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SEASON REVIEW: February 2015

4 June 2015

We take a look back at Oldham Athletic's 2014/15 Sky Bet League One campaign in our season review feature.

February was an interesting month for Latics to say the least.

After entering the month full of confidence due to a 3-0 convincing victory over Notts County, the rearranged fixture against Barnsley was the next game for Latics.

The only goal of the game came in the first half as Kane Hemmings' outstretched leg found a way past Jake Kean to win the game for the Tykes.

Latics huffed and puffed in a bid to get back into the game but were unable to get the ball past a resilient Ross Turnbull.

After that disappointing defeat, Latics were on their travels again on the Saturday as they faced an in-form Scunthorpe United.

However, training was starting to become a problem for Lee Johnson's men as they could not find facilities fit enough due to the torrential weather.

With everywhere around the area booked up, Latics travelled to the West Riding County FA to train at their headquarters. 

It was a chance for new signing Rhys Murphy and Conor Wilkinson to train with their teammates ahead of Saturday's game.

The lads were fully prepared for the game and knew exactly what was at stake should they win the game.

A place in the play-off spots awaited should they come away with the victory but they faced a Scunthorpe United side who had only lost two of their last 15 games at that point.

After a solid first half display in which Latics maybe should have been ahead, Scunthorpe threatened in the second half.

Athletic withstood the pressure and in the final five minutes of the game, Player of the Season Carl Winchester set off on a mazy run.

He ran, and ran, and ran, galloping into the box, gliding past his opponents before finishing confidently into the bottom corner to win the game for Latics.

Jubilant scenes followed as Athletic knew they had secured a place in the top six of the division and attention quickly turned to Tuesday night's big test against Swindon Town.

The league's second-placed team made the trip up to Lancashire on a cold Tuesday night knowing they could move top of the table.

However, victory for Latics would move them to fifth and put them in a real shout of the promotion mix.

Latics came flying out of the blocks and put their opposition under intense pressure, almost catching them off guard.

That game plan worked effectively as Mike Jones struck with 10 minutes on the clock to put Latics ahead.

One very quickly became two as 58 seconds after the first goal hit the back of the net, the second one flew in.

Conor Wilkinson seized on a loose backpass and slid the ball past Wes Foderingham to put Latics' fans into dreamland. 

Jonathan Forte thought he had made it three however the linesman's flag prevented the forward from extending his impressive goal streak.

Massimo Luongo pulled a goal back and Latics really did have their backs against the walls but they held on to victory, a result which propelled them to fifth in the division.

February 14. Valentines Day. Tickets were reduced to just £5 behind the goals and the optimism around the club was starting to turn into expectation. Park was a sea of blue as fans descended upon the ground knowing a victory would cement a place in the play-off positions.

However, two minutes into the game, Colchester clearly didn't read the script as they took the lead.

It took a while for Latics to get going in the game and the crowd started to become restless, however, they came out with much more intent in the second half.

Jacob Mellis had a shot turned around the post and Mike Jones also went close as Latics knocked on the door for an equaliser.

They thought they had it in the dying seconds of the game as Liam Kelly bundled the ball over the line but the linesman had his flag raised and Latics came away from the game pointless.

That defeat seemed to deflate the team as they travelled to the capital to face Leyton Orient who sat in the bottom four.

An early Andrea Dossena goal set the tone for the afternoon before Tommy Mooney and Jay Simpson sealed the win for the O's.

Jonathan Forte had missed a penalty for Latics as the scores were 2-0 after Rhys Murphy was fouled in the penalty area.

Lee Johnson and Tommy Wright left Oldham Athletic on February 25 and Dean Holden and Adam Lockwood were placed in temporary charge until the foreseeable future.

Holden, who had only joined the club from Walsall in November, took his first training session on the Thursday afternoon.

Holden was not given the easiest of starts as Preston North End, who sat in second position, were the opposition. 

He was also not helped by the growing injury list the club had. Liam Kelly, James Wilson and Joseph Mills were ruled out the day before the game.

North End boasted former loanee Daniel Johnson in their line up after he made the permanent switch to Deepdale and he notched one of their four goals as they ran out comfortable winners.

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