March is always the make or break month for clubs. The surge for promotion needs to be well under way as does the climb to safety. The number of games remaining by April Fools Day is usually down to single figures and, apart from a few rare occurrences clubs are pretty sure where they are going to end up in the table.
Not unsurprisingly given previous league results, Latics started March with a promising first half display at home to Stevenage with a goal from Jose Baxter separating the sides before conceding an equaliser in the dying minutes. Indeed, Stevenage could have left Boundary Park with all three points after striking the crossbar deep into injury time. Letting in late goals continued a trend which had seen Latics slip down the table and it was seen as a problem that Paul Scholes needed to fix fast.
There was no late goal at Cambridge a week later but despite going ahead in the first half courtesy of an own goal, Latics failed to capitalise on their lead and another disappointing point at a club who had spent most of the season trying to get out of the relegation scrap wasn’t the result we were looking for. With a trip to leaders Lincoln facing us three days later, there was a feeling that we had squandered the chance to pick up points against sides we really should have beaten.
Latics were now without a win in five games which was obviously not the introduction to football management that Paul Scholes was expecting.
The Lincoln game started well enough for Athletic but like on many other occasions this season Latics failed to make their advantage pay and the result was inevitable. The sending off of Jose Baxter was also going to have a bearing on forthcoming games, however, that problem was quickly forgotten when Paul Scholes walked out of the club two days later.
Losing the second manager this season, this one after only 31 days just about summed up the farce that this season has become. The fans turned on owner Abdallah Lemsagam due to his alleged interference in team affairs, but any plans they might have had to demonstrate their wrath disappeared under the Boundary Park rain clouds as the next home game against Tranmere was postponed.
Also postponed was the game at Newport due to International call ups which left just one more game in the month, a home game against Grimsby with Peter Wild back in the management hot seat.
Despite the worry that recent off field events might have an influence on the game, Latics scored a goal in each half without reply and the impressive debut of Alex Iacovitti gave some hope for the remaining games. Given recent events at Boundary Park, March wasn’t much different from the rest of the season. It might not be to everyone’s taste but at least Oldham fans can claim that they are fully prepared for anything life in League Two throws at them.