A Jack Laird double enabled Oldham Athletic to defeat Rochdale 2-1 in the North West Conference of the Football League Youth Alliance on Saturday.
Rochdale edged a keenly contested first-half but it was the Latics who went ahead early in the second half after Laird was set-up by strike partner Kyle Riley.
But with Rochdale enjoying good possession of the ball they were soon level thanks to well-worked goal scored by Helio Andre.
Not to be denied though Laird added his and Oldham’s match-winning goal with 15 minutes left after more good work by Riley.
However Rochdale piled on the pressure and Latics keeper Shaun Routledge was kept busy as they held on to win.
After the game Rochdale’s (Head of Youth) Chris Beech was proud of his players efforts but disappointed by the defeat.
“From a youth development point of view it was pleasing to watch we played some good stuff and passed the ball around well.”
“I think most observers would agree that we shouldn’t really have lost the game and I think the stats would back that up. We had twelve shots on goal to Oldham’s seven but we just couldn’t take advantage at the decisive moments.”
“It’s the first time we’ve lost two games on the bounce for two years so it’s hard to take but we’ll try and take some positives out of the way we moved the ball and out of a fantastic goal by Helio”
For Oldham it was their first competitive game since their 6-5 youth cup defeat to Manchester City in mid December and Latics Head of Youth Tony Philliskirk was pleased to get some of the ring rustiness out of the system.
“There’s no substitute for playing matches and the fact that we haven’t played a lot of football showed in the first half. I thought we were second best first-half but we got them in at half time and we changed one or two things and were much better in the second period.”
“We started to adapt to the conditions better and the longer the game went on we caused them more and more problems. We scored two decent goals and then when we were under the cosh showed character and resoluteness to see the game out.”
“The partnership between Kyle and Jack is looking promising both are first-years and they seem to have a good understanding, once they’ve got a bit more strength and more pitch awareness which will come as they go in to their second years it’ll have the making of a good partnership.”