Supporters stormed the pitch at Oldham’s Boundary Park to protest against the club’s owners

Oldham Athletic’s impending relegation from the English Football League has been delayed by an on-pitch protest against the ownership which forced the abandonment of their match against Salford City.

The Latics, who needed to avoid defeat while Barrow and Stevenage’s scorelines offered them a stay of execution, trailed 2-1 with 11 minutes to play against Salford when fans poured on to the field.

Players were taken off by referee Robert Madeley as the supporters staged a centre-circle sit-in against the Lemsagam family, and remained in place despite appeals from boss John Sheridan to return to the stands.

Fans were told the game had been abandoned, while Oldham then stated to BBC Radio Manchester that there would be no post-match reaction from Sheridan – himself a former player along with brother Darren.

The BBC has contacted the EFL for a statement.

Latics’ fall from grace

It would mark a huge fall from grace for a club who were founder members of the Premier League, League Cup finalists 32 years ago and Wembley FA Cup semi-finalists as recently as 1994.

In a cruel twist of fate, they are set to begin their first season outside of the EFL in 116 years in non-league on the 30th anniversary of the breakaway division – becoming the first side from the top tier post-1992 to dip out of the league.

“This is a pitch invasion for all the wrong reasons. We’ve had them for the right reasons when we have done well and got great results,” Oldham legend Andy Ritchie – who was a part of the early 1990s success – told BBC Radio Manchester.

“This doesn’t help anything. The fans are frustrated, I know they are. They want a change of ownership but you do it in a different way.

“You don’t stop a football game, you wait until the game is over. If you have to show your emotions you show it then. They can do it in a better way.

“It looks as if there is trouble outside the ground as well. It’s a sad day for the football club. I hate to see this.”

Oldham’s likely drop rounds off a miserable spell for the club in recent times.

Keith Curle, appointed in March 2021, looked set to inspire some hope in the beleaguered Latics when he arrived at Boundary Park.

Arriving at the club having won promotion from the fourth tier with Northampton as recently as 2020, supporters would be forgiven for thinking he could turn around the fortunes of a club who have slumped to their lowest point in recent memory.

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It took seven games to find a win in any competition this term and the club’s form did not noticeably improve in the first half of the campaign.

Curle left in November, just eight months into his tenure, amid the backdrop of heightened tensions with the club’s support.

Three fans were banned in December for “promoting their dislike” of the clubwith one of the trio branding it a “dictatorship.”

The bans – which were issued directly by the club and were not court-issued football banning orders – were overturned just two days later after a public outcry, but the damage was done.

Protests continued and less than a month later Lemsagam announced that he was willing to sell the club, a U-turn on the position he had taken in September 2021 when he claimed he did not want to.

Under his tenure there have been accusations of late payment of salaries and threats of player strikes – as well as the prospect of administration, which was eventually avoided.

After more than a month without a permanent manager, John Sheridan arrived in January for his sixth stint at the club.

Despite a bright run of form in February which took them out of the League Two drop zone, as well as two successive wins in March and April, nine defeats in the past 11 games before Saturday saw a slide into trouble.

The game itself

Salford, who needed the points to maintain their play-off hopes, took an early lead through ex-Oldham striker Matt Smith who tucked into an open goal.

Davis Keillor-Dunn stroked home a penalty to give the home side hope after a handball by Jordan Turnbull, but Brandon Thomas-Asante’s near-post header in first-half injury time restored the Salford lead.

With pressure mounting, Oldham went for the goal they needed to delay the drop, with Keillor-Dunn’s tame chip saved by Tom King after Jamie Hopcutt’s header was ruled out.

Line-ups

Oldham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 23rogers
  • 7adams
  • twoclarke
  • fifteenJameson
  • 3Hart
  • 28Missilou
  • 8WhelanSubstituted forvaughanat 74′minutes
  • 17stobbsSubstituted forHopcuttat 68′minutes
  • 10Keillor-Dunn
  • 9Hope
  • 29Luamba

substitutes

  • oneLeutwiler
  • 19Da Silva
  • 26hunt
  • 27Hopcutt
  • 32Sutton
  • 33Couto
  • 3. 4vaughan

Salford

Formation 4-3-3

  • oneKing
  • 4Lowe
  • 42Vassell
  • 16TurnbullBooked at 32mins
  • 3Touray
  • 17Kelly
  • 8LundSubstituted forSees itat 49′minutes
  • 7Watson
  • 37Thomas-AsanteBooked at 78mins
  • 19Smith
  • 10HunterSubstituted forBoltonat 66′minutes

substitutes

  • twoSees it
  • 6Ndaba
  • fifteenBurgess
  • 24Bolton
  • 31Torrance
  • 32shepard
  • 40Henderson

Referee:
robert madley

attendance:
5,752

LiveText




Reference-www.bbc.co.uk

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