Oldham Athletic AFC may be struggling at the wrong end of England's third tier, but the gloom was temporarily lifted at Boundary Park on Sunday as Paul Dickov's men sent seven-time winners Liverpool FC crashing out of the FA Cup in sensational fashion.
The Lancashire club reached the semi-finals twice in the 1990s and were founder members of the Premier League, yet their recent history has been far more prosaic and they currently lie just one point above the League One relegation zone. Indeed, few gave them much chance of toppling Liverpool in their fourth round tie, but two goals from Matt Smith and a Reece Wabara header helped seal a stunning 3-2 victory.
I have been lucky to play in European finals, be involved in FA Cup finals and represent my country, but what happened today is definitely up there," said an ecstatic Dickov, who was on the bench as Arsenal FC won the 1994 European Cup Winners' Cup final. "It was not just the result, but the performance which more than anything else delighted me.
"I have been saying you have to believe you can do it. If you don't believe, it will never happen. You always have a chance when you work hard and the boys got their rewards. The games we have been losing in the league have only been by the odd goal, but which quite possibly we could have won."
The victory set up a fifth round meeting next month with Liverpool's Merseyside rivals Everton FC, but Dickov admitted that he may not be in charge for that tie following a run of seven defeats from the Latics' last eight league games.
"I honestly don't know, but I hope so," he explained. "I very much want to stay and keep taking the club forward. It's a long time since we've had a full house here and I want to bring all those people back again for the Everton tie. But we will have to see."
As for Liverpool, manager Brendan Rodgers was quick to express his dismay with the reverse, in which he fielded youthful talents including Sebastián Coates, Andre Wisdom and Jack Robinson.
"We are bitterly disappointed," said Rodgers. "We started the first half poorly and we started the second half and got punished. We've got a big week of games, but our mentality in that opening period was poor and it ended up costing us."
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