NEXT TIME OUT... Scunthorpe (A)

Matt Edwards
Saturday 15 February 2020

A late strike from George Williams poured cold water on Oldham Athletic, as they salvaged a point in the grips of Storm Dennis.

Against the side he suffered his leg break against on the opening game of the season, the Welshman scored with a minute of normal time remaining to cancel out Gevaro Nepomuceno’s earlier goal.

An FGR side hit by injuries to key players had a boost on that front with the return of Jevani Brown to the starting XI, following a hamstring injury sustained against Macclesfield Town.

He was joined in the first team by Lewis Thomas in goal, Nathan McGinley, Aaron Collins and Jack Aitchison, who came off the bench for the injured Odin Bailey on Tuesday, the forward ruled out for at least six weeks with an ankle injury.

With the forces of Storm Dennis in full flow as the players walked out at Boundary Park, it was a start that matched the wind speeds blowing through the stadium from both sides.

Nepomuceno had a sight of goal inside 50 seconds, his effort going wide, before, at the other end, Collins played in Aitchison, who took a touch inside in the box and Gary Woods pulled off a good save to turn behind for a corner.

The blustery start continued as Jonny Smith put in a dangerous cross from the left across the six yard box and McGinley did well to get in front of Nepomuceno and showed the composure to cushion the ball down for Thomas to collect.

Just shy of the quarter-hour mark and FGR nearly took the lead, as big gap opened up in the middle of the park and Aitchison drifted into it with the ball, taking his shot early and only just firing wide of the post.

In the 26th minute, Zachary Dearnley nearly blew the roof off of the home end as he let fly with a dipping effort from 30 yards out, Thomas may have got fingertips to it as it rattled back off the crossbar.

The loose ball was immediately worked back out wide to Smith, whose deflected cross almost caught Thomas off guard, but he was alert to the swirling ball and turned it behind for a corner.

FGR were blowing hot as we entered the final throngs of the half, and were only denied a break through goal by a superb save from Woods with three minutes left of the first period.

A free-kick from the right was taken too deep, but Adams slid in to recover the ball going for a throw on the far side before his ball into the box dropped to Collins, whose shot on the half volley was well tipped over the bar by the Oldham stopper.

FGR picked up where they left off the first half, with the wind behind them, and inside the first minute, Adams won the ball well in midfield and it set away Brown, driving at the Oldham box, his shot dipping just over the bar.

However, it was the hosts that took the important lead in the conditions as Nepomuceno was gifted space from distance and his shot skidded off the wet surface and rose to beat Thomas at the far post.

The goal sparked changes from the bench as different attacking options were introduced in the form of Rob Hall and George Williams.

It was the latter who twice tested Woods in the following five minutes, first cutting in from the left to let fly before a dipping free-kick from a central position forced the Oldham keeper to be fully alert in difficult conditions as the ball bounced in front of him.

Williams was again involved when Forest Green hit the bar in the 79th minute. It was his free-kick that was delivered in from the left and Liam Kitching came in at pace to get his head to it, but fell to the floor in agony as he saw it clatter the bar and go behind for a goal kick.

After a spell of pressure, Williams was to make sure his impact from the bench got the goal it warranted.

He picked the ball up on the edge of the area, with the rain hurling down at this point, and curled an effort past Woods into the top corner.

FGR escaped a late scare in the fourth minute of added time as Nepomuceno saw his second of the game go begging, played in behind but as he rounded Thomas, Rawson was back to deny the Oldham man with a sliding challenge.

There was still time at the other end for Winchester to sting the palms of Woods but both sides had to settle for the point, and rain sodden kits.

Oldham XI: Woods, Mills, Nepomuceno, Missilou (Sylla 73’), McCann(c), Smith (Branger-Engone 82’), Piergianni, Hamer, Dearnley (Maouche 65’), Rowe, Borthwick-Jackson

Unused subs: De La Paz, Wilson, N’Guessan, Sylla, Dieseruvwe

Forest Green XI: Thomas, Rawson, Winchester (c), Collins (March 68’), Adams, Brown (Williams 60’), Dawson, McGinley, Kitching, Aitchison (Hall 60’), Stokes

Unused subs: Logan, M Mills, Stevens, Frear

Referee: Marc Edwards

Attendance: 2,720 (107)

Man of the match: Carl Winchester

Next time out: Scunthorpe United, Glanford Park, Saturday, February 22, 3pm