Tag Archives: featured

Curzon Will Be Hoping to Edge Towards Playoff Contention by Beating Altrincham

Curzon’s brilliant unbeaten run finally came to an end last weekend. After a remarkable comeback against Alfreton the week before maybe it was time for another team to grab a bit of luck, and 4th place Brackley had both luck and a touch of confidence about their game that saw them beat the Nash in a fairly uneventful game with the final scoreline a 2-0 victory.

You can’t win every game so there is no point dwelling too heavily on one away defeat, after what has been an incredible 2019 so far for the Nash. Curzon are back at the Tameside Stadium on Saturday and taking on Altrincham who are currently hanging on precariously to a playoff spot but are only a mere 5 points ahead of the Nash, with the same amount of games played.

Altrincham’s league position is largely due to a remarkable start to the season, where they put four against the likes of Bradford Park Avenue and Nuneaton. However, since the festive period their league run has started to come apart a bit, they’ve played 11 games since the 22nd of December and have won only three and lost five.

Including against the likes of Leamington, a team they should easily outclass managed to put three past them, and in some increasingly frustrated play, Altrincham saw a player sent off with about ten minutes to go.

This recent decline in form should give Curzon, who are on a massive upward trajectory of improving confidence. They showed against Chester that they are capable of taking it to the opposition, and showed a remarkable amount of fighting spirit against Alfreton.

Back at home, where the fans are really starting to enjoy the momentum that’s been picked up this season, Curzon have a real chance of getting the wheels back in motion in their unlikely bid for the playoffs.

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Rally Cry: Hill Needs the Fans Support in Crucial Time

There was yet more heartbreak in Rochdale fans season on Tuesday night, in their rearranged league game against Wimbledon.

Rochdale started well with Rekeil Pyke putting them in front two minutes in, Joe Pigott fired Wimbledon back in it in the 36th minute.

Rochdale determinedly took little time re-establishing their dominance, with Ethan Hamilton turning away from his man and firing smartly into the bottom corner. This wasn’t to last though as Pigott bagged his second of the match almost instantly in the first minute of the second half. Then Wimbledon took the lead for the first time in the match when in the 76th minute, Anthony Wordsworth gave them the lead.

Rochdale’s Captain, Ian Henderson followed up Matty Done’s driven effort in the 81st minute. The game was becoming a classic for a neutral, but the point escaped Rochdales grasp as the visitors dispatched a contentious penalty in the last minute of added time to win 4-3.

This result has seen Dale drop to 5th bottom of the table and worryingly, with only 13 league games left Rochdale have to improve on only 4 home wins so far this season to have any hope of league one survival.

And with; Wycombe, Southend, Accrington, Scunthorpe, Plymouth, Gillingham, Bristol Rovers, Shrewsbury and Oxford still to play and with them all in the bottom half of the table, their destiny is still in their hands.

Now more than ever, the fans support is crucial. There is a growing contingency of the fan base that believes Kieth Hill should already have been sacked and replaced. They are entitled to their opinion, but for the good of the team, no matter what, Rochdale needs the fans to support in an effort to turn this dire run of form around.

Ryan Lowe’s Two Huge Games in a Crunch Four Days for Bury

Ryan Lowe has taken to management this season like a duck to water but, will need to see steer his side over two giant hurdles. When his Bury side takes on local rivals, Oldham Athletic and then Portsmouth in The Checkatrade semi-final only a few days later.

Although Bury will be underdogs in next Tuesday’s crunch semi-final.  Opponents Portsmouth will come up against an attacking outfit that has outclassed virtually all of their League Two rivals, since the start of the season.

Having scored 85 goals in all competitions this season, the place for football entertainment has been no other than Gigg Lane. Lowe having played as a striker himself has made it no secret in wanting to promote an all-out attack style of play, and his tactics have been merited with Bury’s current league position.

A home win on Saturday could see the Shakers leapfrog Lincoln to the summit of League Two, something which looked unlikely after January’s end to end 3-3 draw. Having had his style of football backed by non-other than Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, this way of playing had every chance of proving to be successful.

And The German has been proved correct so far with the way that Bury have played this season, now in second place in League Two and four points clear of MK Dons who occupy the leading playoff spot (4th place).

Having also picked the brains of Brendan Rodgers and Rafa Benitez, lifelong reds fan Lowe has already had a vocal taste of what a successful life of a manager is like. Benitez having won the 2005 Champions League with Liverpool and, Rodgers dominating Scottish football to the point he’s won the ‘double treble’ in Scotland since moving North of the border in 2016.

