SCOTT Naylor got what he wanted most in the 32-18 win against Keighley Cougars — a big response from his players after the poor performance when beaten at home by Hunslet seven days earlier.
He wrote in his programme notes for the Cougars game:
“We’ve done a lot of soul-searching this week and we’ve had some strong words with each other so the only thing missing now is a response.
“Today is the perfect opportunity to show the fans that it matters to us and that we care about the club and the fans.
“Anyone can say they are going to do something. Talk is cheap. Let’s see what happens.”
We did . . . and his new-look line-up made the perfect start with three tries inside 12 minutes, the first by right-wing Dave Eccleston and the next two by left-wing debut-boy Lee Kershaw.
It was a magnificent start in which Roughyeds played a brand of wing-to-wing football to which the visitors had no answer.
There was a wobbly second 20 minutes, in which Cougars pulled back to trail by only two points at half-time, but Scott’s boys regained the initiative to finish with a 14-point winning margin.
Said the Oldham boss:
“We were very good in the first 20 minutes. We kept it simple, but produced some good stuff and played the game in the right way.
“Then we lost our way a little bit and gave Keighley a lot of field position and they punished us accordingly.
“It proved yet again that in this division you’ve got to be good for the full 80, and strong-minded for the full 80, otherwise opponents will do.
“We were a lot better again in the second half when we got back to doing the basics; got a lot more field position; and forced Keighley into a few errors. That enabled us to put moe points on the board.
“I thought the new lads were very good and I thought the forwards were good again.
“We’ve just got to carry on now in the same way and reach those levels consistently for 80 minutes in every game. That’s what we have to aim for.
“We’ve got to do it again next week, and the week after that. It’s no good producing that sort of performance once every two or three weeks.”
Adam Neal, who suffered a head injury when hit by a two-man tackle that was placed on report, will have to undergo the usual back-to-play protocol ahead of next Sunday’s fifth-round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie against Hull KR at Bower Fold, Stalybridge (3pm kick-off).
The tie is NOT all-ticket (there will be the usual cash turnstiles open on the day), but fans can buy tickets in advance to ease congestion and benefit from an easier flow into the ground.
These are available each day this week, Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 3pm at the club office at the Vestacare Stadium (phone 07904 898177).
Big-match hospitality is available at £35 a head and at the Vestacare Stadium on Thursday evening, 6pm to 7.30pm, fans can watch the team train for their big challenge and have pictures taken with the world-famous Challenge Cup.