Paul Dickov’s eyes must have lit up when he saw his side’s fixtures for this week. A trip to Dagenham and Redbridge, the visit of Exeter City and a derby at Rochdale sees the in-form Latics take on three of the weakest teams in the league on paper.
However, a pitch does not come in A4 and the game is played on grass as the Greater Manchester side have found.
Even if the grass isn’t the equivalent of a billiard table, the pitch at Dagenham was hardly fit to grace the Bernabeu and neither was the football, but Oldham did the job to make it three wins on the spin.
It took an hour of battling and graft to get the goal, but it duly arrived courtesy of the unusual source of on-loan Leeds United midfielder Aidan White. The debutant gave the travelling contingent the perfect reward of three points with a close range strike following Oumare Tounkara’s blocked shot.
The struggling Daggers were comparatively blunt and offered little to test Dean Brill in the Oldham goal to the delight of Dickov.
The fixture is exactly the type of game where the Latics could have come unstuck, but a refusal to be overawed by strength and a will to win ensured the points travelled back up north.
That is where Exeter were heading for the Tuesday meeting with Dickov’s rampant charges. The Scot was playing down any assertions that the result would be a foregone conclusion after the Grecians stunned high-flying Huddersfield in their own back yard at the weekend.
It seemed that Dickov had no reason for such concerns as the Boundary Park faithful witnessed their side race into a comfortable lead.
White opened the scoring to make it two goals from two games and that triggered Oldham to ease almost out of sight by half-time as Oumare Tounkara slammed home a header for the second. Chris Taylor drove home to increase the lead to three and seemingly end Exeter’s slim hopes of a comeback.
The home side seemed to be comfortably easing over the line when Richard Logan grabbed a consolation on 77 minutes. The breaching of the Oldham defence left their back four unsettled and the momentum firmly with Exeter. They took full advantage on 85 minutes when veteran striker Jamie Cureton shot home a second.
Despite the dwindling time, Exeter still found time to miss a penalty in the frantic finish as Oldham’s crumbling defence was personified by Carl Winchester as he brought down Daniel Nardiello in the area. If Ryan Harley kept his head, an astonishing comeback was at his feet. The midfielder’s effort was saved by Brill and Oldham lived to fight another day.
Or so they thought. Two minutes later and as the game moved into the final minute, substitute Nardiello had the last laugh as he headed home to give the Grecians the unlikeliest of points and break Oldham hearts. It could have been so much better for the Latics, but no such mistakes will be forgiven on Saturday’s trip to Spotland.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.