Now Lowe has the chance to secure his own success as a manager. A win against either, or both Oldham and Portsmouth – would take his side closer to putting a trophy back in the Bury trophy cabinet, league or domestic cup.

Win, Lose, Draw: Scholes’ First Three Games Analysed

Detailed analysis of a new manager is something that has existed for a considerable period of time and is unlikely to ever change. I cannot ever remember hearing anybody say “Let’s give him 10 games to find his feet and then review his performance before we pass judgement”. Unheard of.

Given that Paul Scholes was always going to attract more attention in the Oldham hot seat than lesser mortals, he will be well aware that every team selection he has made and tactic employed will have been poured over by Latics keyboard analysts around the globe.

Rather than stun everyone into disbelief with a trio of victories, Scholes has lived up to his rather safe and uncontroversial demeanour with a win, a draw and a defeat.

The win against Yeovil and Scholes’ first game was rightly hailed as one of the season’s best home performances. It was arguably Oldham’s best side that started the game and despite losing Tom Hamer to injury early on, the introduction of Rob Hunt who seemed to have lost favour with Frankie Bunn was seen as a sign that Scholes had as much faith in the full back as many Latics fans have.

Three home games in seven days, however, were always going to put a strain on a threadbare squad and a pitch that cuts up easily. Fellow play-off hopefuls Crewe were the next visitors, and Scholes had to do without Hamer for the game. Callum Lang put Latics in front but a late equaliser from Crewe earned them a point. It was a game Latics should have won but a draw and a win in Scholes first two games was seen to be good progress.

It certainly helped Latics keep in touch with the playoffs and, a win over lowly Morecambe would see us within 3 points of seventh place. Once again, however, changes had to be made to the starting line up but they were obviously too disruptive to the smooth running of the side. Mohammed Maouche was on the bench having had a lengthy run in the side, and young Jamie Stott introduced for only his third appearance of the season.

An early strike for the visitors put us on the back foot for most of the game and, another late goal was conceded to give Scholes his first taste of defeat at Boundary Park. Losing in such a manner brought back memories for Latics fans of past games, where we have gone behind early and had to chase the game and lost out in the dying seconds because of a lack of concentration. The Morecambe game had both these problems.

Of course, all will be forgotten if Scholes can rally the side to win against Bury and edge us nearer the top seven. However, he may well have his eye on next season and a squad he has built himself, rather than trying to work miracles with a ragtag assortment of players who know that their future at the club is short lived.

Bury v Oldham. The Latics extra home game.

Latics fans like a decent away outing, it’s in their blood. Some might say that they jump at the chance to get out of the town for a few hours, and that may be true but when the away trip is just down the road, it’s almost embarrassing to admit that you didn’t turn out.

As expected, the club have been given an extra allocation of tickets by Bury which makes sound financial sense given the Shakers apparently perilous financial position. Having 3354 Oldham fans in Gigg Lane might not do much for Bury’s hopes of having the home crowd lift their side, but at least they can pay a few bills when they count the takings after the game.

The fixture at Oldham didn’t capture the imagination of the Bury fans, for some reason with only 1262 making the trip back in December when a Chris O’Grady hat trick helped Latics to a 4-2 win. There’s a great deal of pride at Latics, especially this season in the numbers who turn out for away games. The 4000+ at Fulham earned respect from all quarters but it is local derbies that rally the troops. Rochdale, Blackburn and Bury have all been serenaded with “We’re taking over your town again” in the past, a popular ditty to the tune of “Love will tear us apart”.

Sadly there seems to be a concerted effort to keep Latics fans out of the pubs in Bury, which will only mean they’ll drink elsewhere and arrive en masse at about 2.55pm stretching the resources of the police and stewards no doubt. Having watched football for longer than I care to remember, I’m still of the opinion that if you treat people like animals they’ll behave that way and very few clubs and local police forces are keen to change that stance.

The game promises to be a classic, however, with Bury flying high in the top three and Paul Scholes getting his first taste of a local derby as the new Latics manager. Form goes out of the window for a fixture like this and although it might not compete for attention with City v United or Everton v Liverpool, it means a great deal to both sets of supporters.

Oldham may well be looking forward to playing on a different pitch, than the one at Boundary Park which cut up somewhat after 3 consecutive home games in seven days. Whatever the outcome, local derbies remain an important part of the enjoyment of watching football and, even if Bury do escape League Two this season, Latics fans and players alike will be keen to rekindle the fixture in the very near future.

