Jones, Poleon (Dayton – 67′), Wilkinson, Winchester (Morgan-Smith 75′), Forte (Philliskirk – 75′), J Wilson, B Wilson. Subs not used: Brown, Deing, Coleman, Kusunga.

Attendance: 5,109 (away 663)

Alex Clarke

@alexclarke881

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