ROCHDALE 0, OLDHAM ATHLETIC 1
Thirteen was a lucky number for Davis Keillor-Dunn who was the matchwinner for League Two’s bottom club Oldham Athletic in their ‘El Flatacapico’ Lancashire derby win at Rochdale.
The Scottish striker opened his goalscoring account for the season in his 13th appearance as Oldham showed character in bouncing back from their 7-0 defeat at Brentford in the Carabao Cup.
It was a goal worthy of winning any game as just before the hour Keillor-Dunn bent in a low shot from the left of the box into the far corner to the delight of their 1,500 travelling army.
The victory eased the mood on another toxic afternoon during which the Oldham fans chanted repeatedly for owner Abdallah Lemsagam to quit the club.
Head coach Keith Curle reflected on a perfect day, saying: “At the start of the day, Manchester City won, Manchester United lost and one final thing was needed.
“It was a great day for the football club, but it is still work in progress, but we are going in the right direction.
“We have not made the best of starts which has been well documented. We have to keep focused and, if we keep working hard, you have seen we are capable of winning games.
“There was a skirmish in the tunnel at the end, a typical derby game.”
Curle, reflecting on being without 15 players for the cup tie four days earlier, even made a cheeky plea for help to City for whom he had an illustrious playing career.
“I am a City fan, and always want them to win. Maybe they will give us a couple of their players,” he said.
Latics made three changes from the side which lost heavily at Brentford as there were debuts for summer signing Harrison McGahey as the centre back’s long-running contractual issues had been resolved.
There was also a first league appearance for 17-year-old Portuguese left wing back Benny Couto while striker Hallam Hope returned.
The players standing down were Kyle Jameson, Jamie Bowden and Zak Dearnley.
It was a hard-earned victory in a game of few clear-cut chances on an afternoon which began with one minute’s applause before kick off in memory of David Kilpatrick, Dale’s chairman between 1980/2007, who had died earlier in the week.
Disappointing Rochdale failed to muster one goal attempt in the opening half with Latics’ only opening seeing Hallam Hope draw a decent save from their former goalkeeper Joel Coleman.
They were much brighter in the second period as Aaron Morley and Eoghan O’Connell both struck the woodwork and O’Connell also forced a brilliant flying save from goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler in the seven minutes of stoppage time.
Oldham might also have added to their tally in the second half as Dylan Bahamboula was denied by a super stop from Coleman.
It was a disappointing day for Dale who had been unbeaten in seven league and cup games before their midweek cup defeat at Burnley.
“It hurts more being a derby, but we must use the pain to go on another run,” explained manager Robbie Stockdale.
“We didn’t play well enough in key moments in the game. Oldham came and did a good job on us.
“We dominated the stats, hit the post and bar. We huffed and puffed but struggled to break them down.”