SHERI FURY AT ‘CRIMINAL’ ACT
IT’S the longest-running League One match-up – but Latics boss John Sheridan knows he needs to make changes if this fixture is to be played again next season.
These third-tier stalwarts have been playing each other home and away for 11 seasons on the trot now.
Walsall are the second longest-serving League One side – stuck there since 2007 – but even they do not come close to matching Oldham’s whopping 21 years at this level.
Bookies have tipped both for relegation but on this evidence Oldham look likeliest to struggle and Sheridan did not mince his words afterwards.
After shading a poor first half through Ryan McLaughlin’s opener, the Latics faded badly as Joe Edwards’ leveller and Erhun Oztumer’s late winner gave Walsall the points.
Sheridan said: “It’s criminal – you come out second half and I’m just watching totally different players. We’ve only had a 15-minute break, what is it, something in the water?
“I need to get five or six more players in. I need to change the system because there are some players who, I’m going to have to say it, are unfortunately not good enough to get in the team.
“We’ve thrown the game away. It was a great opportunity to get three points but the second-half performance, I don’t even have the words to describe it.”
Hosts Walsall had, like Oldham, lost both of their opening games in league and cup before this so the clash did have the strange feeling of an earlyseason six-pointer.
And Saddlers boss Jon Whitney was delighted with result and performance: “It could have been 5-1 with how we dominated the second half.
“First half, I thought we started a little bit anxiously, a bit slow, but we responded really well in the second half.
“It’s probably a really important turning point for our new squad. It’s only the second game of the season but the manner of the performance was pleasing as well.
“We had them on the ropes the whole of the second half and it would have been an injustice if they had scored late on.”
Walsall fielded a completely new defence, all making their competitive home debuts – and they were all at sea when McLaughlin’s cross evaded everyone to give Oldham a 32nd-minute lead.
Had Saddlers keeper Mark Gillespie not got fingertips to Aaron Amadi-Holloway’s 20yarder on the stroke of half-time, the result might have been different.
However, Edwards’ deflected strike brought Walsall level on 53 minutes.
Oztumer hit the post from 20 yards and missed a close-range sitter but made amends by
poking home from a long throw right on 90 minutes.
Oldham almost snatched a point deep into stoppage time but Gillespie made a superb save to thwart sub Tope Obadeyi’s point-blank header.
WALSALL (3-5-2): Gillespie 7, J Wilson 7, Donnellan 6, Guthrie 7, Devlin 7, Morris 7, Chambers 6, Edwards 8, Leahy 5, Oztumer 7 (Jackson 90 N/A), Bakayoko 6 Subs not used: Roberts L, Roberts K, Kinsella, Sangha, Kouhyar, Candlin.
OLDHAM (4-1-4-1): Ben Wilson 4, Dummigan 6, Clarke 6, Gerrard 6, Hunt 6, Fane 6, Davies 6 (Obadeyi 68 5), Banks 6, Fawns 5 (Brian Wilson 68 5), McLaughlin 6, Holloway 6 (Duffus 84 4) Subs not
used: Edmundson, Mantack, Kyeremeh, Osei
JOY: Erhun Oztumer is ecstatic after his late winner and, inset, Craig Davies celebrates Oldham’s goal STAR MAN JOE EDWARDS Walsall