Oldham Athletic 0-2 Scunthorpe United: Irons put Latics to the sword
Photo by Eddie Garvey/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The occasional firework echoed around Boundary Park as local Divali celebrations took place, but it was definitely not fireworks on the pitch for Harry Kewell's side.

For the Irons, it was their first away win since they faced Oldham Athletic on New Year's Day when Dino Maamria was in the dugout for the hosts.

Only Scunthorpe's second win in all competitions in their past eighteen games, the Latics were the favourites coming into the game but their performance did not reflect that.

The match

Oldham's recruitment in recent years has often taken inspiration from the French market, so after the performances of previous signings, many had been apprehensive about the addition of winger Dylan Bahamboula a couple of weeks ago.

However, if recent performances had not already been enough to persuade the Latics faithful of the 25-year-old's worth, then his effort in the first half further cemented his claim as one of the best players in Harry Kewell's side. He tormented Junior Brown in the opening 25 minutes of the half and was arguably the most positive player in the first 45.

The Latics have been hit with a number of injuries in recent weeks. The losses of Zak Dearnley and Conor McAleny have severely impacted the goalscoring threat of what was previously one of the best forward lines in the league.

Without an attacker who could directly trouble the goalkeeper, Danny Rowe was forced to play as the central striker. This doesn't make use of his best qualities as a hold-up man providing for another striker and also nullifies his threat from distance.

When the hosts weren't on the front foot, Scunthorpe took the opportunity to threaten Ian Lawlor and came close to opening the scoring. The visitors looked the most likely scorers from the first half: Abo Eisa coming close before his effort was parried, Jacob Bedeau having a header cleared off of the line and Ryan Loft's bicycle kick being tipped over at the last second.

Second half

Oldham struggled for the entire ninety and lacked any sort of potency going forwards. Usually, their attack is the most positive part of their game, but they couldn't find a way to trouble the visitors and found themselves on the back foot.

On the 60th minute, Paul Hurst's side pounced, gifted an opportunity by the hosts. A floated ball in from Kevin Van Veen found Jacob Bedeau in the middle of the box and completely unmarked - some Latics players looked over to the linesman but the flag stayed firmly by his side. It only needed a comfortable finish to open the scoring and he slotted through the legs of Lawlor.

As the clocked ticked down, things went from bad to worse. Again, a Scunthorpe player was completely unmarked in front of goal; again resulting in the deficit being increased. Ryan Loft flicked the ball on with the back of his heel in the direction of Van Veen, who had provided the assist for the opener, before the Dutch forward fired his effort into the bottom-left corner.

Takeaways from the match

Dearnley sorely missed

Against Hampton and Richmond Borough in the FA Cup as well as against Bradford City in the Papa John's Trophy, Oldham's attacking threat (or lack thereof) was masked by the quality of their opposition, but it came to the fore on Saturday afternoon.

With Danny Rowe forced to play in a more advanced role by usual, one of the league's best attacks was reduced to one which couldn't find any way to score and found it difficult to even get shots on target.

Oldham fire blanks

Saturday performance was arguably Oldham's worst of the season and it's not easy to find any way to draw any highlights from Harry Kewell's side.

Dylan Bahamboula had a handful of chances on the wing (and to be fair to him, he was able to break past the defenders with his trademark stepovers) but his end product could not deliver the goods.

Man of the match

Scunthorpe United - Kevin Van Veen

Scoring one and assisting the opener, the Dutch forward was given a score of 8.3 by WhoScored, only beaten by Jacob Bedeau.

However, the striker was probably the best Irons player across the game and took advantage of the opportunities he was gifted going forwards.

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