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Oldham Avoid FA Cup Embarrassment By The Skin of Their Teeth

The Football Association may well see the FA Cup Final as the zenith of their football calendar but for many thousands of fans, the early rounds of the competition are the most exciting ones.

If gives the chance for Non-League clubs to put themselves on the map, and perhaps write a fresh chapter in history as cup giant killers.

Even though it was nearly 50 years ago, Hereford’s victory over Newcastle and the competitions best ever goal scored by Ronnie Radford must still be referred to in pre match team talks.

87 minutes of the game had elapsed, with Hampton’s Chris Dickson no doubt relishing the post match limelight after he had put them ahead from the penalty spot on 15 minutes. They had survived an onslaught from Latics which saw them hit the post several times and had efforts on goal cleared off the line.

The game seemed to be heading for a famous minnows victory until Rob Hunt steered a shot into the net from an excellent run and cross from Gardner.

There is nothing so stamina sapping and a blow to morale as a late equalising goal, and the writing was on the wall for Hampton & Richmond.  A lengthy stoppage in play earlier after Baxter had been injured accounted for the eight minutes of extra time and in true party pooper style, Callum Lang hit the winner for Latics on 95 minutes.

Latics now move on to chapter two in the giant killing story with a visit to Maidstone United of the National League.

Does Surridge Hold the Key to Beating Colchester

Sam Surridge caused more than just a ripple of interest among Latics fans before he’d even kicked a ball for us. That interest dissipated somewhat when it was realised that there was a ‘t’ missing from his name, and we were not about to get Liverpool’s, Daniel Sturridge!

Still, Sam is younger at 20 years old and has a good deal of experience at this level! His balance and eye for goal are probably what caught the eye of Bournemouth who signed him at the early age of 14.

He spent last season on loan to Yeovil Town where he scored 10 goals in 53 appearances.

In only 6 appearances so far for the Latics, however, he has bagged 5 goals, including two in the 3-0 win at Grimsby last Saturday.

Surridge is a cut above the usual standard of League Two strikers and, it will be key to Oldham’s promotion ambitions that he maintains his current form and keeps his place in the team.

Colchester have had an equally good start to the season as the Latics but, Sam Surridge could be the difference between the two sides on Saturday in what should be a close match.

Oldham Athletic fans do you agree?

League Two Opponents are Struggling with Oldham’s 12th Man

Walking into Grimsby Town’s Blundell Park away end last Saturday, I was met with a thumping beat, a half-naked man and the unmistakable smell of a large crowd who had arrived early and supported the town’s licensees.

I could easily have been at a Glastonbury drum workshop but thankfully I wasn’t. I was about to witness my first away game of the season with the massed ranks of the travelling Oldham fans.

Latics have never attracted large crowds since their days in the Premier League, however, there is still a hardcore of support despite the absence of success.

What is astonishing however is the support Oldham take on their travels. At Morecambe on August 25th, Latics fans numbered 1638 in a crowd of 3050.

There wasn’t that many last weekend but the 800 who have arrived are shaking the rafters of this antiquated ground. Almost immediately, I noticed a fan at the front of the stand, back turned to the pitch trying to keep the chanting going. He’s not hard to spot as he’s the one who has decided to ditch his shirt.

Despite an insipid first half, the crowd keep up the tempo with their own version of  Depeche Mode’s ‘I just can’t get enough‘. At halftime, I sought out the unclad teenager for a quick chat.

It’s soon obvious that George Parkin (19) has had a few beers, but he’s attracting the attention of the stewards for not staying in his seat. One of them incredibly, tells him to put his shirt back on or risk being thrown out! George tells me that at Boundary Park, he gets no hassle from the stewards. “They know I’m no trouble, they always say hello and join in”

The support from the terraces obviously has an effect in the second half as Latics rattle in two goals in quick succession. The beat changes and we’re now hearing Joy Division’s ‘Love will tear us apart‘ changed to “We’re taking over your town again”

George and his young cohorts might be a bit ‘in your face’ for some people but you can’t knock their enthusiasm and the effect on the team is plain to see. Oldham’s 12th man is cheering the team in the right direction.

Are Oldham Genuine Promotion Contenders?

After a resounding away thumping of Grimsby, you might be forgiven for letting your imagination run away with you. Could the Latics really be a force to be reckoned with this year? Why not!

The more cynical fan would argue that we are yet to play any team of quality so far and, that all our wins have come against the apparent cannon fodder of the division. But at the end of the day, you can only play what’s in front of you and although we have a few losses, no one team has impressed so far.

Home losses have been dealt by Newport and MK Dons, both of which the Latics controlled but without pressing home advantages. The tactics employed by MK Dons were shocking but in some ways a sign of respect for a Latics side that was pushing hard.

Come the end of October, Latics will have played eight more league matches with the league table giving a much more accurate view, of which teams are going to be in the mix come the end of the season.

Whilst Latics boast the strongest away run without defeat in all five leagues, it is our home form which undoubtedly needs to improve – if Latics are to return to League 1 at the first time of asking.

