top of page

Report | Oldham Athletic (h)

Notts County 4 : 1 Oldham Athletic | Vanarama National League | 26 December 2022

A comfortable and assured performance saw Notts record their 17th win of the season and retain their place at the top of the National League.

As expected Oldham set up with a back 5 in an attempt to shut the Magpies out but a Cedwin Scott headed goal on 4 minutes suggested this would be a long afternoon for the visitors.

However, a well taken Joe Nuttall equaliser just a minute later raised a few question marks about how the game might play out, but with that Nuttall goal being the first of just 3 attempts on goal by the Latics there was only ever going to be one outcome.

The topsy turvy opening to proceedings continued as the Magpies once again found themselves back on top. An Ed Francis free kick on 9 minutes saw Oldham keeper Magnus Norman save low to his right with a strong parry only to see Notts Skipper Kyle Cameron confidently pounce on the rebound, firing the ball home from a tight angle for his first goal of the season. From that point on Notts took complete control of the game and goals from Ruben Rodrigues and a second for Scott just before half time was enough to put the game to bed.

David Unsworth, who was constantly berated by the travelling Latics fans switched things up at half time, bringing experienced forward Alex Reid on for 18 year old Sydie Peck, re-shuffling his pack to a more compact 4-4-2.

This did little to change the dynamics of a game that saw Notts continue to dominate possession and with just over 20 minutes to go Luke Williams felt comfortable enough to replace his midfield duo of Palmer and Francis, along with Rodrigues with John Bostock, Kairo Mitchell and Quevin Castro getting a run out.

The changes saw a slight tweak in formation from the 3-4-2-1 we have become accustomed to from Williams to a 4-1-3-2 which saw Bostock take up the deep lying midfielder role with Castro and Austin just ahead of him and Mitchell joining up with Scott as a front 2.

The game petered out to its natural conclusion as Notts took their foot off the gas with the biggest chance of the second half arguably falling to Castro, who saw his shot from a Chicksen cut back blocked by an Oldham defender.

The final action of the game saw Kairo Mitchell gamefully but inadvertently heading clear a powerful Richard Brindley effort from about 25 yards out.

Despite the lack of goals in the second half Notts were easy winners and the 3 points ensured The Magpies stayed 4 points clear of closest rivals Wrexham, who had an impressive 5-0 win over Solihull Moors at the Racecourse Ground.

We suggested in our preview that Oldham might start with a back 5 knowing the threat Notts have out wide and that is exactly what happened. However, the biggest shock was the complete lack of pres and challenge intensity from Unsworth's team who were happier to sit back and let Notts play rather than trying to force a turnover and break the play up.

Notts' dominance in this game is clearly visualised in the data above with Oldham having just 3 attempts on goal to The Magpies 19 attempts. The ball possession stats are again quite ridiculous and the xG data does nothing to appease the Latics faithful with the lancashire club recording an expected win percentage of just 0.64 and a very depressing xPTS of just 0.06, by far the worst we have seen from an opponent so far this season.

Nine different players had a sight of goal for Notts with Ruben Rodrigues recording the highest combined xG value of 0.93.

Adam Chicksen had the highest value chance of the game in the first half with his outstretched toe poke against the foot of the far post from a couple of yards out recording a 0.57 xG.

Joe Nuttall's well taken goal was the best of the 3 chances for Oldham recording a 0.22 xG value.

Season stats updated below.

The season stats continue to look very good. In fact after yesterdays games, based on the current PPG, Notts would accrue more than 109 points which is absolutely nuts. Even crazier is the fact that second placed Wrexham are currently looking at securing 106 points.

With Notts scoring 4 goals, and with 2 of those coming from Cedwin Scott, it debunks the claim that The Magpies are a one man team and will struggle for goals without Macaulay Langstaff.

Cedwin's brace see's him jump up to 11 goals, joint 5th in the league. Despite Rodrigues starting slowly on the goals front his 8th goal of the season makes him joint 8th in the league.

Sam Austin continues to show his worth when given the chance and was well deserving of his man of the match nomination, in a game that saw him increase his assists tally to 6 for the season.

Luke Williams has equipped himself well in his debut season for Notts and although there is still half a season to go a win percentage just shy of 70% in all competitions definitely deserves a mention.

Player stats updated.

So we head to Boundary Park on New Years Day for the away fixture and it will be interesting to see how the Meadow Lane encounter impacts the tactical approach taken by Luke Williams and David Unsworth respectively.

Williams should without doubt feel the more confident. Not only did his Notts side completely dominate the first game but he had the luxury of resting key players whilst allowing others to get more minutes under their belts.

Unsworth's task is certainly the more challenging of the two. Being at home Oldham will be expected to show considerably more intensentity and look to be more attacking in their play.

The change in formation from a back 5 to a back 4 on Boxing Day appeared to make a difference defensively for The Latics but, this was probably more likely to have been down to Notts managing out the game, although there were chances for them to add to their tally.

There is also the added uncertainty over the likelihood of Langstaff making a return from injury that Unsworth will have to take into consideration. He has a very difficult task ahead of him and he should really look to play to his squads strengths which really lie in a front 2 of Nuttall and Reid who will offer an outlet for Oldham both centrally and down the channels.

For Williams it really is a case of Notts continuing where they left off, looking to dominate possession and making good use of their width and quality.