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Report: Rovers 2 Oldham Athletic 1

15 November 2016

Rovers progressed through to the third round of the Lancashire Senior Cup after an entertaining 2-1 victory over Oldham Athletic at the Lancashire FA County Ground in Leyland.

A first half penalty from Connor Mahoney followed by a superb second half effort from Connor Thomson sealed a comeback victory for Damien Johnson's side, after Calaum Jahraldo-Martin had given the visitors the lead.

A host of second half chances could have seen the home side increase the margin if not for Chris Kettings in the Latics goal, who made a number of saves to keep Oldham in the game.

Rovers made a positive start under the lights in Leyland as Lewis Mansell raced through inside the opening 10 minutes to find himself one-on-one with Kettings, only for his effort to be blocked by the Oldham keeper.

The early pressure continued as Ryan Nyambe, who impressed throughout, latched on to a cross-field ball from Wes Brown but his cross evaded both Lewis Mansell and Lewis Hardcastle in the Oldham box.

Rovers looked dangerous down the right, as the partnership of Nyambe and Mahoney continued to flourish. Another cross, this time from Mahoney, stung the palms of Kettings in the Latics goal.

The tide soon turned however as Oldham, with the experienced Lee Croft at the heart of their midfield, began to get a grip on the game. A long-range, 25-yard effort from Oldham's Carl Winchester forced a fingertip save from Andy Fisher  to keep the scoreline all-square.

The first goal of the game soon followed on 18 minutes. Rovers failed to clear their lines following some lapse defending, which allowed Jahraldo-Martin to find himself in space inside the area to slot the ball past Andy Fisher.

The home side responded, with good play down the the right from Mahoney who squared the ball to Mansell but his point blank effort was cleared by Kettings and the subsequent rebound just eluded him on the follow up.

Mahoney would then pose a threat to the Oldham goal himself, this time cutting in from the left, but his fierce curling shot was parried to safety.

Rovers' pressure would soon pay off in the run up to half-time. Once more Nyambe advanced into the box from the right, beating his man only to find himself brought down by Lee Croft for a penalty, which Connor Mahoney cooly slotted home for the equaliser.

A half-time substitution from the visitors saw Ryan Jennings replace the 31-year-old Lee Croft, but the switch couldn't halt more pressure from Rovers in the second half.

Thomson, full of confidence, rattled the Oldham post with a thunderous shot from just outside the area. And less than a minute later the young midfielder tried another long-range effort, but on this occasion his shot flew a foot over the Oldham bar.

But it was the partnership of Nyambe and Mahoney that stole the show. Neat link-up play between the pair and a couple of step overs from Mahoney made space for the winger who unleashed a shot that was saved by Kettings down to his left.

Following all their good play it was a calamitous error from the impressive Latics' keeper that almost gifted Rovers the lead. An innocuous back pass found the keepers' feet in a twist allowing the ball to trickle towards the goal line. The linesman's flag remained rooted to his side, no goal given.

Rovers continued to press and were rewarded thanks to a wonderful solo effort from the determined Thomson 13 minutes from time. Joe Rankin-Costello fed the ball through to his fellow midfielder mid-way into the Oldham half before he beat two men and finished past the onrushing Kettings to give Rovers a deserved lead.

Damien Johnson's side, bouyant following the goal, threatened to add to their tally as confidence surged throughout the side.

Mahoney continued to look a constant threat as a scintillating solo run deserved a goal. Cutting inside on to his left foot, his curling shot was thwarted once more by the Oldham number one.

The Blackburn born winger provided the final chance of an impressive second half performance as he fizzed another dangerous ball across the face of goal, but no one in a blue-and-white shirt could get a touch to direct it goalwards.

Dean Rittenberg and Callum Hendry replaced Mansell and Rankin-Costello respectively in the closing stages as Rovers saw the game out to seal their spot in the third round draw.

ROVERS: Fisher, Nyambe, Doyle, Travis, Platt (c), Brown, Mahoney, Rankin-Costello (sub Hendry 88 mins), Mansell (sub Rittenberg 88mins), Hardcastle, Thomson.

Subs not used: Powell, Mols, Magloire.

Goals: Mahoney (pen) 39 mins, Thomson 77 mins.

Booked: Mahoney (74 mins)

OLDHAM: Kettings, Law, Reckford, Wilson (c), King, Klok (sub Glackin 66 mins), Croft (Jennings 45 mins), Jenkins, Osei, Winchester, Jahraldo-Martin.

Subs not used: Nash, Scullion.

Goal: Jahraldo-Martin 18 mins.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 93

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