Fleet 0-0 Oldham Athletic

A goalless draw might not sound like the most entertaining of 90 minutes but the Fleet fans amongst a big crowd who made plenty of noise thought differently after seeing their side battle to a deserved point. And if it had been three on the Fleet’s second-half performance, nobody could have complained.

The visitors might have taken advantage when Mark Cousins advanced far out of his box and ended up having to foul James Norwood outside his own box but the Fleet began to push upfield following the early scare and Omari Sterling-James picked up the ball from the edge of the area and had a crack on goal which forced a save from Matt Hudson.

James Norwood should have found the back of the net past the quarter-hour mark. Oldham’s leading goalscorer carried the ball around Cousins towards the byline and took a shot but was unable to hit the target and lost his balance.

Fleet were next in line to an opener. Rakish Bingham squared a ball towards Ouss Cissé whose shot was blocked by the Oldham defence. Dominic Poleon had a chance for himself moments later when he latched on to a Luke O’Neill long ball but the Fleet forward steered his shot wide.

The hosts concluded the half with a number of attempts to slot the ball through on goal but Oldham latched on to every through ball to keep the Fleet at bay and the scoreline would remain goalless at the break.

When the second-half got under way, the Fleet started on the front foot and didn’t let up. Toby Edser unleashed a shot from 10 yards but Hudson pulled off a superb save to deny that effort.

It was a lively and exciting display from the Fleet who pushed Oldham back into their own half and had the visitors trying to kill the game time and again. Norwood forced a save from Cousins when he dispatched a shot from close range but a block from the Fleet keeper kept the score level.

Interim head coach Danny Searle kept his substitutes until late on and it was difficult to pick a man to go off the way the Fleet were playing, with Sterling-James continually fouled on the right flank plus Edser and Bingham busy trying to create chances. A box scramble in the box saw Fleet come close again as they piled on pressure and that one was somehow cleared by the visitors following shots from Ben Chapman and Edser from close range. Chapman’s effort was superbly palmed away by Hudson and Oldham eventually scrambled the ball from danger.

The tempo from the Fleet was more than the Oldham midfield could handle but their defence kept them level and they went into the final moments looking to snatch a late winner. Mark Kitching’s close-range header and a strike from distance by Mike Fondop were just off target.

Tom Conlon’s free-kick was then delivered too deep and the ball is out wide calming the nerves of the Fleet.

EUFC: Cousins, O’Neill, Kenlock, Skura, Cissé, Wright, Sterling-James (McQueen 80), Chapman, Edser (Ibe 85), Bingham, Poleon (Samuel 81). Subs: Fogarty
OAFC: Hudson, Sachdev, Kitching, Lundstram, Sheron, Raglan, McGahey, Garner, Norwood, Conlon. Subs: Norman, Hammond
Attendance: 1,859 (263 OAFC)

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