05 February 2022

It gives us a bit of belief – Oldham boss John Sheridan hails late win

05 February 2022

Oldham boss John Sheridan says Junior Luamba’s late winner against relegation rivals Scunthorpe has given his battling side “a bit of belief” they can beat the drop.

But the 57-year-old played down the impact his own return has had on the club, who have picked up four points from his two games back in charge, including this first league win since November.

Luamba’s goal earned the visitors a 1-0 victory in the battle between the bottom two sides in League Two.

“There were lots of good things, but the most important thing was the three points,” Sheridan said.

“It gives us a bit of belief and I’ve told the players to enjoy it.

“It’s nothing to do with me. The players have responded to a few things I’ve asked them to do, but I just really pick the team.

“The lads are fighting for the badge, but they should do that.

“It took a scrappy goal to win it, but sometimes they are the best ones. The ball dropped in a dangerous area and Junior reacted.

“I thought we deserved to win it. We performed really well and credit to the players for the way they went about the game. I thought we looked a decent team.

“If we can stay strong as a unit and stay in games, which probably hasn’t happened too often this season, I think we’ve got players who can score the goals to get us out of the position that we’re in.”

Luamba’s goal, scrambled in from close range in the 83rd minute when Scunthorpe failed to clear a corner, was a fitting way to settle a game which underlined both sides’ struggles this season.

The Iron, whose only victory in 14 games prior to this clash came against the Latics on Boxing Day, probably had the better chances, but, after debutant Joe Nuttall fired over from inside the area seven minutes into the second half, Oldham began to get on top and look the likelier team to break the deadlock.

While victory gave the Latics’ survival hopes a shot in the arm, Scunthorpe’s chances of avoiding relegation look bleak following a seventh successive defeat.

But boss Keith Hill, who handed home debuts to five new faces following a busy end to the transfer window, is refusing to throw in the towel.

He said: “I’m still very optimistic and positive about our chances and I’m still prepared to fight.

“We started brightly and tried our best to get in front, but, while we’re disappointed to have lost, we have to learn from this game and move on.

“That is the last game in our past and we can’t keep living in the past. The suggestion is the ink is dry on the league table, but we’ll keep fighting.

“This is a good group and I’m determined to make the most of the last 18 games.

“I’m not stupid enough not to expect fans to be disappointed, but, while there were mistakes, the players didn’t hide.

“We need to try to create a unity against the rest of the football world.”

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