Oldham Athletic 0 Swindon Town 2: Told ‘Em Oldham

My alarm goes off at 6am after finishing work four hours earlier, but it’s worth it as the Town are at Oldham. Writes Vic Morgan.

Its one of those games that you mark down on the calender as one of the longest but ridiculously most enjoyable of the season. Somehow it seems to encapture the essence of being a football fan. Long journey, bound to be cold, won’t be a classic, but bizarrely fun.

And so it was. A dash up the M5 from Devon to meet the supporters coach at Cirencester and we’re on our way. Strangely, there were empty seats on the coach. I guess the counter pressures of Christmas shopping and the expense of the day took its toll.

You know what to expect at Boundary Park. The wind whips into the away end under slate grey Lancashire skies and the three hundred Town fans are crammed into one block which probably helped keep the cold away.

And before the action a couple of pints and a great cheese and onion pie at the ground.Thanks to Oldham for catering for us Veggies its a rare treat.

So then what we’re there for. A return to the team for Alan McCormack meant that Joe Devera moved across to centre back alongside Darren Ward and no place for Aden Flint. Swindon also started with no John Bostock but with Simon Ferry and Danny Hollands in centre midfield. So a couple of changes as Paolo Di Canio again rotated his squad.

It was great to see Rafa De Vita start again on the left and he again delivered. The opening minutes set the pattern of the game with De Vita and Matt Ritchie causing the home side real problems on both flanks. Sadly as often is the way most of the action was at the far end as the Town played away from us in the first half.

The breakthrough came on twenty eight minutes. De Vita headed down Ritchie’s cross and got onto the ball first to push it into the back of the net. Celebrations then among the 300 and Rafa ran the whole length of the pitch to show his delight. A player who’s respected by Swindon supporters for his never give up attitude and he never lets the team down.

I’m also indebted to him for allowing me a quick pit stop before he got his second. This time a shot which took a big deflection before trickling over the line at the far post. Again great delight among the travelling red and white in what was a poetic moment.

A two nil lead at the break just about summed up Swindon’s comfort in the game. Oldham rarely threatened and former Town loanee Christian Montano got no change out of Nathan Thompson who had an outstanding game at right back.

In truth it wasn’t a great game and Swindon looked in their comfort zone. That continued in the second half with Wes Foderingham hardly tested and able to keep a couple of shots at bay with ease.

Chris Martin was taken off to be replaced by James Collins shortly after being booked for a rather needless push on an Oldham player who ended up in the advertising hoardings. He looked a frustrated figure as he trudged up the stairs to the Town dug out after again failing to stamp his presence on the game. Earlier De Vita went off to a standing ovation to make way for Gary Roberts, the usual change, and the returning Tommy Miller came on for Ferry.

Oldham lost their keeper with a head injury after a coming together with Andy Williams. Because they’d used their three subs earlier were reduced to ten men and put an outfield player in goal. Town just couldn’t take advantage of that though and it led to a rather disappointing few minutes when the goal difference might have been boosted.

Still it was three points, an away win and the team moved up one place to seventh in League One. Paolo came over for the usual post match celebration and there was a definite “I stay here for you” feeling about his gestures.

He may rant from time to time but he IS our pied piper. He sometimes divides opinion but he IS our leader and moments like that at the end of the game make the travelling and expense worthwhile.

Yes I enjoyed Oldham away. Not a classic game but a classic away day.

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