Crystal Palace loanee Freddie Ladapo put in a Man Of The Match display during Oldham Athletic’s 2-0 win over Scunthorpe United, grabbing a goal and an assist for his troubles.
Having arrived from non-league Margate in March of 2016 it’s fair to say that Ladapo has endured something of a steep learning curve in the months since, but after impressing Alan Pardew when being named as part of the first-team’s touring squad for the pre-season tour of North America, he appears to have grasped the opportunity afforded to him at Oldham Athletic with both hands.
Differing quite obviously in style from the vast majority of Palace’s usual academy graduates, Freddie’s raw power and instincts should in theory at least, make him a real threat in League One, regardless of his obvious eye for goal.
His and Oldham’s opening strike of the night showcased the frontman’s natural confidence when faced with just a goalkeeper to beat. Pulling wide to the right-hand side of the Scunthorpe penalty area, the big man called for a pass to feet before controlling the ball neatly, jinking slightly to create a yard of space and firing a powerful low shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
It was a lead few had assumed Oldham would ever get given the gap between the two sides in the League One table, but amazingly the hosts were able to double their advantage just a few minutes later when left winger Lee Erwin took a pass from Freddie in his stride before curling a low effort out of the despairing reach of the somewhat shell-shocked Scunthorpe keeper Joe Anyon.
Surprisingly, the previously unstoppable visitors never did manage to mount much of a comeback under the floodlights at Boundary Park, allowing Ladapo and his teammates to cruise to memorable victory which keeps them just a point away from climbing out of the dreaded relegation zone at the hands of Millwall.
Hopefully the above highlights are a sign of things to come from Palace’s latest non-league prospect.