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Match Previews

🔎 Opposition: Oldham Athletic (H)

The lowdown on the Latics ahead of Saturday's match

11 February 2021

On the back of the long trip to Barrow on the weekend, Matt Taylor’s men make the hopeful trip up to Greater Manchester to face Oldham Athletic.

Here’s a background of our hosts…

  • Founded: 1895
  • Nickname: The Latics
  • Honours: Division 2 (1990/91), Division 3 (1973/74), Division 3 North (1952/53).
  • Home Kit: HUMMEL Blue shirts with red and white trim, white shorts and blue socks
  • Away Kit: HUMMEL Red and white striped shirt, Black shorts and black and red socks.
  • Form: LDWLW (13th in League Two)

It’s said that in 1895 John Garland, the landlord of the Featherstall and Junction Hotel, decided to form a football club. As Pine Villa FC, the club played in the Oldham Junior league. In 1899 the professional team in the area, Oldham County, went into liquidation and one of the administrators persuaded Pine Villa to takeover residence at Sheepfoot Lane, become professional, and change their name to Oldham Athletic.

North East of Greater Manchester, Oldham was one of the centres for the cotton and textile industry in the Victorian era. At its peak, the town produced more cotton than Germany and France combined. Almost 30% of Oldham’s population was employed in the industry which took a massive hit between 1861-65 amidst the aptly named, Lancashire Cotton Famine.

In 1907 Oldham Athletic were promoted to Division 2 and joined Division 1 just three years later. The Latics floated between Division’s 2 and 3 for the next 35 years before being relegated to Division 4. Oldham won their first league title, the Division 3 North in 1953.

Jimmy Frizzle took over first team duties in the 1969/70 season with the Latics hovering nervously over Division 4 again. By 1974 Oldham were flying and won the Division 3 Title to return to the second tier for the first time in 21 years. The Club locked themselves in Div 2 for the rest of Frizzles reign before the appointment of Joe Royle in 1982.

In 1987, Oldham missed out on promotion back into the first tier after losing to Leeds United in the first ever play-off final. In 1990, the club reached the League Cup final where they lost to Nottingham Forest. The season later, Oldham triumphed in the league and got promoted back into the top division, as champions, for the first time in nearly 70 years. Oldham can pride themselves knowing they were one of the founding members of the new Premier League.

This season Oldham have been sneaking their way up the table, and, after two wins in their last three and are only eight points off the play-offs.

The Manager

Harry Kewell

The ex-Australian international was appointed Oldham manager after the confusion surrounding Paul Scholes.

A well-known name in the north west, Kewell spent most of his career in the Premiership at Leeds United at latterly Liverpool, being part of the 2005 Champions League winning squad. In the process he became the first and only Australian born player to have won Europe’s elite trophy, though he had limped off in the first half. Injury hit Kewell again in the 2006 FA Cup Final.

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Kewell featured at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, as the Australian team reached the Round of 16 for the first time. Again, a knock kept Kewell out of the game against would-be finalists Italy.

Much of the 42-year-olds coaching career has been in England, starting as Watford U21’s Manager in 2015. Just two years later Kewell was appointed first team boss at Crawley Town becoming the first Aussie to coach a professional English side. After an unsuccessful spell at Notts County, Harry Kewell returned to the Football League in August 2020, when he was appointed Oldham boss.

The Stadium

  • Name: Boundary Park
  • Capacity: 13,513
  • Year opened: 1896
  • Address: Furtherwood Road, Oldham, Lancashire, OL1 2PB

The third highest football stadium in the football league (After the Hawthorns and Vale Park), Boundary Park sits at over 500ft above sea level, but the record it does hold is that being the coldest football ground in the country, earning the nickname “Ice Station Zebra”.

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In 1986, Joe Royle installed an artificial pitch at Boundary Park, to help generate more income and in 1989/90 the Latics had what is regarded as the clubs best ever season, reaching the final of the League Cup and Semi’s of the FA Cup, beating Arsenal, Everton and Villa along the way. When more regulations came in at the start of the 21st century, Oldham were forced to revert back to grass.

The Latics have had several attempts at moving away from Boundary Park including as recently as 2008, however fans rejected the notion as the new stadium had a Manchester postcode rather than one an Oldham one. In 2019, the new owner also realised he does not own the stadium so has also threatened to leave the historic ground.

One To Watch

Conor McAleny

The 28-year-old is having the season of his life at the moment. 14 goals in 28 games have blitzed his way to the top of Oldham’s scoring charts, with a strike in every competition this campaign.

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A product of the Everton Academy, McAleny brings pace and precision to the Oldham front line. As a youth he was quite the athlete, competing in the Merseyside games in the 80-metre sprint, shot put and triple jump.

A supposed journeyman, The Oldham number 18 has played for eleven clubs in his career with the majority being loan spells. He found his feet at Fleetwood, with nine goals in 55 appearances for the Cod Army before moving to Oldham in the summer- scoring on his debut in a 3-0 win over Carlisle.

Head to Head

Since the very first meeting in a 3-0 FA Cup win for City in 1937, there have only been 31 fixtures since. Exeter have had the better of the Latics though and the two clubs have shared 97 goals between them. City have found the net 53 times compared to Oldham’s 44. Danny Rowe’s outrageous free kick was the difference between the two sides in November, but his departure in January could prove some respite for City.

  • Exeter wins: 14
  • Draws: 8
  • Oldham wins: 10

Recent encounters

Exeter City 1-2 Oldham Athletic | November 21, 2020

Randell Williams’ opener was cancelled out by George Blackwood’s curling effort and Danny Rowe’s 40-yard piledriver to end City’s 13 game unbeaten run.

Exeter City 5-1 Oldham Athletic | February 11th, 2020

A demolition job at the Park as goals from Jayden Richardson, Matt Jay, Archie Collins, Ryan Bowman and Brennen Dickenson thumped the Latics.

Oldham Athletic 0-0 Exeter City | August 20th, 2019

Jake Taylor’s injury time header was ruled out for offside when the game finished honours even at Boundary Park.

Exeter City 1-0 Oldham Athletic | April 27th, 2019

Ryan Bowman headed in the winner to take the spoils.

And Finally

Kenny Chaytor became the youngest-ever scorer of a Football League Hat-trick when he netted a treble for Oldham against Mansfield in 1955 at the age of 17 years and 72 days. His record stood for 16 years before being broken by Birmingham City prodigy, Trevor Francis.

How to Watch

Whilst we would love you to be there, showing your passionate support for the Grecians, you can get the next best thing by purchasing a match pass at the cost of just £10 in the UK. The stream includes the live club commentary, score overlay and replays.

To purchase a match pass please click here.

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