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Match Preview – Stevenage v Oldham Athletic (14 Jan 2020): Latic Be...

Now we find ourselves in times of trouble, BoroGuide comes to thee – but speaking words of wisdom? Hmmm, Maybe. Tom Pope’s late penalty for Port Vale, coupled with some guy called Adam Phillips levelling for Morecambe at home to Colchester, plonked us right back on the bottom of the table. We’re now six points back from Macclesfield in 22nd too, which means the gathering clouds are looking ever-more ominous.

Next in town are Dino Maamria’s Oldham Athletic, nine points ahead of us in 20th position. Is mid-January too early to be talking about must-win games? Not in our book, it ain’t. Two wins to our name from 26 games is just grim. Three wins from 27 doesn’t look much better – but we’ll take it if it comes our way. With no wins in 10 league games or the last two-and-a-half months, is the Leasing.com Trophy now a distraction?

If things keep going how they are, we won’t be around to take part in it next season.

 

Stevenage v Oldham Athletic: The Preview…

Oldham Athletic – who are they?

It’s a bit late in the current campaign to be meeting the Latics for the first time, but we can blame that one on international call-ups in November. Going into this match, our head-to-head record is nicely balanced – three wins apiece and a couple of draws too. It seems a shame to upset that, but that’s life. It’s now our second straight season coming up against them; relegation from League One in 2018 bringing them into our pond.

Our own relegation season in 2013-4 saw the Latics do a league double over us; the last time they got the better of us. It goes without saying – even though we literally are saying this now – that losing this fixture could be the déjà vu we could do without.

Our Record vs Oldham Athletic: P 8 — W 3 — D 2 — L 3 — F 11 — A 11 — Pts 11
Last time out: Oldham Athletic 1-1 Stevenage, 02 March 2019

How are Oldham Athletic doing so far this season?

A quick scan of the enlightened opinions on Twitter suggests that Maamria hasn’t won the Latics fans over since taking charge. It hasn’t been plain sailing for them so far this term – but they can take comfort in the fact that us and Morecambe have the relegation battle all to ourselves. Or should that be for now? Oldham’s record since we last won in the league (26 October) is to die for: three wins and three draws in those 10 fixtures.

Imagine if we’d taken home a similar points hall in that time? We’d be 17th.

The Latics’ recent form is encouraging enough (for us). After wins either side of Christmas Day, Oldham lost three on the bounce and then conceded a late equaliser at Macclesfield on Saturday. Late equaliser you say? How familiar. That means they’ve now let in at least one goal in their last eight matches, with their overall Goals Against for the campaign now up to 41. It’s one of those seasons where we’ve helped sides end poor runs or we’ve passed up unbroken records – can we not be the clean sheet fairy Oldham are looking for?

Please?

Tell us something we don’t know about Oldham Athletic

The Latics were one of 22 founding members of the Premier League; 1992 being a midpoint of a three-year spell at the top table of English football. After the 1993-4 campaign finished in relegation, however, the next three years were spent in the second tier – before another relegation put them in the old Division Two (now League One). Had they found their level? Well, a 21-year stay suggested they had – though they did twice make the playoffs.

Of course, that counts for nothing now. After spending eight straight seasons struggling in the bottom half of League One, the 2018-9 season saw them go down again; joining us here in League Two. Is there further movement to come?

What are the bookies’ odds for this game?

The early market for this match shows the bookies are leaning towards a home win. But it ain’t a dead cert by any stretch; a best price of 39/25 (Marathon) showing there could be a nice return on your punt if Boro’ pull it off. Oldham, meanwhile, can be found as far out as 11/5 (Bet365). The Latics are struggling to keep clean sheets, whereas we’re no strangers to late heartache. So, Both Teams to Score (47/50, Marathon) might be worth a shout.

Don’t forget – be responsible. And when the fun stops, stop.

Which Oldham Athletic player should we watch out for?

If we come up against a former player, it gives us the heebie-jeebies. This is no different. If Filipe Morais gets the nod from Maamria, we’d not be surprised if he went in fierce search of another goal to add to his four so far. Jonny Smith is also a name for us to be wary of.

Who is our ref for this match?

Kevin Johnson. For the third time so far this season, Mr Johnson is our man in the middle. This could be very good news. While this season’s first encounter with this ref came away at Salford on the opening day, last time out saw us beat Morecambe. It remains our most recent league win, which is both desperate and sad. We guess this might be the Football League’s way of throwing us a bone; a sort of “lads, two wins is a bit rubbish innit? Make yourselves look presentable, will you?”

Of course, that is not how things work. But good omens are few and far between right now.

Our Record: P 10 — W 3 — D 3 — L 4 — F 11 — A 10
Last time out: Stevenage 1-0 Morecambe, 26 October 2019

And, finally, what do you reckon?

Yeah, we’re done with predicting wins this season. No good ever comes of it. It angers the football gods… or something. So, take our thoughts on this match with as massive a pinch of salt as you want. Dino Maamria is going to bring his current team to us and get revenge for being sacked. It’ll be like when his Northwich side beat us towards the end of the 2007-8 campaign and cost us a place in the playoffs. But worse.

Stevenage v Oldham Athletic scorecast: 0-3

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BoroGuide runs the show around here, and has done since that glorious summer of 2002. We're not sure why it was so glorious; maybe it's the delirum of reliving David Seaman watching Ronald Eeeeenyo's lob drift over him. That and Boro' reaching the FAT final at Villa Park – not Wembley.

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