Oldham Athletic 3-2 Liverpool U21s: Latics produce three points in their first Leasing.com trophy tie
Photo by Eddie Garvey/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If anybody had made the trip to Boundary Park under the guise that they would be able to glimpse a known player from Jurgen Klopp's Champions League-winning team, then they would have been very disappointed.

However, the Liverpool side was filled with talent that could grace the pitch at Anfield in the future, as a team who finished fourth in the Premier League 2 last season. The manager of the Merseyside club's development side was Neil Critchley - the 40-year-old only undertaking a single match in his short stint as a professional footballer, a 3-0 away defeat for Crewe Alexandra at Fulham.

New signing  and number 67 Harvey Elliot featured for the reds, with another summer signing in Sepp Van Den Berg also featuring in the starting lineup.

Oldham looked to improve on their 1-0 defeat away from home to Forest Green Rovers on Saturday. According to the club website, Laurent Banide had stated before the match that he had 'seen a reaction' from his squad in training. 

The club's head coach had also said that he had 'a good feeling' with new signing for the Latics; Ashley Smith-Brown , who made his Oldham debut and touched on the fact that he had impressed in training. Ex-Manchester United Chris Eagles also made his Latics debut.

The match was officiated by Paul Marsden, who last refereed an Oldham game in their 2-0 away loss to Lincoln City in the 18/19 season. This game was also Paul Scholes' last at the helm of the Latics before he departed the club after just 31 days in his position.

The match

Oldham Athletic kicked off the match, struggling from very early on in the game. The Latics quickly found themselves on the back foot, and found it difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Liverpool side.

Many Oldham fans quickly found themselves distracted by the fact that Wigan Athletic striker and Oldham fan-favourite from last season, Callum Lang, was in attendance at the match. The 21-year-old Liverpudlian has been rumoured to sign for Oldham in the past weeks.

Williams opens scoring

Within just four minutes of play, Neco Williams netted the first of the game for the Reds, hitting an exquisite volley from just inside the box that flew past Latics goalkeeper Gregor Zabret.

On the turn of 10 minutes, Oldham was gifted an opportunity when Liverpool's keeper hit it straight to Eagles, however, Gevaro Nepomuceno's chipped effort did not trouble Daniel Atherton. From the resulting corner, Latics striker Désiré Segbe Azankpo found himself alone, but his header fell wide of the goal.

Azankpo gets his revenge

Within ten minutes of his missed chance, Azankpo found himself through on goal after a mistake from the Liverpool defence. This time, his chipped effort was too much for goalkeeper Atherton and it dropped sweetly into the bottom-right corner to equal the scoring.

Despite their uneasy start to the match, Oldham's level of play progressed, holding off the attacks from the young Liverpool side and managing to create many chances of their own.

Morgan Boyes was the first of the night to enter into the referee's book, receiving a yellow for his challenge on winger Chris Eagles in the 28th minute.

Iacovetti Doubles

On the 29th minute, new signing from Nottingham Forest, Alex Iacovetti netted the second of the night for the Latics.  A corner was played in, and the centre-back managed to find the bottom corner of the net with his foot to take Laurent Banide's side in front.

On the 35th minute, Liverpool man Isaac Christie-Davies brought down Chris Eagles after a good piece of buildup play for the Latics and subsequently received a yellow card.

Azankpo found himself penned in on the right-wing by two Liverpool men, and a challenge from one of the young players resulted in him going down for a couple of minutes with an injury to his right ankle. Luckily, the Benin international was able to resume play shortly after.

Elliot equalises

Just before the half-time whistle, new Liverpool signing from Fulham, Harvey Elliot pounced on a parried save by goalkeeper Gregor Zabret. He calmly tucked the ball into the bottom-right corner of the Swansea loanee's net to draw the scores level. 

There was a single substitution for the second half, with a possibly injured Segbe-Azankpo being replaced by youngster Florian Gonzales who was brought in this summer from Auxerre in the French second division.

Just as the second half started, Chris Eagles found himself with a brilliant goalscoring opportunity, only being denied by Atherton who stretched at full length to clear the ball off of the goal-line with his fingertips.

Isaac Christie-Davies found himself sidelined within five minutes of play resuming; The injured player being swapped for Elijah Dixon-Bonner.

Latics' winger Dylan Fage picked up a yellow card of his own, after he brought down Curtis Jones.

For a long period of time, the game slowed down. Both sides only created occasional chances, and the tiredness of some players who were not used to playing a full 45 began to show.

Liverpool starlet Harvey Elliot was replaced by Jack Bearne on the 66th minute, after his goal being the only real addition that he made to the game.

Shortly after, Chris Eagles also found his way off the pitch to be replaced by youngster Kealen Adams from the bench. To the delight of many Latics fans, this change was followed by striker Urko Vera leaving the field for Callum Dolan.

Stott gives the latics the lead

With ten minutes left to spare in the game, defender Jamie Stott nodded the ball in from an inswinging Nepomuceno corner from around six yards out. This was Oldham's second goal from a corner of the night, and it looks as if they may prove to be strong from set-pieces in the rest of the season.

There was little action in the final few minutes, with both sides looking increasingly tired as the clock ran down. There were three minutes of added time, but neither side were able to produce any concrete chances

Oldham Athletic: Zabret, Iacovetti (29'), Smith-Brown, Stott (81'), Vera (Dolan 77'), Nepomuceno, Fage, Segbe-Azankpo (21'), Sylla, Eagles (Adams 69'), Hamer (c)

Subs: Allen, Gonzales, Robinson, Swaby-Neavin, Dolan, Adams, Jones

Liverpool U21s: Atheron, Lewis, Jones, Duncan, Christie-Davies (Dixon-Bonner 51'), Elliot (44'), (Bearne 66'), Chirivella (c), Larouci, Van Den Berg, Boyes, Williams (4')

Subs: Winterbottom, Varesanovic, Gallacher, Clayton, Dixon-Bonner, Bearne

Attendance: 1,522 (183 away)

Takeaways from the game

The weekend side fielded by Laurent Banide allowed players like Chris Eagles to gain some much-needed game time. For a squad which was missing many important players, such as David Wheater, there were some very good moments of play.

New signings for the reds Sepp Van Den Berg and Harvey Elliott produced mixed performances. Elliott sometimes looked strong down the right flank, however, he was very inconsistent with his play. Van Den Berg looked much more promising, however, made a number of defensive errors.

Overall, this game will not be seen as much more than an additional friendly match by Oldham fans, and possibly by those working behind the scenes. It was, however, a game for Laurent Banide to test out any tactical adjustments he wanted to make. There were many positives to take from this young side, however, there were also negatives that the coaching team will presumably look to correct in time for the match with Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.

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