There was a nervousness around Boundary Park before Saturday’s game with Bury, probably due to the fact that Oldham had struggled against teams above them in the table. The high scoring Shakers must have fancied their chances but if they did, a magnificent first-half performance by Latics put them in their place.
For me, the performance on Saturday perfectly encapsulated why Oldham have gone from a side who found losing easily, to one who can get into the faces of the opposition and battle for all three points.
Several players deserve a special mention, especially the midfield duo of Maouche and Nepomuceno, skipper Peter Clarke and ‘keeper Daniel Iversen but to whittle it down to just two players then the very obvious first one is…
It is fair to say that O’Grady has had his fair share of clubs, including a previous spell with Latics. There was hardly a ticker tape parade when he signed from Chesterfield in July and to be perfectly honest, there have been times this season when he didn’t look up to the job.
However, his performance on Saturday was first class with the first hat trick at Boundary Park in seven years. Chris is a powerfully built player and his physical presence obviously unsettles opposition defenders.
His three goals came from a left-foot shot, a right foot shot and a header which isn’t just a hat trick, it’s a perfect hat-trick!. A Chris O’Grady who is injury free and fit will help a great deal in getting Oldham into the play-off places and he now has the Bury match ball to remind himself what he’s capable of.
As Bury attempted to get back into the game on Saturday, the Oldham defence had to stand firm. Along with veteran captain Peter Clarke, former academy player Edmundson threw himself at everything.
An ever-present in the side this season, his inclusion has helped Latics attain the 5th best defensive record in the league and a positive goal difference. I’m a bit sceptical when it comes to badge kissers but when George left the pitch on Saturday patting his badge, you know that it means a lot to him to have moved up through the ranks and to be playing in the first team.
Long may it continue.