Latics win the basement battle - but can John Sheridan keep Oldham up?
Oldham Athletic's Junior Luamba celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Sky Bet League 2 match between Scunthorpe United and Oldham Athletic at Glanford Park, Scunthorpe on Saturday 5th February 2022. (Photo by Eddie Garvey/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Oldham Athletic Academy product Junior Luamba struck seven minutes from time at the Sands Venue Stadium against Scunthorpe United to send the packed away end into absolute delirium this weekend. 

John Sheridan has recently taken over once again for the Latics, who have had a fractious season on and off the pitch. Protests, boycotts, pitch invasions have all blighted their season - but this time, the fans spilling onto the pitch in Scunthorpe did so in celebration and not contumacy. 

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  • Luamba proves the difference - but will this signal the “Great Escape”?

It was never going to be an exhibition in footballing flair, but it nevertheless proved to be a tense and closely fought battle. Both sides only had one shot on target, but Oldham made theirs count in front of the packed away end making the most noise and celebrating as wildly as the Sands Venue Stadium has heard or seen in some time.

One thing I must say is that I’ve always had a soft spot for Oldham Athletic. Nothing beats celebrating an away goal with my own team, and I’ve been to some amazing games with my own club - but being in an away end packed full of Oldham fans with close friends at Bury many years ago was one of the best match day atmospheres I’ve ever encountered.

The way I was welcomed onto the terraces by random strangers (albeit in the company of close friends, all who follow Oldham) was something I never expected, and I have always looked out for their results ever since and sympathised throughout the tough periods for the club - particularly this season, when they’ve had so much to contend with on and off the field. 

  • Will this be the “Shezz-urrection”?

The big question is - can “Shezza” keep the club up? Sheridan hasn’t had great records in some of his more recent jobs - Chesterfield and Swindon Town being the obvious stand outs - but it feels like a different Oldham Athletic with him at the helm. 

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Indeed, he got emotional after the game when asked about the Latics’ away support. 

  • “I get a lump in my throat when they’re like that”

I've been in the game a long time and played in front of big crowds, but I get a lump in my throat when they're like that, and I've said they'll be a big part in us hopefully staying up,” he said post match.

"Unbelievable support.”

"They get right behind the team. They've had it difficult themselves but how they support the team, hopefully we can reward them by staying up. The following is unbelievable."

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There is still a long way to go until the end of the season for Oldham Athletic, but most involved with the club think that if they are going to stay up, John Sheridan is the man to do it. 

Bristol Rovers are the visitors next up in midweek at Boundary Park before Sheridan takes his team to Newport County next weekend. Two positive results there and the likes of Carlisle United, Walsall and Colchester United will be looking over their shoulders nervously with the final third of the season promising to be a rollercoaster ride for all teams involved at the wrong end of League Two.