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Oldham Edge Win to Drag Chesterfield into Relegation Scrap

28 March 2016

A Mike Jones goal 12 minutes from time settled the match as the Spireites were dragged back towards the relegation zone in a 1-0 loss to John Sheridan's Oldham Athletic.

The Latics substitute gave the hosts the lead 78 minutes in with a crisp low drive that Tommy Lee had little chance of saving, and the goal would decide the match and push the Spireites back to within two points of the bottom four.

Both sides looked to get the early advantage, but it was the hosts who were asking the questions. In-form striker Aaron Amadi-Holloway sent in a couple of dangerous crosses but Liam O’Neil was on hand to clear.

At the other end Gboly Ariyibi was presented with the Spireites’ first chance; Sylvan Ebanks-Blake knocked down a Tom Anderson free-kick, but Ariyibi’s speculative volley flew over the bar.

The Latics had the better of the opening exchanges and came close to taking the lead when Matty Palmer’s lofted free-kick bounced inches wide when Tommy Lee failed to claim.

The relegation scrap was end-to-end stuff, with Ebanks-Blake flicking a Jamal Campbell-Ryce shot onto the roof of the net, while at the other end Palmer’ tried his luck from range, but his effort went the wrong side of the post.

In the windy conditions the ball was hanging in the air and again Lee failed to claim a cross as a touch off an Oldham body saw in bobble just wide.

Oldham were looking dangerous on the break, and that showed again when Curtis Main burst through the middle, only to be brought down by Anderson who escaped with a booking.

Jonathan Forte couldn’t connect with the resulting freekick, but moments later his ball across the face of goal only needed a touch, but Amadi-Holloway couldn’t finish.

Chesterfield were defending for their lives and found chances of their own at a premium. However, they almost took the lead when an Ebanks-Blake cross flashed inches away from the far post with Lee Novak lurking.

The Spireites were starting to get a grip of the game but were lucky to stay level at the break when Tareiq Holmes-Dennis pulled the ball back for Main, but his fierce low shot was well-saved by Lee.

With no changes at half-time, the Spireites looked to kick on with what they had, and won an early corner when Ariyibi’s deep cross looked to be sneaking in the far side of the net.

Novak then almost capitalised on a short backpass with only Joel Coleman to beat, but the 'keeper dealt with the danger.

Both sides knew the importance of the three points and the end-to-end play showed it. Drew Talbot brilliantly tackled Main in the area, but the resulting cross saw Forte’s free header go wide. However, his blushes were spared by the linesman’s flag.

It wasn’t long before Danny Wilson made his changes, though. Jay O’Shea and Jordan Slew came on for Campbell-Ryce and Ebanks-Blake respectively.

Slew was looking lively, particularly on the break linking up with his fellow sub as the visitors were seeing much more of the ball.

Both sides looked capable of winning the game, and Oldham again went close when a Latics man almost bundled a corner home.

However, the Latics didn’t have to wait long until they found their goal. Substitute Jones worked some space outside the area before firing an unstoppable strike past Lee and into the far corner.

The goal gave them confidence and almost doubled their lead immediately. Timmy Thiele chipped goalwards, and Lee had to be at his best to tip over.

The goal left the Spireites feeling deflated but they continued to look forwards. Anderson, who was playing as a make-shift centre forward for the closing moments, knocked down for O’Shea but saw his effort blocked.

Six minutes of added time gave Chesterfield hope as they piled on the men into the box and put their hosts under serious pressure.

Gary Liddle saw a low shot blocked by a crowd of bodies, while O’Shea sent a curling shot high and wide of the far corner.

The late pressure wasn’t enough as Chesterfield tasted defeat at the hands of their relegation rivals.

Oldham Athletic: Coleman (gk), Dieng, Wilson, Kelly (c), Amadi-Holloway (Jones 60'), Forte (Thiele 71' (Cassidy 90')), Palmer, Gerrard, Holmes-Dennis, Wilson, Main

Subs not used: Cornell, Mills, Croft, Winchester

Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Talbot, Anderson, Raglan, O'Neil - Campbell-Ryce (O'Shea 55'), Hird, Liddle (c), Ariyibi (Orrell  82') - Novak, Ebanks-Blake (Slew  65')

Subs not used: Chapman (gk), Herd, Humphreys, Banks

Goals:

Oldham Athletic: Jones 78'

Attendance: 4,483 (599 away fans)

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