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All I Want For Christmas Is Two (up front)

As was helpfully pointed out to me on Twitter, last week’s blog aged well. So no more positivity, no more optimism, no more cheerleading. O Come All Ye Faithless. It’s shit and I’m sick of it.

I didn’t go to Solihull. Absolutely the right decision. Cables won 2-1, the winning goal took a hilarious deflection past the Trafford keeper who’d been gobbing off all game (he did make some great saves, mind), and Cables’ number 7 Jack Goodwin played like Ronaldinho. And the pies were dead nice. And they had a can bar at the side of the pitch.

All of which was far more enjoyable than listening to Latics collapse in the opening seconds of the second half, conceding two goals that we were never likely to come back from. A late goal from Rooney straight from a corner only tortured us with false hope. David Unsworth again bemoaned our lack of mental toughness, saying that the first goal killed us and we took 20 minutes to recover from it, and it came from us playing it backwards when we were in their half. “Where is the team that I see every day in training?” He again identified fear and lack of confidence as our main problem, and I’ve no idea how we fix that.

I don’t know why I expected Tuesday’s game at Boreham Wood to be anything other than a kick in the crotch. ’Much improved performance’? Tick. ‘Definitely the better side early on’? Tick. Conceding a goal against the run of play? Tick. Hitting the bar? Twice? Tick. Getting a late equaliser, only to concede with the last move of the game? Fucking tick. It’s good that we weren’t settling for a point, that we were pushing for a winner, but what a sickener. That really wasn’t very festive.

John Ebbrell did the post-match interview, which maybe we shouldn’t read too much into, and was quick to praise the team’s effort and performance, saying “I couldn’t fault the players”. They’re probably relieved that someone can’t, mate. He stressed, as Unsworth has, that the players are doing the right things, trying to play the right way, that we were attacking and going for the win after our goal because it felt like the momentum was all going our way, but we’re having no luck. He’s optimistic that we’re moving in the direction, saying “someone’s gonna get it from us soon….I’ve been in the game a long time and these things eventually turn”. I really, really hope he’s right, because I’ve been watching the game a long time, and the team that’s bottom of the league at Christmas usually goes down. And as much as enjoy drinking cans on a terrace, I’d rather our derby next season wasn’t against Curzon Ashton.

It's all the more frustrating because Unsworth and the club seem to be doing all the right things. We were getting overrun in midfield, so we signed Rooney. We were giving away soft goals, so we brought Peter Clarke back. We lacked a cutting edge up front, so we signed Abraham and Reid. We had an injury crisis and the players were clearly lacking in confidence, so we brought in an experienced physio who specialises in performance anxiety. So why isn't it working? Is it a case of being patient and waiting for it to click? It has to soon, right?

We made another theoretical step in the right direction yesterday, signing the striker that Unsworth apparently really wanted all along, Joe Nuttall, on a three year contract, which feels like a statement of intent. Nine goals so far this season. Surely to Christ we're gonna play two up front now, right? Surely between him and Reid we're gonna start banging the goals in and winning games? Surely? Please? We're gonna move off the bottom of the league before Christmas, right? RIGHT?

I desperately want things to work out for Unsworth. The club's shown faith in him and backed him, and I really, REALLY hope it pays off soon. God knows we're fucking due some good fortune. Let's all cross our fingers and hope for a Christmas miracle on Sunday, which to be honest is what it'll take to get the game on. As I write this, yards away from the Chaddy end, it's zero degrees celsius, which is toasty warm compared to Thursday night. There will be snow at Boundary Park this Christmas time. Let's hope the Christmas bells that ring here aren't the clanging chimes of doom. KTMFF.

Written by Arlene Finnigan. Image © Oldham Athletic.

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I was At Solihull it was a shit show ! I’m loosing hope. Back in the early 80s (I think) when Ron Saunders briefly managed Birmingham City he said there was a curse on the ground and got a mystic in to put a spell in each corner under the floodlights. I’m beginning to think thats what Latics are going to have to resort to! THE most depressing club to support, bar none!

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