Stalemate for Latics against Bromley

Reporter: Mark Rooney
Date published: 05 March 2024

After a 1-1 home draw with Southend on Saturday, Latics had a second chances to move into to fourth place on a crisp Tuesday evening at Boundary Park when Bromley, who currently hold the runners-up place, were the visitors.

Over 5,000 fans braved the weather and were treated to a hard-fought battle between two of the National League’s top clubs.

Latics boss Micky Mellon made three changes to his starting line-up.

James Norwood made his first start since coming back from injury, with Mike Fondop dropping to the bench.

Devarn Green was out with an ankle injury with Tom Conlon coming in, while Saj Sachdev replaced Harrison McGahey.

The game started brightly for Latics with two good chances falling to Joe Garner in the first 10 minutes, both well saved by Grant Smith.

But after the initial half-hour the game became a disjointed and tense affair, especially with both sides having their promotion aspirations at stake over the coming weeks.

Fondop and Dallas came on during the latter stages for Norwood and Garner, but to no avail and the game did end up on a sour note when, in stoppage time, Fondop appeared to have been elbowed in the face by Callum Reynolds, but it went unpunished.

In the end a final result of a draw would have left Bromley leaving “Ice Station Zebra” well satisfied, while once again Latics' home form continues to be their weak link in an otherwise satisfactory season.

After the game Mellon reflected on the night’s events.

He said: “In the first half for 30 minutes I thought we played well with two of the best chances of the game and you would imagine we would be able to take one of them or even two of them.

“Then it became very scrappy before half time and seemed to pick the same tempo in the second half with a lot of free-kicks.

"Bromley had a couple of counter attacks but they never really came to anything.

"We didn’t do much at the other end - it just became a game of free-kicks.

“But I suppose at this time in the season with nine matches left you just have to keep that scoreboard ticking.

“All credit to the players, they battled hard, battled gamely, but there wasn’t an awful lot of quality.

"And you just take the point and you move on.”

The manager also confirmed that Green was likely to be out of action for the next 4-6 weeks following the damage to his ankle against Southend.

The result saw Latics move up on place to fifth position in the National League table.

On Saturday they travel to meet Aldershot Town before going to Halifax next Tuesday, and three of their next four games are away, which given their impressive form on their travels this season may be very positive for them.

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