A NEW season but the same old story for Oldham Athletic who were beaten 1-0 at home by Newport County in their opening match in Sky Bet League Two.
An 88th minute winner from Kevin Ellison, at the ripe old age of 42, ensured it was far from the start that head coach Keith Curle wanted.
Latics finished the 2020-21 season in a lowly 18th place and, if the bookmakers are right, they are in for another challenging campaign with most predicting a bottom six finish.
Their miserable form at Boundary Park last season was their Achilles heel as they were bottom of the home form table.
They lost 15 of their 23 home league games and collected a measly 20 points from a possible 96 on their home patch. It was just as well their away record would have secured a place in the promotion play-offs or their league status would have been in peril.The home defeat by Newport was a huge setback and preparations were not helped by signing five players in the week leading up to the game.
Indeed, the captures of Jamie Bowden, Jacob Blyth, Dan Rogers and Ousseynou Cisse, who also started against Newport, were only announced on the day of the match.
It clearly was unhelpful trying to integrate four new players into the side at such short notice and it will take time for them to settle.
Looking at the fixture list, the remainder of August looks tough for Latis who this week were hosting Tranmere Rovers in the Carabao Cup.
That is followed by back-to-back away games at Bradford City and Bristol Rovers on August 14 and 17 respectively, home to Colchester United on August 21, away to new boys Sutton United on August 28 and home to promotion favourites Salford City on August 31.
Those matches ought to act as a barometer by the end of the month as to what Latics’ fortunes are likely to be.
Here’s a look at Latics’ five latest signings.
JACK STOBBS, who play right wing or wing back, has been signed on a one-year deal after impressing pre-season when he scored against Ashton United, Stalybridge Celtic and Rochdale.
The 24-year-old, who came through the youth ranks at Sheffield Wednesday for whom he made six first-team appearances, had also been on trial with Latics late last season.
Stobbs, who has loan spells at Port Vale and Scottish side Livingston, had played latterly for non-league Grantham Town.
JAMIE BOWDEN, 20, in on a season-long loan from Tottenham Hotspur where he has played since the age of six.
Bowden, who has represented England and Republic of Ireland’s youth teams at Under-16 and U19 level respectively, can play either a deep-lying or attacking midfield role.
JACOB BLYTH, 28, is a striker who has agreed at short-term deal having been on trial.
After starring for non-league for Nuneaton Griff, Bedworth United and Leamington, Blyth was snapped up by Leicester City but never made a senior appearance is almost four years when he was sent out for seven separate loan spells at EFL clubs.
Since being released by Leicester in 2016, Blyth has had spells at Motherwell, Barrow, Macclesfield Town, Altrincham and Gateshead, but has struggled with injuries.
DANNY ROGERS, 27, is a goalkeeper who has signed a one-year deal after starring in pre-season friendlies against Burnley, Crewe and Rochdale.
Rogers, who made three appearances for Aberdeen having come through their academy system, until recently was at Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock for whom he played 27 games, including against Rangers and Celtic.
Born in New York City, Rogers represented Republic of Ireland U21s 10 times as well as being part of the senior squad for qualifiers for the FIFA 2018 World Cup.
OUSSEYNOU CISSE, 30, is a ball-winning midfielder who has signed a one-year deal with the option for it to be extended.
The former Mali international, most recently at Leyton Orient, has an interesting CV including a lucrative move from French club Dijon to La Liga side Rayo Vallecano. He has also played for MK Dons and Gillingham.