NILE IS NOT A LONE RANGER
PHIL Brown singled out a superb first-half strike by the controversial Nile Ranger as Southend moved within a point of the play-offs.
The striker, who appeared in court least week charged with fraud and money laundering, netted in the 18th minute to set the Shrimpers on the way to a tenth game unbeaten.
Jermaine McGlashan added a second in the 76th minute to make the points safe.
And Brown believes that despite his off-field troubles, Ranger’s quality shone through.
“Nile Ranger was toiling a wee bit and looked like he was pulling the weight of the world on his shoulders,” said the Southend boss, whose side now sit in seventh.
“Then he produced a moment of brilliance to put us in front and all that weight was lifted away.
“It was an easy decision to play him because Thursday was an optional day for training but he came in and trained very well.
“The lads are looking after him. They support each other immensely on and off the field, which as a manager I really admire.
“We had a clean sheet mentality right to the end and fully deserved the three points.
“Our unbeaten run is welldeserved by the players because their work rate is tremendous and every player does his job.”
Ranger opened the scoring when defensive confusion led to a corner that Jason Demetriou flighted towards the marksman, who controlled inside the box and spun before extending a right foot to finish smartly over his own left-hand shoulder.
Southend were fully in control in the first half, though the hosts did improve, and could have levelled when Peter Clarke’s header from an Ollie Banks free-kick was directed too close to Shrimpers goalkeeper Mark Oxley.
Will Atkinson saw a low shot deflect a foot wide on the break and Ryan Leonard’s long-range attempt was beaten away by Oldham goalkeeper Connor Ripley, before McGlashan’s goal.
Capitalising on a poor Banks pass, he advanced and produced a shot the Ripley saved initially before converting the rebound with an outstretched right foot.
Anthony Wordsworth hit a free-kick Ripley tipped wide and at the death, Banks had a header cleared off the line with Cameron Burgess directing the follow-up against the bar for the sorry hosts, who drew a blank on home soil for the eighth time in ten league outings.
Oldham manager Stephen Robinson said: “The performance was disappointing and the result takes care of itself.
“There were four or five players unrecognisable from our previous two games.
“There seems to be a real fear factor of playing at home. I can’t put my finger on it and the crowd were very good, not getting on the boys’ back when I probably would have done!
“Whatever tactics you play, if you can't pass a ball five yards then you are going to lose.”
STAR MAN ANTHONY WORDSWORTH Southend THE WRITE STUFF: Nile Ranger ensures he will make on-thefield headlines by scoring Southend’s opening goal