There’s little doubt that the red card Jose Baxter received against us on Tuesday night swung the game somewhat.
Baxter has been a key player for the Latics this season and losing him almost certainly cost them any slim chance they had of getting back into the game.
Up until that point they hadn’t been too troubling, bar a couple of early efforts, but with Baxter went their chances of getting a point, or even troubling Matt Gilks.
On the face of it, the challenge was crude. It was a late lunge, two footed and after the ball had gone. it’s a red card all day long, even through my apparently biased eyes, but former Manchester United midfielder Scholes blamed the match referee for his role in the foul.
“The red card was caused by the referee,” he told the Oldham Times. “There was so much going on after the ball that went unpunished, that he was not pulling up.”
“I have lost my temper and I can understand why Jose has done what he has done. I am not condoning it, but from experience I know why he has done it. From looking at it, it looks like a red card; at the time I thought it was a red card, a certain red card.”
Scholes isn’t blaming the ref for pulling out a red card, but for something else entirely. He alludes to us getting stuck in after balls had gone, niggling away whenever we got the chance. You know, like he used to….
I didn’t see that, in fact quite the opposite In Box 6 we thought they’d come with a rather robust game plan and a couple of crude challenges in the mid section of the first half certainly drew us to our feet. We’re no angels, we were just as bad, but to suggest Baxter was goaded into the tackle?
It seems a bit far-fetched to me.
Oldham also suffered an injury just before half time, Oladapo Afolayan, coming off just after the sending off. It wasn’t tactical, the player was injured and that too gave Scholes a headache.
“I really like him because he has got energy and can run at people and beat a man. I am not sure what is going to happen to him for the rest of the season, it is too early to say. We will look after him in the next couple of days and take it from there.”
“We tried to go for it, but we couldn’t get up the pitch really. It was always going to be difficult.”
That’s certainly how it panned out after the Imps secured all three points and a five point lead over second placed Bury.