CREWE ALEXANDRA 0, OLDHAM ATHLETIC 2
Oldham Athletic proved lightning can strike twice in their Sky Bet League two victory at Crewe Alexandra.
It was the same scoreline and the same scorers – captain Peter Clarke and Chris O’Grady – in the same sequence from the Emirates FA Cup, second-round victory at Maidstone United.
And manager Frankie Bunn fielded exactly the same starting line-up as Latics extended their unbeaten run to seven league and cup games and moved within five points of the play-off places.
It is this continuity which is proving important as Bunn continues to make minimal changes, though his squad is still ravaged through injury.
Crewe had the first scoring chance when Latics gave the ball away in midfield as Callum Ainley forced a good save from goalkeeper Daniel Iversen with his feet.
Latics’ first effort came through Mohamed Maouche as he tested Ben Garratt in the Crewe goal with a free kick.
It was a wet and windy afternoon in Cheshire with the game really struggling to get into any flow until Clarke stepped up to give Oldham the lead.
Clarke picked up the ball on the halfway line as he drove it forward and unleashed an effort from more than 30 yards out into the top corner.
It’s probably no exaggeration that it’s more than likely the best goal he’s scored in his career and certainly not what you expect from a central defender.
However, Latics almost squandered that lead as Shaun Miller ran in behind the defence, but once again Iversen saved well.
Crewe were starting to get a foothold in the game as they workeda move down the left before Charlie Kirk forced another great stop from Iversen.
Bunn’s side doubled its lead in the 40th minute whenO’Grady picked the ball up on the edge of the box and he hit a curling left-footed effort on the turn into the bottom corner.
Gevaro Nepomuceno then bent an effort over the bar as Latics went into half time in total control.
Latics began the second half as they ended the first as Christopher Missilou attacked a corner, but once again Garratt saved.
Sam Surridge headed over from another corner before he was denied by Garratt with an effort from the right-hand side of the penalty area.
Crewe made a triple substitution and it was one of those substitutes, Owen Dale who forced another brilliant stop from Iversen as the ball broke to him in Latics’ box.
Latics were comfortably defending the lead and they could have had a third when Johan Branger-Engone played Surridge in, but once again Garratt denied the striker.
Oldham Athletic (4-4-2): Iversen, Dummigan,Clarke, Edmundson, Hunt; Lang, Maouche, Missilou (Lyden 90), Nepomuceno (Branger-Engone 90); Surridge, O’Grady. Subs (not used): Coke, Graham, Hamer, Norman, McFarlane.
Attendance 4,168 (1,027 visitors).