Gerrard winner lifts Athletic out of drop zone
Date published: 14 February 2018
Athletic match-winner Anthony Gerrard
Athletic claimed a vital win against relegation rivals MK Dons, with the three points lifting them out of the Sky Bet League One drop zone.
Skipper Anthony Gerrard’s first-half headed goal separated the two sides on a bitterly cold night at SportsDirect.com Park.
It was a night that wasn’t easy on the eye, and it was the visitors who had the opening chances of the game.
A long clearance found Chuks Aneke, and he drove a low shot towards goal which Johny Placide managed to palm away unconvincingly.
Robbie Murihead then bent a curling effort just past the left hand post after Jack Byrne had given the ball away in his own third.
The Dons were on top in the opening exchanges and were almost ahead when a long diagonal free kick from Dean Lewington was dropped by Placide, but Scott Wootton couldn’t direct his header on target.
The home side finally got a foot hold in the game and should have been ahead after MK Dons had let slip their early dominance.
Byrne fired in an effort which Lee Nicholls palmed away straight into Craig Davies’ path, but the Welshman dragged his follow-up wide of the post.
Moments Kean Bryan headed powerfully into the top corner, only for the linesman to rule out the celebrations for offside.
Gerrard made the breakthrough shortly before the break as he attacked a Ben Pringle corner inside a crowded six yard box, and a sense of relief filled the stadium.
The second half was a difficult watch as both sides failed to create much.
Duckens Nazon - fresh from his double strike at Blackburn - saw a deflected effort just land on the roof of the net.
Dan Gardner and Byrne both had efforts from distance, but they didn’t cause any trouble for Nicholls in goal.
Latics restricted MK Dons to virtually nothing with a solid defensive display, a reminder that Richie Wellens’ men have the capability to grind out results.
Sub Aaron Amadi-Holloway had a chance to kill the game when he was sent through on goal. However, every touch he took seemed to take a bobble and the chance went begging.
The win moves Oldham out of the bottom four into 19th place.
Latics now have ten days to rest before the home game against another team in and around them, when Southend United visit SportsDirect.com Park.