When Defeat Becomes Almost Inevitable
Northampton’s Sixfields Stadium was probably not on the bucket list of grounds to visit with Oldham supporters this season, as it is where the club lost their League One status on the last day of last season.
With coach Andy Rhodes being sacked on the eve of the game, morale at the club must have been pretty low given that it is almost at rock bottom among the supporters. The continued absence through injury of top scorer Sam Surridge, the negative tactical approach to games by manager Frankie Bunn and the almost weekly reports of unpaid players and financial difficulties means that supporting Oldham Athletic this season requires a strong will.
However, 351 brave Latics fans made the trip to Northamptonshire possibly in the hope that the situation couldn’t get any worse – Sadly they were wrong.
When the other side gets a player sent off in the first half, it is pretty fair to expect that they will spend the rest of the game with their backs to the wall. However, Northampton were already two goals up as the players left the pitch at halftime and any previous ability to come back from being 2-0 down as they did against Colchester in September now seems to be as rare as the players being paid on time.
A scrambled goal which wouldn’t have looked out of place in a schoolyard bought Oldham a lifeline on 72 minutes, but the combination of dogged determination to defend by Northampton and apathy by the Latics ensured that Northampton got the points on the day.
People are now suggesting that Bunn should exit through the same door as Rhodes, but who would savour the task of managing the club knowing that they will have to deal with an off-field situation that is beyond their control?
Certainly not anybody with long-term job aspirations.