FA Cup 1st Round replay
Boundary Park, Oldham
A fair amount of twitchy bravado, in the form of condescension, no doubt cropped up in North Manchester prior to the first game in this Cup tie and since then the Oldham followers will no doubt have been keeping up the normality pretence in the face of increasingly noticeable soggy-logs collecting in their socks. It couldn’t REALLY happen could it? It took a goal from Methuselah, ‘David Ayres’ to his mates, to spare their blushes in the initial contest, but surely home advantage would sort out the men from the err.. other men, the Johnny 2-Jobs from somewhere near Walsall? So might be the pre-match thinking inside Latic heads.
So, as they sit for the first half hour of this replay without the expected goal-fest, they begin to get a little restless. Their chants of ‘who are ya?’ though are as much about genuine perplexity as they are clichéd terrace antagonism. There is certainly clear confusion as to their opponent’s status, with one bellowed guess “…you fucking pub team” clashing with the excitably vocal young lady next to me who cries incredulously “we can’t lose to a Conference side?”
A League One side succumbing to a Conference beating may well bring a hint of shame, but these days it is a delicate hue, and to call it a shock would be stretching hyperbolic tabloidese somewhat. However being taken to a replay by a side 133 places beneath should, you would think, make snorts of derision about your opponents in the programme for said rerun, a little inadvisable particularly considering the Cup’s propensity for the upsetting of odds (and blinkered followers of Football League clubs).
However, a ‘fans-day-out-to-Chasetown’ style report in Oldham’s glossy brochure reads like a checklist for a Mark-Lawrenson-on-early-rounds-of-the-Cup-coverage drinking game.
Thankfully for the egg-primed face of the author, it’s probable pinning to the wall of the Chasetown dressing room can only keep Oldham at bay for so long, but in 2 of the 4 cases it takes real belting long-range strikes to get the beating of the Scholars and it is only their expected and understandable tiring that allows Oldham to make it anything close to easy.
Considering the lack of full-time training, and the fact that it was the 9th game of their protracted cup run (which has played havoc with their league fixture backlog), you can certainly forgive them for looking dead on their feet comes the 65th minute. They never give up though and cannot fail to have been inspired by the 2,436 strong away support (taking a fairly impressive 1900% of their average home league gate). Sadly an Oldham chant of ‘Is that all you take away?’ isn’t forthcoming. However the heavy away throng does remark of the subdued Oldham turnout “you’re supposed to be at home”, many of those joining possibly less than a 100% sure where exactly where ‘their’ home actually is. Not that the Chasetown regulars should be worried about that. It is the nature of the non-league follower to continually bleat about the lack of support in the locality, but to get sniffy about it, mentioning bandwagons and such, when a load do turn up en masse.
Who knows what the hardcore thought about the loud take up of the “Chasetown ‘til I die” chant, but it certainly has the same double-edged timbre as Kevin Pietersen locking lips with the lions on his helmet badge. Hopefully though this cup run will inspire more regular support even if only from another 50 or so, as with the money earned from this adventure mean Chasetown are a club who can afford to think on with ambition.
Another noticeable comment from the Oldham throng is “you’re just a town full of doggers”. Now I’ve always liked that term to describe the dogged, tough-tackling players before it was high-jacked by the voyeuristic exhibitionists of this world. That said in its original form, it wouldn’t apply in this case as Chasetown have certainly not been a bunch of heavies hacking their way to underdog glory.
It’s fair to say then it probably the more contemporary meaning is implied, as I hear Stan Collymore lives in the Walsall area. It seems a little unlikely though that a big away cup replay is the only thing that can bring the Chasetown population together outside of regular socials in a dimly-lit car-park.
Road to Cardiff:
F: West Ham 3 Liverpool 3 [Liverpool win 3-1 on pens] (att. 74,000) [BBC]
SF: Middlesbrough 0 West Ham United 1 (att. 39,148) [BBC]
QFr: Middlesbrough 4 Charlton Athletic 2 (att. 30,248) [BBC]
QF: Charlton Athletic 0 Middlesbrough 0 (att. 24,187) [BBC]
5R: Charlton Athletic 3 Brentford 1 (att. 22,098) [BBC]
4R: Brentford 2 Sunderland 1 (att. 11,698) [BBC]
3R: Stockport County 2 Brentford 3 (att. 4,078) [BBC]
2Rr: Brentford 1 Oldham Athletic 0 (att. 3,146) [BBC]
2R: Oldham Athletic 1 Brentford 1 (att. 4,365) [BBC]
1Rr: Oldham Athletic 4 Chasetown 0 [BBC]
1R: Chasetown 1 Oldham Athletic 1 (att. 1,997) [BBC]
4QRr: Chasetown 1 Blyth Spartans 0 (att. 2,134)
4QR: Blyth Spartans 2 Chasetown 2 (att. 926)
3QRr: Chasetown 4 Cogenhoe United 3 aet (att. 382)
3QR: Cogenhoe United 1 Chasetown 1 (att. 184)
2QRr: Belper Town 1 Chasetown 4 (att. 154)
2QR: Chasetown 3 Belper Town 3 (att. 167)
1QR: Chasetown 2 Gedling Town 1 (att. 76)
PR: Chasetown 2 Causeway United 0 (att. 111)
Oldham Athletic website