Rovers, perhaps, demonstrated the extent of their ambition in the FA cup with only three players from the previous week keeping their place, but while it was a welcome relief to see names like Craig Alcock and Marko Marosi back on the teamsheet, the players’ unfamiliarity with each other was all too apparent.
Through the opening exchanges, the sides were evenly matched, with both John Marquis and Matty Blair almost able to give Doncaster an early lead, and some good battling play in midfield.
When Oldham made their first enforced substitution, with Ryan Flynn replacing the injured Carl Winchester on 9 minutes, there was a sense that this could tip the balance in the visitors’ favour, yet the turning point came shortly after, when Paul Green was replaced by Ousmane Fané.
This change breathed life into Oldham, who spent the rest of the half mounting attacks on the visitors’ goal, and in injury time Flynn made it 1-0.
Oldham always looked at their most dangerous when Rovers’ defence were in possession, but the second half introduction of Cedric Evina sparked a brief resurgence, until Mathieu Baudry gave the ball away in midfield and Billy McKay was able to double Athletic’s lead.
Thereafter, there was never any doubt about the result, though Liam Mandeville, pulled back in the box in second half injury time, converted the resulting penalty, giving us the consoling knowledge that, while out of the FA cup, we at least have someone who can score from the spot.
by Rob Waugh