‘The stuff of schoolboy comics’: Oldham’s storied history of FA Cup magic

Oldham Athletic face Leyton Orient on Saturday in the first round of the FA Cup – a tournament with which they have a strong affinity.

The Latics have enjoyed their fair share of ‘cup magic’ over the years, with semi-finals against elite opposition and legendary scalps.

They have reached three semi-finals, losing to the eventual winners on each occasion, and more recently have been responsible for some famous upsets.

As they look to create even more history, MM take a look at some of Oldham’s most memorable FA Cup moments.

March 29 1913, FA Cup semi-final, Aston Villa 1-0 Oldham

Oldham Athletic’s first flirtation with FA Cup success came in the 1912/13 season when they made it all the way to the semi-final.

Their opponents, Aston Villa, had thrashed them 7-1 in December of that season and finished second in the league that season, with the highest scoring record in division one – 89.

Villa needed only one against the Latics in the semi-final at Ewood Park though; a 1-0 victory was good enough to take them to Wembley.

Oldham wouldn’t progress that far in the competition for 77 years.

April 8 1990/April 11 1990, FA Cup semi-final, Manchester United 3-3 Oldham AET/Manchester United 2-1 Oldham AET

Oldham fans commonly refer to the 1989/90 season as the ‘pinch-me season’, when their side reached the League Cup final and the FA Cup semi-final.

Oldham, then in the old division two, took top-tier Manchester United to extra time in a thrilling tie at Maine Road.

“This is the stuff of schoolboy comics,” exclaimed an excited Barry Davies during a pulsating 3-3 draw in which both sides led.

Earl Barrett poked the second division side ahead early on when goalkeeper Jim Leighton failed to hold onto a cross.

Bryan Robson and Neil Webb replied for United either side of half-time, but Oldham’s Ian Marshall equalised with fifteen minutes remaining, volleying in Neil Redfearn’s half-cleared cross.

Danny Wallace raced clear of the Oldham defence early in extra time to restore United’s advantage, but Roger Palmer scored to force a replay.

Oldham dominated United in the next match, but fell behind when Brian McClair turned in Wallace‘s deflected cross.

The Latics’ pressure eventually paid off, however, as Andy Ritchie scored late on to take the replay to extra time.

However, Mark Robins came on at half-time and would ultimately score the goal that took United to Wembley, where they beat Crystal Palace.

April 10 1994/April 13 1994, FA Cup semi-final, Manchester United 1-1 Oldham AET/Manchester United 4-1 Oldham

Oldham drew Manchester United in another FA Cup semi-final in the 1993/4 season, and again the Red Devils came out on top.

The Premier League matches between the two that season had produced twelve goals, but in a cagey game at Wembley extra time was needed yet again after neither side managed to break the deadlock.

Neil Pointon looked to have sent the Latics to the final when he stabbed home after Peter Schmeichel spilled from a corner.

But in the 120th minute Mark Hughes forced the replay when he volleyed past Jonathan Hallworth after Oldham failed to clear their lines.

In the replay at Maine Road, United swept Oldham aside in an imperious performance.

First-half goals from Dennis Irwin and Andrei Kanchelskis put them in front, while Pointon scored to offer the Latics a lifeline.

Any chances of an Oldham comeback were dashed, however, as second-half strikes from Bryan Robson and Ryan Giggs saw United win 4-1.

Latics’ fans cite that season and that semi-final defeat as a turning point for the club.

A month later they were relegated, a fate they suffered again three years later – that time to the third tier of English football, where they have remained for seventeen years.

January 5 2008, FA Cup third round, Everton 0-1 Oldham

David Moyes was made to regret fielding a weakened side in this third round tie as the Latics punished his Everton team.

Gary McDonald’s ambitious chip over goalkeeper Stefan Wessels helped Oldham claim the scalp of the Premier League side.

The Toffees looked lacklustre throughout and even though Yakubu hit the post in injury time they could not break down their lower league opposition.

Oldham were beaten 1-0 by Huddersfield in the next round, but their heroics at Goodison Park ensured they left their mark on that season’s competition.

January 27 2013, FA Cup fourth round, Oldham 3-2 Liverpool

In perhaps their finest hour in the tournament, the Latics shocked Liverpool in a five-goal thriller at Boundary Park.

Two goals from Matt Smith and a third from Reece Wabara saw Oldham defeat a Liverpool side featuring Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard, and Daniel Sturridge.

Smith scored either side of Suarez’s first-half strike and Wabara extended the Latics’ lead. Joe Allen’s late goal made for a tense finish but Oldham clung on for a famous upset.

The Latics would crash out of the competition to Everton, losing 3-1 in a fifth round replay at Goodison Park as the Toffees avenged 2008’s defeat.

Image courtesy of Diego Sideburns, with thanks.

Videos courtesy of thefacup, Manchester Red and mattyredman via YouTube, with thanks.

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