No team likes to lose a seven-match unbeaten streak especially to a local rival, but Frankie Bunn and his players can at least console themselves with the fact that they are out of a competition that nobody has any real interest in unless they reach the Wembley final.
The manner in which Latics exited the competition is certainly a hot topic of discussion. Down to 10 men on 51 minutes after the dismissal of Mohammed Maouche, Oldham struggled to keep Rochdale at bay but they managed to keep them out until a ridiculous penalty decision seconds from full time. The dismissal was no more than a yellow card and the penalty defies any sort of explanation other than the ref had suffered some sort of temporary blindness.
To lose a player through suspension is annoying when the red card is picked up in a competition that has been largely ignored by supporters. Credit must be given however to those who made the trip to Spotland although I believe many left before the final whistle in disgust at the manner in which the game was settled.
It would be foolish of Bunn or the players to dwell on the defeat as the momentum shown in the run up to the game has been promising. Instead, I would see it as a blessing in disguise. There are far more important games on the horizon for Oldham with several key games in League Two coming up and a 3rd round tie with Premier League Fulham to look forward to.
This isn’t meant to be a sour grapes piece, I’m sure Rochdale fans would have shrugged off the result as well if it hadn’t gone in their favour. For the record I wish them well against Manchester City U-21’s as I do for all the other teams left in the competition facing academy sides from Newcastle, Chelsea and Tottenham. I hope Rochdale make it to Wembley but my interest in the competition is at an end for this season as I suspect it is with relief by Frankie Bunn.