Salford Defeat Leaves Alexander With Much to Ponder

At Salford City’s Peninsula stadium Inspirational quotes are never far from view. So much so on the steps leading into and out the stadium’s entrance, a final message for fans to take solace off on their Moor Lane exit is scripted on the concrete front.

It reads ‘There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs’.

For this particular quote seems highly appropriate at present. Saturday’s 3-1 loss at home to relegation-threatened Dover was a rather bitter pill to swallow for the home support.

Because by the time Dover’s Jai Reason had put the final nail in a very sorry Salford coffin, a large majority of Ammies fan had seen enough and ploughed towards the exits. All this after Dennis Politic had started what looked to be a rather promising afternoon with a goal which mirrored David Beckham’s against Wimbledon in 1996. So appropriate  The ex-Manchester United man was in the stands in his first match since becoming co-Chairman and the memories of that sunny day would surely have come flooding back.

Yet Becks would have watched what happened after and wondered where the next three points may come from. For while he and the rest of the ‘Class of 92’ squad will be a key part to Salford for their future success, Graham Alexander looked a man in need of a quick turn around in form to prove he’s the right man to continue Salford’s speedy climb up the English Football ladder.

After Alexander’s predecessors Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley guided Salford to three promotions in four seasons, it has left Alexander with big shoes to fill. After swapping League One football for non-league last summer, the Salford manager was left perplexed on the touchline as his second-half substitute tweaks failed to make the required impact as his side stumbled to their third straight defeat.

Now without a win since the mid-January, this hasn’t been a Happy New Year at The Peninsula Stadium. Yet only a year into the job, Alexander only looks to be starting what appears to be an ongoing ‘project’ at Salford, something Beckham is obviously dying to get his teeth stuck into.

Not that he would have been impressed with his new side against Dover, who climbed out of the relegation places in a well fought out display. Salford who were lucky the visitors didn’t increase their advantage after wasting two golden chances at the death, but due to other results going their way, they remain in 5th place and most importantly still in the driving seat for a playoff position.

Although things of recent weeks look grim reading, things could be a lot worse. Take Barnet and Chesterfield for example who were only relegated last season, but show more signs of going down a league rung than up one. Yet in comparison with the teams in and around them, their New Year slump couldn’t have occurred at a worst time. At seven points behind leaders Solihull Moors, their chances of becoming champions decrease every game.

Right now Salford are digging deeper into a worrying hole, but the need for realism right now is greater than ever. The doubting fans taking a look at the message on the ousted stairway should do the trick just fine.

Iverson, Surridge and Lang. Oldham Enjoying Their Best Ever Season For Loan Signings

Loan players are usually met with a mixture of apathy and frustration by supporters hoping for that ‘big’ signing but when you’re in the football league’s basement, even bargain buys are hard to come by.

The loan system has helped Oldham a great deal in the past and although the skills of some of the players we’ve had have been questionable to say the least, there are others who have worked their way into the hearts of the fans and were sorely missed when they departed.

It cannot be just a coincidence that Oldham’s position in the league has coincided with the inclusion of three of the best loan players the club has ever had, but it was their performances in the FA Cup at Premier League Fulham that we have to thank them for.

Daniel Iverson

It is not unusual to get a goalkeeper on loan from a club much higher in the league pyramid as they usually have several all hoping to make it into the first team. Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel seems to be enjoying an extended run in goal this season which left Daniel with little hope of inclusion. That was great news for Latics fans however who have really taken to Iverson.

His solid performances have led to the club having a positive goal difference for the first time in many years, and he will be remembered fondly for a long time to come.

Star moment: The penalty save at Craven Cottage.

Sam Surridge

There were a few Latics fans who had mixed feelings about Surridge at first but once he got the feel of football at this level he showed that he had skill in abundance. Gifted with excellent balance and an eye for even the slightest of goal opportunities, Sam made some useful contributions before returning to Bournemouth. His success at Boundary Park was rewarded by his inclusion on the bench for the South coast club’s trip to Anfield.

Star moment: His penalty at Craven Cottage

Callum Lang

Oldham have got much from Wigan over the years, much to the annoyance of our fans who maintain that we are the only club entitled to call ourselves the Latics! However, this season we’ve managed to secure the services of one of the best forward players to be seen at Boundary Park since Andy Ritchie strutted his stuff.

20-year-old Lang was on loan at Morecambe last season so knows what to expect from League Two. He has contributed nine goals this season with none more important than the winner against Fulham. An extremely likeable character who is always the last to leave the field after applauding the fans. He should have an excellent future in football. If it’s with Oldham for longer than the end of this season, Latics fans would be delighted.

Star moment: The winner at Fulham

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