The Oldham v Bury game this weekend isn’t automatically thought of as a clash between bitter rivals because quite simply, it isn’t. As I explained in a recent article about our rivalry with Rochdale, the result usually means a lot more to the Rochdale and Bury supporters than it does to Latics fans.
Meetings between the two sides had been few and far between due to Oldham’s rise in fortune in the 80’s and 90’s. They had met several times in the League Cup in the 1970’s but when the clubs faced each other in League Two there had been a gap of 32 years since the clubs had faced each other in the league.
However, certain games with Bury stand out as being memorable and one of those was at Boundary Park in September 1999. Latics hadn’t started the season well, losing their first five league games and with Oldham legend Andy Ritchie in charge, supporters had expected much better.
The Oldham squad was made up of youngsters like Matthew Tipton, Craig Dudley and Paul Rickers as well as experienced players in John Sheridan, Gary Kelly and Shaun Garnett whilst Bury had former Oldham players, Adrian Littlejohn and Steve Redmond.
Bury had started the season fairly well and were in 11th place going into the game. Despite being well above Latics in the table, the home fans saw the game as the one which would kick start Oldham’s season.
At half time the sides were level which was frustrating for the home supporters. Just after the hour mark however, Mark Allott scored his first goal of the season to put Oldham ahead. Bury brought on midfielder veteran Andy Preece to try and get back into the game but on 81 minutes, Latics increased their lead with a goal from Lee Duxbury.
It was to prove to be the result that Oldham needed to get themselves into gear and although they hardly set the division alight that season, by Christmas they had moved out of the relegation places to 15th.