The scoreline didn’t really do justice to the balance of play, but City returned to winning ways in style albeit with a scare along the way in beating basement side Stevenage 2-1 on Saturday. It’s therefore in buoyant mood that City take on another of the division’s strugglers on Tuesday night aiming to build momentum into the closing stages of the season. With Jonny Maxted and skipper Jake Taylor still missing the injury list was added to early on with Nicky Law being withdrawn with concussion. It’s likely that Law will therefore miss Tuesday night’s match due to the strict concussion protocols in place meaning Matt Jay, who crowned a fine performance off the bench with the winning goal, likely to deputise. Although neither player scored there were signs Nicky Ajose and Ryan Bowman are starting to gel and both will hope also to keep their place.
Oldham have had rather a topsy-turvy time of things since dropping into the fourth tier for the first time since 1971 a couple of seasons back. Managers have come and gone, often in the blink of an eye, as have a number of players. The experiment with Laurent Banide lasted until about a month into the season, at which point the Latics appointed Dino Maamria. The Tunisian, who for years was Graham Westley’s right hand man at various clubs, has done a reasonable job at Oldham so far and has guided them to lower mid table safety, 14 points ahead of his former club and mentor at the bottom of the table. A run of four draws and two wins came to an end at high-flying Crewe on Saturday, albeit with the help of a 97th minute winner with Oldham having led for a short time in the second half. Maamria was busy in the January window with four loanees (two from nearby Salford) and two permanent signings, adding to a high turnover that has seen nearly 40 players don the shirt in league fixtures. Top scorer is Jonny Smith with 10 in all competitions, while at the back David Wheater is a player with vast experience at higher levels.
The reverse fixture back in August saw City dominate without really threatening in a dire 0-0 draw. Last season at the Park a solitary Bowman strike secured the points for City in a crucial fixture for City’s ultimately forlorn playoff hopes. City haven’t lost at home to Oldham in the league since that 1971 Oldham promotion season, and enjoy a league head to head lead over their visitors with 12 wins to Oldham’s eight (seven matches finishing level). Details of the last 11 games can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=10043
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Keith Stroud
Assistant Referees: Graham Kane and Geoffrey Russell
Fourth Official : Scott Jackson
Keith Stroud’s last 12 Exeter games can be found at: https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?s=keith+stroud