HARTLEPOOL UNITED 0, OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0
Back-to-back goalless draws on the road at Barrow and Hartlepool in the space of three days have provided Oldham Athletic with encouragement in their battle against relegation from the EFL.
Latics remain bottom but they have shored up their defence after conceding eight goals at home against Forest Green Rovers and Scunthorpe United before their two road trips.
This was only the second time this season Latics have kept clean sheets in two successive matches as leaking goals has been a worry.
They were also left to reflect on what might have been had they had a cutting edge in the two latest matches – they would have been clear of danger.
Latics certainly had chances to pick up three points as Davis Keillor-Dunn hit the crossbar when through on goal early on while Jack Stobbs and Dylan Bahamboula wasted clear-cut chances in the dying stages.
Hartlepool also were left to rue missed chances as they struck the woodwork three times in a game which was the unlikeliest of goalless draws.
Latics will take heart from the point and performance in the third game of a busy week for interim head coach Selim Benachour’s side. He made one change from the draw at Barrow, Jamie Bowden replacing Jamie Hopcutt in midfield as they switched shape to a 4-3-3.
A lively start belied the poor recent form of both sides with Latics going into the game with only one win in their previous 10 league games.
Latics ought to have been ahead in the opening minute when Keillor-Dunn opted to try to lift a shot over goalkeeper Ben Killip, only to strike the crossbar when he ought to have found the net.
Hartlepool then seized control as Gevan Holohan’s shot struck the upright, Nicky Featherstone saw an effort deflected wide while goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler got down low to parry a drive from David Ferguson.
Latics survived and growing confidence was shown with two chances for Bowden. Having seen his initial effort blocked by Featherstone, the midfielder then hit the rebound wide.
Although Luke Molyneux, on as a first-half substitute, flashed a fierce shot wide of the visitors’ goal, Latics remained the stronger side, Bowden again going close before Killip had to readjust as Gary Liddle sent a header from an Adams cross towards his own goal.
As in the first half, Hartlepool re-emerged after the break with intent, Featherstone sending a shot just wide of the post before Ferguson struck the woodwork with an angled effort.
Hopcutt, introduced at half time, had a great chance for the visitors, but fired over.
Despite opportunities for Holohan and Molyneux, the second half was relatively quiet until a frenetic finish saw both sides go close.
Hopcutt had another great chance, but his low effort was saved by Killip before the home side hit the woodwork for a third time when Leutwiler touched a header from Holohan onto a post.
Latics then had two great late chances for Latics. Stobbs was unable to get his shot on target having been played clean through into a great position by Bahamboula who then placed an angled shot inches wide in added time.
Oldham Athletic: Leutwiler, Clarke (Stobbs 41), Hart, McGahey (Hopcutt 46), Piergianni, Adams, Whelan, Hope, Keillor-Dunn, Bowden (Bahamboula 64), Diarra. Subs (unused): Rogers, Couto, Vaughan, Turner.
Attendance: 5,026 (381 visitors).