Match: Oldham Athletic U18 v Preston North End U18
Saturday came along and the reigning champions were looking to avenge the 5-0 drumming we gave them earlier in the season. A big shock as I was named in the team again for the second week running! I didn’t expect to be playing but was delighted that I was.
The game got underway at 11am and Oldham dominated the opening stages, putting numerous crosses into the box. I had to come and claim a couple and some excellent last ditch defending from Ray Shearwood and Mark Bloxham saved us on a couple of occasions. They had two great chances however. The striker put the ball just past me, left of the post and shortly afterwards they hit the crossbar. After this spell we started to get a foothold in the game and Arran McCarthy had a chance to give us the lead but hit straight at the keeper. Shortly after this with 44 minutes gone we got the break through. Sam Hart whipped a corner in from the right and the Oldham defender headed into his own net. Straight from the kick off, Oldham nearly equalised, a shot came in from 18 yards, I saw the ball very late but managed to tip the ball behind at full stretch for a corner.
After the break both sides traded blows before a crucial point in the match occurred. An Oldham played was sent off for head butting Tom McMahon and they were down to 10 men. This however seemed to rejuvenate the Oldham side and they attacked well putting numerous crosses into the box. I came for everything I could and dealt with everything well, apart from one cross, which I dropped, but claimed it on the second attempt. Oldham had a great chance though after Chris Rodgers slipped. Their striker came one-on-one with me and I stood my ground as long as possible. He rounded me and hit his shot goal-wards. I managed to get the slightest of fingertips to the ball, which took the pace of it and Chris recovered to clear off the line.
We hung on after this point and could have extended our lead but the Oldham keeper made a couple of good stops. The final score 1-0 and we were through to the next round. Overall 2 games and 2 clean sheets. I couldn’t do much more than that. The first team grabbed a good point at Bramall Lane drawing 1-1. They were only denied the three points thanks to a poor refereeing decision, which lead to a penalty.