Talk about mixed emotions, Saturday evening was the lowest I felt in a long time. We’ve had defeats, lots of defeats in this hellish season but very few felt like they did Saturday.
They say it’s the hope that kills you and there’s nowhere that lives up to that like WN5, despite being 2-0 down as the clock ticked to half-time against a very ordinary Wimbledon side Latics had managed to pull themselves level and there was only one winner as Latics were in the ascendency heading in to the last quarter of the game.
A rush of blood to the head from Jamie Jones, amongst a missing defence and all of that hard work was un-done in a couple of minutes. Once the referee pointed to the spot you knew what was coming and it was very difficult to see us getting anything out of that match and as it transpired that’s exactly what happened.
We had faced both Wimbledon and Swindon on torrid runs of form and managed to lose both games, in the process managing to lose ground on relegation rivals. Things looked very bleak on Saturday evening.
The Latics hashtag on twitter can be a glum place at the best of times but after that sort of defeat it’s worth turning your phone off for a couple of days. A lot of accusations were thrown at the players on Saturday evening, ‘they don’t care’, ‘they’re here for a pay day’ out of all of the vitriol directed towards the players these are probably the points that hurt the playing and management staff the most.
Days of Latics being a big pay day are long gone, although it has similarities to the Malky Mackay and Warren Joyce seasons this is anything but. Yes we’ve brought a lot of new players in, but I imagine monetary gain is the last thing on their mind.
Why sign for the one club in the football league currently going through an insolvency event? Also not caring is an accusation thrown in the heat of the moment but can really hurt staff, hence the unique situation where club doctor Jonathan Tobin was forced to defend his players on twitter.
Jamie Jones has had a torrid time of late, there have been a number of goals conceded that can be attributed to Jones. Members of the goalkeepers union will always tell you that keepers are the first to face criticism as they’re the last line of defence. But as Leam Richardson alluded to after the game against Wimbledon that there was a lot of players who should have prevented the ball reaching the Latics area long before Jones got involved.
So it was heartening to see despite all of this that Latics managed to get that three points that has alluded us since the New Year on the road on Tuesday evening. Northampton had a decent home record and despite struggling at the bottom of the division would have been favourites against a Latics side low on confidence.
Thankfully Latics were definitely good value for their win, Callum Lang who looked an isolated figure up front until the last ten minutes did marvelously well to hold of the challenges of two defenders as he slotted in to the bottom corner.
Latics held on despite the seven minutes of injury time and there’s just no telling how valuable that three points could be. It was another makeshift side for Latics as Jamie Proctor was self-isolating after a positive covid test and Tom Pearce looks like he is now out for the season.
Adding to the injuries of Lee Evans, Gavin Massey and Kyle Joseph. There’s four players there alone who look to be out for a long time who would walk in to any side in this division.
Reflecting on that, and the fact that Luke Robinson another academy product came in to make his debut is it any wonder we’re struggling the way we are? Frankly I think it’s astounding that we’re still in with a chance and a good chance at that of staying up this season. We have to remember that defence hasn’t played together before, the more time this side has to gel and let’s hope they do gel the better we’ll be for it.
There’s a long way to go but as the takeover saga rumbles on off the pitch, Leam Richardson, Gregor Rioch and the coaching staff are doing all they can. If things don’t go right for us it isn’t for the want of trying.
Speaking of takeovers it’s been another quiet week on that front, as the first shoots of spring emerge soon we get ever closer to the really worrying time in all of this.
The EFL will not allow a club to start two seasons of football in administration. August 2021 is currently a long way away but we know that time goes fast when you’re in this situation and we’re running out of it.
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