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Oldham Story – December 2012

Hello everyone, and welcome back to my Oldham story! We were on a great run throughout November, now we had to keep that up in the busy Christmas period, we had a lot of games to play. Let’s see how we did….

We started the month with an away trip, Molineux was the venue, Wolves were the opponents. We came out of the blocks quickly and started well, after 9 minutes Ikechukwu Uche gave us the lead, after a nice team move tore apart Wolves’ defence. After that the match settled down, the heavy rain seemed to have an effect on the football being played, which was quite poor. We always looked the better side though, we had to wait to get a second, but we eventually did, Guilherme turned and fired home. We added a 3rd and ended Wolves’ hopes soon after, Robert Snodgrass continued his good scoring form and made it 3-0, sealing a nice win for us.

We were back at home for the next game, Hull were the visitors to Boundary Park, and 23000 fans flocked to see us, we finally don’t have the lowest attendance in the league now. The game was quite even throughout, but Hull really struggled to create clear chances, and we were clinical in front of goal, a double from Uche solved the game for us. It extended our brilliant form, our best run ever.

We took a break from league duties and turned our attentions to the Champions League for the next game, the final match of our group. As we had already qualified and Sporting CP were doomed to bottom place, the game was a dead rubber, so both sides fielded below par XIs. The game was actually quite a good one, both teams were attacking, but again we were more clinical in front of goal. Jo fired us ahead early in the second half, and substitute Marco Verratti hammered in a second near the end. We even missed a penalty, but I’m not too bothered about that, the great run continued and we finished as group winners.

That means that our group end like this, I couldn’t have dreamt of anything better, we’ve done fantastically well to get through, the board are delighted.

We found out after the game who our opponents would be in the last 16, we were quite lucky and will face Toulouse! A good side with some good players, but I feel it’s a winnable tie.

It was back to the Premier League after that, and the next game was a big one, 1st placed Everton were coming to Boundary Park. The players were really up for the game, and we got off to an absolute flyer, Pablo Hernandez kept his head when in on goal and it was 1-0! Everton didn’t seem troubled by that though, and the match was evenly contested for the rest of the half, which ended with us still in front. Soon after the restart though the game changed, wonderkid regen Kyle Bent pulled Everton level. After that the game started to drift, it looked like finishing 1-1. That didn’t happen though, 6 minutes from time Uche slotted home from 10 yards, 2-1! I was delighted, and I thought a crucial 3 points were coming our way, but with the last kick of the match Yakubu snatched them away from us, a disappointing blow, the game finished all square. It was still a decent result though, we were still 1 point behind, but we had a game in hand, which was coming up against Bolton 3 days later.

Because of the short gap between games a lot of the players were still tired after their exertions against Everton, meaning I had to field a slightly weakened team. It didn’t make much difference though, we played well and looked fluent, Matias Suarez opened the scoring in the 30th minute. We should, and could have scored more, but I’m not complaining, Bolton offered little threat and we held on comfortably for the win, a win which meant we were now top!

Again we had little rest in between that game and the next one, which was back at home against West Ham. Robert Snodgrass has been in fine form in the abscence of Andrew Driver through a broken arm, and he continued that here, inspiring us with 2 goals, both very nice finishes. He had the chance for a hat trick in the 68th minute when we won a penalty, but he fluffed it, his spot kick saved. It didn’t matter though, Guilherme extended the lead 2 minutes later, and captain Nicolas Otamendi wrapped the game up with a corner kick header. The only blemishes in the match were an injury to Verratti, thankfully he only had a minor complaint and a penalty from Diamanti that denied us a clean sheet.

The games kept coming thick and fast, not long after the West Ham match we were travelling to Goodison Park, for a League Cup Quarter Final. We were boosted by the return from injury of Martin Caceres, and we started well, taking the lead when his defensive partner Otamendi thumped in a header from a corner. All was going well for us, but then disaster struck, Otamendi was forced off with an injury and we fell apart, Yakubu sent us crashing out with 2 goals in 8 minutes after the break. It was a blow as I thought the competition was winnable, but worse news came after the match, Otamendi’s injury was a bad one, he’ll be out for 8 weeks, a big, big blow, he’s our defensive rock.

So, without our fabulous captain we travelled away for our final game of the year, Tottenham were the opponents in what was sure to be a tough match. Tottenham made the better start and deservedly went in front in the 14th minute, Jermain Defoe scoring. The game became tightly contested after the goal, but we were really struggling to create chances, and Tottenham looked comfortable at the back. The minutes slipped by quickly, and still we couldn’t create some openings, it looked like Tottenham were going to win.  2 minutes from time though we snatched a point, a deep cross was played in and Jo rose highest to head home, a very important goal, the match ended level, I was pleased about that.

Even though we drew our last game Everton were also frustrated, so we sit proudly at the top of the table, even if it’s only by  1 point. Hopefully we can keep going, although I think the title race is going to be very close this year.

We have a difficult start to the new year, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Tottenham and Man City all very tough games. Next month will be crucial, hopefully we can keep our form up, but it’ll be tough.

That’s it for now then folks, thanks for reading!

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11 years ago

@Laxeyman, dispite that horrendous injury to Otamendi, that was rather a wonderful month. Your league form has been fantastic of late and now let’s see of they can continue it into next month, which in my opinion, should give you a clear picture if your Oldham side will become champions. You have some daunting fixtures to play but I believe you can preveil in each one. Goodluck.

Johnny Karp
11 years ago

Well done Laxeyman, this was a fabulous month apart from the unfortunate event with Otamendi and the draw against Everton. You’re top of the table though, good luck in January!

P.S.: Did I tell you that your writing skills are more and more impressive? Well done!

Kevin Mayo
11 years ago

Hi Laxeyman
Tremendous final month of the year and good to see you top of the table. Too bad about Otamendi’s injury and I hope you will be able to manage with that tough January schedule. Great read as always and well done.

11 years ago

@Sears, thanks mate, and you’re absolutely right, January will be crucial. Hopefully we can continue our good form.
@Johnny, thanks for the compliment about the writing, I hope it keeps improving as I get older and write more posts.
, yeah the January schedule is tough, but hopefully we’ll prevail.

11 years ago

Your team is really playing well and having a great run of form. Great to see Oldham as the winter champions now, hopefully you can keep up the good run of form to brush Arsenal and co aside next month.

11 years ago

I would like to know mate, what formation and tactics do you play?

11 years ago

Nice work Laxeyman,
you have some great players there. They seem to have a good harmony and are performing well. Good luck next month though, you have some really tough opponents. If you come through that I reckon the title is yours to lose.

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