Two points dropped: Oldham 1-1 Imps

Courtesy Lewis Kelly

Playing away against Oldham Athletic isn’t usually a game you expect to come away from carrying three points. Prior to this evening’s encounter, we had gone just under sixty years without a win there.

That run is now going to get longer.

There’s going to be a lot of social media feedback bubbling about after this one, there’s no doubt about that. It was an engrossing game of football between a tough, organised home side and at times a disjointed Lincoln City. The obvious punch bag is going to be everyone’s favourite scapegoat John Akinde, wrongly.

I’m going to launch straight in to the argument because I am baffled by both the criticism of John and his awful luck in front of goal. His recent run reminds me a lot of Matt Green last season, a player now widely described as a natural goal scorer but a year ago castigated as the cause of our poor form. This year, John Akinde is the one getting the stick and in truth, he’s turned in two good performances.

He missed a couple of chances this evening and his honesty probably cost us early on, but overall he was one of our better players. I’m not sure he’s as sharp in front of goal as he once was, but hopefully his time will come, just as Matt Green’s did last season.

My personal opinion is we should have won tonight’s game. To play against ten men for an entire half should yield a win, especially when you consider we asserted some degree of dominance in the second period. However, we couldn’t break down a wonderfully resilient home side and when we did, their keeper was in good form. We fluffed some chances, not just Akinde either, and in certain areas our usual approach broke down. I believe, if you read my preview, I called us not getting as much joy from the flanks and it seems I was right.

We didn’t get a lot of joy anywhere, but not through a lack of trying.

If I was putting my negative hat on I’d say our two attacking players are still too far from each other, I’d ask if we’re missing Frecklington with Tom Pett turning in an average performance. He’s gone off the boil the last game or two, but players come in and out of form all the time. It led to a frustrating evening in which John Akinde did 95% of his job right, missed a decent chance or two but was otherwise very isolated. There wasn’t a great deal of supply from out wide, McCartan was too far away and that somehow reflects badly on John and not anyone else.

The first half was all a bit shambolic towards the end, Danny Gardner’s injury prompted a spell in which little football was played. I felt for Gardner, he’s clearly a talent and when he went off I thought we could get the upper hand. then there was the obscenely long wait for an injured linesman to be replaced, before the red card.

I’ve been told by some it wasn’t a sending off, others think it was. I heard the line ‘evening things up’ in relation to Lee Frecklington’s injury against Port Vale, but that wasn’t the case. Miller went in high and reckless on Josh Vickers and in my mind, it’s a red card. If it was the other way around I couldn’t defend it either and the letter of the law these days is all around having control. Miller was high and had little control so it is a sending off. Fair play to Josh he didn’t stay down and I even saw some Oldham fans criticising him for getting up and the card still being shown. Stay down and he’s a cheat, get up and it isn’t a foul? Logical.

The best chance fell to Akinde in the early stages and depending on your outlook he was either unlucky or wasteful. He could and maybe should have gone down when his shirt was tugged, but he saw a goal scoring opportunity and went for it. He was close, hitting the bar, but in truth he should have scored. He’s lacking a sharpness in front of goal which I find upsetting because that is what he’s being judged on, nothing more. His all round play is superb and yet he misses a chance and everyone wants him replaced. 

Still, at 0-0, 10 v 11 and with Gardner off as well, it did seem as though we were in the driving seat. League One last season, big club, good players, 59 winless years, none of that should have mattered. This is 2018, we had more players, we’re above them in the league and from this point on we should have won the game. It is that simple.

Next Page – the second half

10 Comments

  1. Pretty much as I saw it.

    I really, really cannot understand the level of criticism of Akinde who was one of our best out there tonight, the idiot in the gents after the game calling him a ‘useless c**t’ got a more polite mouthful back from me, if people can’t see how individuals perform why do they waste their time and money going to matches? T**t.

    At the moment however we are less than the sum of our parts, a few players flattering to deceive. Tom Pett was ok tonight,a few others less so. It does need freshening up, I’d like to see Green and (if possible) Gordon start on Saturday. And Akinde too, naturally.

  2. Lucky to get a point … Against ten men you were useless. Oldham had enough chances to win the game and were the better team.. What I saw was a team of cheats, bruisers and talentless individuals playing long ball and going for the best.

  3. Fair assessment. Once again our biggest threat was Akinde who was a real handful and we were far less threatening once he had gone off especially as Plan B just isn’t very pretty. Don’t see why, especially playing against 10 men you essentially take your most influential and creative players (Pett/Frecklington/MaCartan/Andrade) out of the game by resorting to what simply became ‘hoofball’.

  4. Having made the horrible journey with a couple of mates across the Penines, I’m sorry to say the best thing about the evening was the balti pie 😀.
    Right from the start the Imps for some reason had no urgency or spark this continued throughout the match. There was no player who took the game by the scruff of the neck.
    Oldham are no slouch especially going forward. But after the injury and the sending off they were there for the taking.
    But we never looked as if we had the extra man.
    Oldham weren’t great at the back, and I thought they were ripe for Green & Akinde (both willing runners) but for some reason this option isn’t available or won’t work.
    Every team has a poor patch, But we are conceding and also not scoring from set pieces or open play. I just hope we get out of the slump sooner rather than later as it is us that look to be there for the taking.
    Christmas fixtures are coming up and we need to get back to winning way by then, because there are a lot of sides below us just hitting a purple patch and closing the gap between us & MKD.
    Come on City UTI
    PS the atmosphere at Boundary Park was non existent and it was good City Supporters were there otherwise you would have heard a pin drop

    • I thought Akinde played well. We have to remember what we are asking him to do, he is a bit isolated.
      I too would love to see green with him.
      My one criticism of him is he never jumps when heading.
      It be nice if he was more clinical but let’s nit forget that thread and green were not clinical enough last season.

  5. Far from being in that anti-Akinde camp but i think that you should expect more from your striker. Especially when he is your record signing too. One goal in last 15 games is really,really poor and that is a fact… I am positive that he’ll get better eventually but for now just not good enough…

  6. As long as I am positive about Akinde getting better and start scoring I have no doubt that at the moment he is just not good enough. When your record signing striker score 1 goal in 15 games that is just poor…

  7. In the early part of the season we came out on the right side of some close results. Its beginning to even itself out now. We are doing just fine. No one including Mk Dons are going to win this League by 10 points. We are well positioned to add to the squad in January. Should we be promoted we will have to improve the quality and although January is not a time when significant number of players are available, Im sure Danny will be looking to add two or three and this will give us a kick start to the last half of the season where other teams may not be able to strengthen. We were within a minute of winning that Mansfield game and therefore 4 from 6 for those two games would have been well received. As supporters and commentators we need to stop expecting to win every football match. We are averaging 2 points a game and that will get us there. Keep the faith!

  8. I watched it on ifollow. Firstly whether Josh got up straight away or not was irrelevant, as with the Ellis Chapman card a few weeks ago it was straight out his back pocket without any discussion or second thought, probably to calm a potentially lary reaction from any other player. As for John Akinde, I think he is vastly underated, the amount of lost causes he recovers, the work he does on his own week in week out is tremendous, as you’ve stated McArten plays too far away from him, too far back. I also don’t understand why supporters are moaning about us being ‘only’ 2nd in the league, obviously they weren’t there when we were a division lower and struggling.

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