MANSFIELD TOWN 0, OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0
Oldham Athletic’s lack of a cutting edge was evident again as they were held to a goalless draw in the Sky Bet League Two basement battle at Nigel Clough’s Mansfield Town.
Latics, who remain on the relegation places, have the worst goalscoring record in the division, six goals from 11 league games.
It is just as well head coach Keith Curle’s side can defend – this was a third clean sheet in the last four league matches following another solid defensive display – or they would be in an even greater mess.
In a game that saw chances at both ends, neither side could make a breakthrough, though Curle will reflect on good opportunities to have claimed maximum points.
Having created a host of chances at the end of the first half before also starting well after the break, Latics certainly had their moments, although goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler was also needed to make two important saves as the game went on.
Curle made three changes from the previous weekend’s home defeat against Harrogate. Zak Dearnley led the forward line on his first league start of the season while Benny Couto returned from illness and Jamie Bowden started in midfield.
The first period was punctured by a 12-minute stoppage due to an injury sustained by Mansfield midfielder George Maris following a clash of heads with his team-mate James Clarke as he was taken from the field on a stretcher and wearing a neck brace.
Mansfield, without eight key players and now without a win in 11 games in all competitions, started well, Danny Johnson sending a shot wide after a run down the left from Stephen McLaughlin who also drilled a free kick wide.
Mansfield appeared to be gaining a foothold when Maris was hurt, and his replacement Rhys Oates dragged an effort wide before Latics grew into the game as the half progressed.
By the time the interval approached, Latics had created enough chances to have warranted a lead.
Harrison McGahey came within inches as he smashed an effort onto the crossbar after Carl Piergianni got his head to a corner from Jamie Bowden at the far post.
And further chances followed in the 14 minutes of added time with Couto central to everything Latics did well.
He cut the ball back for Dylan Bahamboula to shoot over, before his long throw-in reached Piergianni, who brought a good stop from goalkeeper Nathan Bishop.
Couto,18, then released a superb pass to spot the run of Dearnley. He raced into the box, only to be denied by Bishop and Davis Keillor-Dunn was unable to adjust himself to make the most of the rebound.
Latics also started well after the break with another chance for Keillor-Dunn.
Latics had Leutwiler to thank with a good low stop from Harry Charsley and the goalkeeper got down low again with nine minutes to play, producing s sharp save to turn away Charsley’s drive.
They were not as effective as the second half progressed but kept a good shape and displayed great resolve when needed to ensure they left with a point.
Oldham Athletic: Leutwiler, Clarke, McGahey, Piergianni, Whelan, Keillor-Dunn, Dearnley (Bettache 85), Stobbs, Bowden, Bahamboula (Hope 85), Couto. Subs (unused): Rogers, Fage, Da Silva, Diarra, Sheehan.
Attendance: 4,526 (496 visitors).