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Match Reports

YOUTH: United 2-1 Oldham Athletic

19 March 2024

Match Reports

YOUTH: United 2-1 Oldham Athletic

19 March 2024

The under-18s made it three victories in a row after coming back from a goal down to win 2-1 on Saturday morning at Creighton, courtesy of a brace from Anton Dudik.

United headed into the game with the expectations of another positive performance following home wins against Rochdale and Preston North End.

With only two minutes played, Robbie Swinburn had a great chance to break the deadlock after he closed down an Oldham clearance and was left one-on-one with the Oldham 'keeper, but he was denied.

Three minutes later, Sam Worth, in place of the absent Thomas Randall, made an excellent save to tip a free-kick from the edge of the box around the post to prevent the visitors from taking an early lead.

Worth was called into action again ten minutes later, as he palmed a powerful effort over the bar.

Five minutes before the interval, the visitors did manage to find the breakthrough. An attempted switch of play from Josh O'Brien was intercepted on halfway and as Oldham drove forward, they forced the ball wide where an effort was fired goalwards and trickled into the bottom corner.

Half-time: United 0-1 Oldham Athletic

Two minutes into the second-half and the visitors should have doubled their lead. A cross from the left found the Oldham forward unmarked with an open goal at his mercy, but he sliced his effort well wide of the post.

On the hour mark, United drew level. A deep free-kick on the left was headed back across the box by James Walsh, where Anton Dudik was waiting to stear his headed effort into the back of the net.

Three minutes later and Oldham were down to ten men. Oldham's goalscorer received his marching orders following a dangerous two-footed challenge in which the referee had no hesitation in producing a red card.

With 20 minutes remaining, Romeo Park drove forward into the box drawing a lunging challenge from an Oldham defender, but the referee turned down United's penalty appeals and cautioned Park for simulation.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes, the Blues' numerical advantage was wiped away as Park made a cynical foul to deny an Oldham attack. The referee reached into his pocket to produce a second yellow card and then a red card to dismiss Park, leaving both sides down to 10 men.

Despite the sending off, United continued to dominate the game and were rewarded for their persistent efforts with four minutes remaining. An Oldham set-piece was cleared by substitute Dan Hopper, who drove down the left wing and crossed to Freddie O'Donoghue, whose volley rattled off the post into the direction of Dudik, who buried the rebound to score his and United's second goal of the game.

In the final seconds of additional time, Oldham had one final chance to equalise, but the effort from the edge of the box went wide of the post.

Full-time: United 2-1 Oldham Athletic

Speaking after the game, Lead PDP Coach Mark Birch said: "I'm pleased with the victory.

"I think it was a game of two halves. The first-half wasn't anywhere near good enough because we were lacking the energy and we were a yard off everything, but in the second-half we turned that around, the lads rolled their sleeves up, got on the front foot and caused Oldham a few problems and in the end we deserved to win the game."

After opening his account at under-18 level, Birch was full of praise for Anton Dudik.

"I'm happy that Anton got his two goals today, he's deserved it.

"It's not been easy for him when he's been put in the first team straight away. He has high expectations of himself and to get a few goals today will be a confidence booster for him and hopefully he starts kicking on."

Starting: Worth, Maddison, Fitzpatrick, O'Brien, Walsh, Skinner (Hopper 75'), O'Donoghue, Murray (Chapman 57'), Dudik, Swinburn, Park.

Unused subs: Lowes, Atkinson, Mason.

United Goals: Dudik (60', 86').

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