The FMC Goals & Highlights Round-Up #3

.Here’s the FMC’s round up of the weekend’s football, enjoy…

Manchester City’s deadly trio – SASAS (We don’t think it will catch on) Sane and Silva and Sterling, gave City the three points in a 3-0 win over newly promoted Fulham

Highlights here – http://www.replayfoot.com/manchester-city-goals-highlights/ 

Manchester United made it back to back wins with a dogged win over an unbeaten Watford side. Lukaku and Smalling gave the Red Devils the lead before, Watford pulled a goal back in the 2nd half. Matic received red late for a 2nd booking.

Highlights here – http://sport.bt.com/video/highlights-watford-1-2-manchester-united-91364295704391

Bolton Wanderer’s up and down week, following the close call with administration, took another hit by making it three games without a win against QPR.

Wigan Athletic lost to high flying Brentford, which goes in line with thier indifferent start to the season -having won two in the last five in the Championship.

Rochdale’s Ian Henderson doubled his goal tally with a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Gillingham. Dale are now three games unbeaten in League One.

Bury made it three wins on the bounce and pull themselves into the early playoff places. A 2-1 win over Swindon keeps the run going.

Oldham Athletic got back to winning ways away at Grimsby. The Latics banged in three goals and kept a clean sheet – good day all round for the travelling support.

Salford City continued their great start to the season with a 2-0 win over Bromley, whilst claiming a fifth straight win. Taking them into third in the league and looking like early promotion favourites.

Stockport County having won only once in the last five games were, hoping to get something out of the game against high flying Telford. A well-earnt draw keeps County mid-table.

Altrincham played Bradford PA, and took full advantage of the Bradford’s back to back defeats to claim the win – coming from 2-1 down to win 3-2.

No Highlights Found.

Ashton United’s Matt Chadwick’s double helped the Robins to a 2-0 over Hereford.

Catch the Highlights here – http://www.thenationalleague.org.uk/match-info/match-centre/1-3614385

Curzon Ashton scored ten minutes from time to draw 1-1 with playoff hopefuls, Brackley, to build on the win over Altrincham last week.

Catch the Highlights here – http://www.thenationalleague.org.uk/match-info/match-centre/1-3614383

FC United of Manchester move off the bottom of the table despite losing 3-0 to Guiseley. After three draws on the trot, a win was much needed.

Catch the Highlights here – http://www.thenationalleague.org.uk/match-info/match-centre/1-3614384




Two players who should start Saturday’s game for Oldham.

No team can hope to rely on just two players to get them the results they need but the performances of key players generally have an effect on their teammates.

Oldham’s squad is pretty threadbare by normal standards, so it is vital that certain players are in the squad and put in positive performances.

Twenty-five year old, French-born midfielder Christopher Missilou has caught the eye since he arrived at Boundary Park.

The DR Congo International has signed a one year contract and has turned in some impressive performances. His place in the starting line-up seems pretty secure and if Latics are serious about challenging for promotion, Missilou needs to be one of the players who figures regularly.

Loan deals keep sides like Oldham in business and although they are generally unpopular with the fans, even the most sceptical of Latics fans would agree that having a player like Callum Lang on loan from Wigan till January is better than nothing.

Twenty-year-old Lang has plenty of experience at League Two level. He scored 10 goals in 30 appearances for Morecambe last season which helped keep them in the division and although he has yet to find the net for Oldham, his youthful enthusiasm should mean that it is only a matter of time before he gets on the score sheet.

Oldham slipped out of the promotion places after their home defeat to Newport. The travelling fans will hope that the best side is put out on Saturday to overcome struggling Grimsby.

The lost art of the football commentator

One of the first things that struck me when I looked at this season’s fixtures was the distance of some of the away games. Exeter, Carlisle, Colchester and Newport, for example, are going to stretch the budgets of Latics fans a little.

For those who can’t manage to scrape together the King’s ransom to get the train to these far-flung places or brave the motorway network, there’s always the commentary of the game provided by the club.

It’s not the same as being at the game of course and despite modern technology, there are ‘outages’ which cause panic and frustration in equal measures but at least you can keep up with the action.

This is a massive improvement to what I was expected to put up with as a child. If we were on holiday, I had to rely on BBC’s Grandstand and the famous vidiprinter.

Nowadays, the Oldham match commentary is provided by Latics stalwart Roy Butterworth among others, whose attempts at staying neutral are sorely tested on a regular basis.

This, of course, is exactly what supporters want. Whoever thought that introducing American-style stats into football commentary was a good idea needs to listen to Roy. I’d rather hear him shout “GET IN!” when we score than a detailed breakdown of what percentage of passes were accurate in the first half.

For many years, the only way you could hear a commentary on a Latics home game was courtesy of the NHS. Legendary hospital commentator James Barrett didn’t know the meaning of neutrality and would describe any opposition high tackles in a manner which suggested that the visitors had arrived with murder as their intent rather than three points.

