Back in second place at half wayDate published: Monday, June 22, 2015
DESCRIBING the win at Swinton as a “great result for the club”, Oldham boss Scott Naylor said it was also an important one for his players after recent defeats by Keighley and North Wales.
They followed up with a 64-0 trouncing of Oxford at Whitebank, but the Roughyeds’ coach said it was the game at Sedgley Park on which his players would be judged in terms of what they can expect to achieve in the second half of the season.
At the half-way point of their regular season — 11 down, 11 to go —- Naylor’s men are back in second place after dropping to third when beaten at home by Crusaders a fortnight ago.
Most fans would have jumped through hoops to accept that had they been offered it before the new League One season began at Easter.
Said an upbeat Naylor: “We were expected to beat Oxford, but facing Swinton at Sedgley Park was our first massive challenge after those two defeats in a row and we came through with flying colours.
“Huge credit must go to the players because there were times at Sedgley Park, especially in the first half, when we looked like a Championship side. I can’t describe how hard they’ve worked since those two losses.
“It was an important win in terms of the season as a whole and a great, great result for the club.
“To have a 22-4 half-time lead trimmed back to 22-20 away from home and then still kick on again to win shows a steely determination and great mental strength.
“If we take those qualities into every game from now to the end of the season it will be interesting to see where we finish.”
Of the 21 players at his disposal, Scott left out full-back Tom Dempsey (18), on-loan half-back David Hewitt (19), prop Richard Joy and hooker Kenny Hughes.
Sam Gee switched from centre to full-back, Jon Ford was back after injury in Gee’s centre spot and on the bench Michael Ward and dual-reg Oliver Roberts came in ahead of Hughes and Richard Joy.
Hewitt, who has come from St Helens, has yet to make his bow in Oldham colours.
Added Scott: “I picked the 17 who I thought would form the right team to win at Swinton, but that is no reflection whatsoever on any of the lads who didn’t play.
“Next week-end, when we go to Gloucester All Golds on Saturday, I might change things again.”