POLEON STARS AS LATICS STALL
OLDHAM caretaker boss Dean Holden says former Blades forward Dominic Poleon was “unplayable” but his firsthalf double earned just a point against play-off chasing Sheffield United.
Poleon netted twice in emphatic fashion to give the Latics reason to dream of a coveted top-six finish but Jason Holt pulled one back as the Blades sharpened up their act after the break.
And Jamie Murphy scored his 12th goal of the season to force a precious share of the spoils as United bid to secure their own play-off spot with Athletic left to rue what might have been.
Oldham caretaker manager Dean Holden said: “We are obviously disappointed not to have won it after having such a good first half, but we were up against a really good team.
“We were very close to taking the game away from Sheffield United but things sometimes come down to such small margins and those are what we have to look to learn from.
“Dominic Poleon was unplayable in the first half and his second strike was terrific.
“In the dressing room it feels a bit like a defeat but we kept going until the end and now we will look forward to Coventry on Tuesday.”
Liam Kelly’s ninth-minute shot troubled United ‘keeper Mark Howard who smothered it at the second attempt.
And Latics stopper Joel Coleman was also busy when he saved from Marc McNulty.
But Poleon showed great composure to open the scoring for Oldham on 22 minutes, turning Kieron Freeman inside out before firing a shot across Howard and into the bottom corner.
And the 21-year-old then doubled Athletic’s advantage with a stupendous second, digging the ball from under his feet to rifle a mesmerising 30-yard strike into the top corner before half-time.
Poleon scuppered a chance to get his hat-trick four minutes into the second half when he was played in after some good work by Ryan Turner.
The Blades pulled one back after Paul Coutts’ low 56th-minute cross squirmed through Oldham’s defence for Holt to slot home from close range.
Coleman denied United’s Michael Doyle from the edge of the area with a scrapbook save to tip the ball over the bar.
But he couldn’t keep the ball out from a second successive Blades corner with Murphy bundling it in after Coleman had clawed away Chris Basham’s 73rd-minute header.
Doyle then crashed a volley into the post but neither side could snatch a winner.
United boss Clough said: “We didn’t get to grips with the conditions too much early on but we played well in the first half despite going in two goals down.
“We made two mistakes in that half and they both cost us but coming back from two-nil down away from home is always a good result.
“Overall I was pleased with our performance.We want to secure a place in the play-offs and the draw takes us a step closer.”