It wouldn’t be fair to finish this article without mentioning Piccadilly Radio’s Stuart Pyke whose commentary on Latics final game of the 1990/91 season against Sheffield Wednesday is the stuff of legend. Even 27 years later, I still get goosebumps hearing it. I even knew somebody who had this played at his funeral.

Give it a listen.

Frankie Bunn is To Thank For Oldham’s Great Start, By Installing This Into the Team…

With Latics’ League 2 campaign well underway and points on the board, an unfamiliar sense of optimism seems to lurk in the air around Boundary Park.

Could this be due to a misplaced sense of belonging to League 1?

Might it be owing to the free-flowing passing style of our new look side?

Or is it just the new pies that are going down well?

It is my belief that something much deeper and underlying, holds the key to not only this optimism but possibly the keys to success also.

Over recent years the volume of loan signings has been high, and since the takeover, I think it’s fair to say playing staff have flowed both in and out. This, in my opinion, has led to a lack of passion and pride being shown on the pitch. No sense of belonging, no sense of pulling on the famous Blue and white actually meaning anything to them.

This was particularly relevant at the beginning of last season, where lacklustre performances and players trudging off the pitch with little regard for the fans, all showed the Boundry Park faithful that they were not up for the fight, and had no pride in playing for the club.

Although it picked up over the course of the season, it was this dismal attitude at the beginning which ultimately cost us our League Two status.

However this season, with fewer loan signings, the same dismal, none committal attitude does not seem to be present.

In fact, Daniel Iverson has been superb between the posts and Sam Surridge’s work rate, attitude and passion cannot be faulted. Combine this to a spine made up of Peter Clarke, Christopher Missilou and Jose Baxter, the results will surely follow, and they have.

When Frankie Bunn was appointed, in all honesty, we Oldham fans were a tad disappointed as it felt like yet another cheap appointment with no ambition. But it’s fair to say he has begun to win us over, but not with stunning football or overzealous claims of promotion, but with the much-needed passion and pride.

Frankie has clearly taken this same matter to heart, and instilled it within the squad, urging them to play for one and other to try to achieve something together. You can see the squad knitting closer with each game and, although they are far from the finished article, things are definitely looking up for Latics.

The FMC League Round-Up #2

Here’s the FMC’s first round up of the weekend’s football, enjoy…

Rochdale travelled to Scunthorpe and produced a fantastic second-half comeback to earn a point, whilst denying Scunthorpe’s new man in charge Stuart McCall a win in his first match in charge…

The Shakers earnt back-to-back wins for the first time this season, with a 4-0 thumping of Grimsby Town. A stunner from Mayor, who bagged a brace made the afternoon even better.

It wasn’t a good day for the Latics, as they suffered a defeat at the hands of second in the league Newport County…

Salford City continued their great start to life in the National League, winning their fourth game on the trot at home 1-0 – sending them into the early play-off places.

Stockport was hoping to build on last weeks win against Boston this weekend. However, County suffered a home defeat to keep in line with their indifferent season so far.

Catch the highlights here – http://www.thenationalleague.org.uk/match-info/match-centre/1-3614377

Altrincham faced off against Greater Manchester rivals Curzon Ashton, with the Nash coming out on top to climb to mid-table.

Catch the highlights here – http://www.thenationalleague.org.uk/match-info/match-centre/1-3614368 

Ashton United entertained high flying Chorley. In what was always going to be a tough match, Chorley showed why they were top of the league with a 5-goal thumping.

Catch the highlights here – http://www.thenationalleague.org.uk/match-info/match-centre/1-3614369



September’s key games for Oldham’s promotion challenge

Oldham Athletic’s encouraging start to the season will face a stern test in September, when they face two teams that have also forced their way into the top six.

Oldham fans are slowly getting used to life in the basement league with trips to grounds we’ve never appeared at, and teams we haven’t faced in the league for decades.  The Latics face Newport County this Saturday, a staggering 48 years since they last played them in a league fixture at Boundary Park.

Both teams have faded, but fond memories of past glories. For Oldham, it is their part in the formation of the Premier League and a trip to Wembley in the 1990 Littlewoods Cup Final.

For Newport County, it is the memory of a quarterfinal appearance in the European Cup Winners Cup against East German giants Carl Zeiss Jena in March 1981.

For the present, however, both teams have ambitions to get themselves out of League Two and Newport will have to do it without their strike duo of Mark Harris and Antoine Semenyo.

For Oldham, success at Boundary Park is key to both staying in the top six and placating their long-suffering supporters.

Later this month, Latics face Colchester at Boundary Park who have made an impressive start, scoring 13 goals in six games which included a 6-0 victory over Crewe.

If Oldham seriously intends to get themselves promoted at the end of the season, it is vital that they pick up points from the teams around them and whilst fond memories of past glories should not be forgotten.

It is maximum points from home games, that should occupy the thoughts of everyone at Boundary Park.

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