Dean Holden’s first game as Oldham Athletic’s interim manager ended in defeat as his side went down 4-0 to Preston North End.
Two goals in each half, including a first half-strike from ex-Latics loanee Daniel Johnson, settled the game as Oldham lost their third straight match.
Holden now faces the task of raising his side’s spirits before Tuesday night’s trip to Port Vale as they hope to keep their faint play-off hopes alive.
“I’m absolutely gutted. I thought in the first half we were right in it,” he said.
“We were picking up all the seconds and we were starting attacks. Even at 2-0 I had a good feeling we’d get back into it.
“But we lost our shape in the second-half and the lads started making poor decisions.”
“It was disappointing day all round. It wasn’t a 4-0 game in the fact that they’ve battered us, it’s four poor goals from us which are all sort of individual bad decisions which we have to try and put right.”
The heavy defeat saw the Latics slide into the bottom half of the League One table, though they are still just five points behind sixth-placed Doncaster Rovers.
“I was absolutely buzzing before the game. We couldn’t have done any more preparations,” he said.
“Unfortunately it was a bad day all round for the players and the fans and everybody.
“We have got to pick ourselves up and go and get a positive result against Port Vale, which we can if we are on our game.”
Holden was without seven first-team players because of injury problems, though remains hopeful that key players will be fit enough to return on Tuesday night.
“(Jonathan) Forte is looking more likely to be available and we have a chance with Conor [Wilkinson] but there is a huge risk of re-injury so we will have to see. Brian (Wilson) was ill so had to go off at half-time,” said the former Walsall player-manager.
“(Carl) Winchester has got a tight muscle so he was ruled out. You go with what you have got and you give it your best shot.”
Main image courtesy of Official OAFC via YouTube, with thanks.