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17:00 13th August 2016
By  Daniel Briggs


Walsall’s first away match of the 2016/17 League One season ended in an uninspiring goalless draw at Oldham. 

Substitute Andreas Makris went closest for the Saddlers with a powerful strike which Connor Ripley parried. 

Simeon Jackson also tested the home keeper in a much-improved second half, while Franck Moussa, making his full debut, fired wide. 

Lee Erwin had Oldham’s best opportunity on 70 minutes when he hit the post with a header from close range after Ryan Flynn’s shot was saved. 

Jon Whitney’s side remain unbeaten in League One and have now won one, drawn one and lost one of their three competitive matches this season. 

Walsall showed five changes from the team that were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Yeovil on Tuesday night. 

Summer signing  Moussa was handed his full debut, while James O’Connor, Isaiah Osbourne, Liam Kinsella and Flo Cuvelier also came in. 

Captain Adam Chambers missed out through injury, with Kieron Morris, George Dobson, Josh Ginnelly and Matt Preston dropping to the bench. 

Chances were at a premium in an evenly-matched opening period where neither side looked like scoring. 

Cuvelier had an early 25-strike deflected wide, while another long-range attempt from Moussa was blocked by Latics skipper Peter Clarke. 

The Saddlers were dealt an injury blow on the half-hour mark when Rico Henry was stretchered off after landing awkwardly on his shoulder. 

It took 39 minutes for Oldham to register a meaningful shot on goal - Billy McKay with a right-footed effort from outside the box which curled over. 

Half-time: Oldham 0-0 Walsall 

Jon Whitney was forced into a half-time change with  Makris replacing Erhun Oztumer, who had been struggling with a back problem. 

Undeterred, Walsall came flying out of the blocks for the second half and enjoyed a 20-minute spell of sustained pressure. 

Moussa drilled wide from the edge of the box and Simeon Jackson forced home keeper Connor Ripley into a fine near-post save after being slipped in by Osbourne. 

The Saddlers went even closer on 57 minutes, Makris with a powerful right-footed drive which Ripley could only parry, but a stretching Cuvelier was unable to turn the loose ball home. 

Oldham came back into the contest and started to create a few chances themselves. 

The lively McKay headed Jamie Reckford’s accurate right-wing cross straight at Saddlers stopper Neil Etheridge and O’Connor made a vital last-ditch challenge to block a McKay shot. 

And Steve Robinson’s hosts went almighty close to taking the lead on 69 minutes.

Ryan Flynn’s low drive was spilled by Etheridge and Lee Erwin followed up to head against the post from close range. 

The match petered out in the final 20 minutes, although Oldham looked the more likely to find a winner. 

Flynn volleyed well wide from the edge of the box and, in stoppage time, a McKay effort was deflected wide after a corner wasn’t dealt with. 

Full-time: Oldham 0-0 Walsall 

Team: Etheridge, Edwards, O’Connor, Dobson, Henry (Preston 30’), Osbourne, Kinsella, Cuvelier (Bakayoko 82’), Moussa, Oztumer (Makris 45’), Jackson. 

Subs not used: MacGillivray, Dobson, Morris, Ginnelly. 

Attendance: 3,914.


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.