Oldham throw away match against Macclesfield through careless give-away of free kick before final whistle

  • Latics suffer third defeat in a row
  • Maamria under pressure as club circle the relegation zone
  • 86th minute free-kick keeps play-offs in site for Macclesfield 

Dino Maamria’s Oldham Athletic faced another frustrating loss in their 1-0 defeat at Boundary Park against Macclesfield on Saturday.

Both sides had difficulty getting going in the opening 15 minutes, with the Latics struggling to find possession against Daryl McMahon’s strong away side.

Oldham had difficulty defending the impressive link-up play of the Silkmen’s right-back and right-winger Theo Archibald and Miles Welch-Hayes. After some increasingly shoddy defending from the Oldham side, the boys in blue were faced with a possible injury scare in the 27th minute after Macclesfield forward Connor Kirby’s outstretched studs collided with Oldham keeper Zeus de la Paz’s head.

Oldham found their footing close to half-time, but left-winger Jonny Smith was covering every blade of grass in the Macclesfield half. Regular stand-outs for the Latics, forward Desire Segbe Azankpo and playmaker Mohammed Maouche, had one of the few highlights of the game on the brink of the half-time whistle, creating a chance going forward until the Beninese international found the ball trapped between his feet and Macclesfield’s Theo Vassell inside the 18-yard box.

After a forgettable first-half performance from both sides, Oldham started the second half stronger than their less-than-stellar first 45 minutes.

Jonny Smith’s lobbed free kick in the 50th minute deflected for a half-volley smashed by Mahouche, who once again failed to find the Macclesfield net. The evenly-matched teams struggled in their attempts to find the opener as the second half continued, and despite chances opening up for both sides’ key attacking players, the ball frequently found itself never hitting the target.

Theo Archibald’s knack for creating chances hit its peak in the 63rd minute when a a lethal cross from the Scottish under 21 winger found Corey O’Keeffe, who couldn’t get his footing after being closed down by Oldham skipper David Wheater.

The first change of the game came in the 69th minute as Oldham manager Dino Maamria gave 16 year-old Lewis McKinney his professional debut in a bold substitution, choosing to take off the unremarkable Mohammed Maouche, who had plenty of opportunities to put the Latics into the lead.

As the clock ticked on, and with only a couple of shots on target a piece, the atmosphere at Boundary Park soured further, as Oldham midfielder Mohamad Sylla gave away a free kick on the edge of the area, which was fired into the back of net by Macclesfield substitute Jak McCourt.

It was too little, too late for the Latics as the game went over the allotted five minutes of injury time into the 97th minute of play, with chances being squandered by an Oldham team who looked like they had given up after the Silkbirds found the net.

Dino Maamria said after the match: “I think our first half was very, very poor. We didn’t do the basics of football. We had to bounce back from last week’s result, we didn’t do that first half.

“Second half we came out better, we created more chances going forward, but to give away a silly free kick in the 86th minute…one of our bad habits is giving away too many free kicks. Oldham Athletic is a big club for League Two, and that’s nowhere near good enough.

“This is definitely going to be my hardest job. We need time, a team that cares about the badge, who do the basics well. We don’t have the the basics right now, but that’s something to build on. I think Jonny Smith had a terrific game in the front four, something I want build on. Tom Hamer, Jamie Stott, these players give me confidence.”

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