Gear up for fixture release with some previous opening day clashes.
- Fixture release day on Wednesday 17 June.
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- Look back at past opening day clashes.
Who would be your ideal choice for the opening game of the 2015-16 Sky Bet League One season? With fixture release day just around the corner on Wednesday 17 June, we're taking a look back at previous opening day games, with big wins, narrow defeats and ground-breaking achievements.
Make sure you get involved with fixture release day on Wednesday morning, starting now by letting us know who you want to face on the opening weekend. [Click here] to take part in our quick poll.
AUGUST 3 2013
After the bitter sweet summer of being relegated FA Cup winners, over 3,000 Latics fans travelled over the Pennines for the start of a new season and boy what an afternoon they had.
Strikes by Ben Watson, debut goals for Leon Barnett and Grant Holt and a final nail in the coffin by Shaun Maloney… a four goal demolition in the Yorkshire sunshine which in truth should probably have been twice the scoreline it ended.
AUGUST 15 2009
The start of a new era under returning hero Roberto Martinez…after all the pre-season talk, now was the moment of truth.
As soon as Hugo Rodallega’s audacious 25 yard lob stunned Villa Park into silence, Latics’ passing game proved too much for the hosts and a superb breakaway goal scored by Jason Koumas after Charles N’Zogbia’s mesmerising run sealed the score. Things really would never be the same again.
AUGUST 14 2005
It ultimately ended in disappointment when substitute Hernan Crespo’s last second screamer finally put an end to Latics’ resistance but this is a day that will live forever in the memory, the first time we hosted a Barclays Premiership match.
Up against Jose Mourinho’s Champions, Paul Jewell’s men had chances to win and despite the defeat, there was plenty to be optimistic about… little did we know at that stage just HOW much.
AUGUST 10 2002
CHELTENHAM TOWN 0 LATICS 2
Andy Liddell and Lee McCulloch goals more or less put the game to be within the opening 25 minutes and Latics fans travelled back up the M5 pretty optimistic.
Hopes were high that maybe, after so many years of trying, this could be the year that their team finally made it out of the bottom two divisions…nine months and 100 points later, it was celebration time.
AUGUST 7 1999
LATICS 3 SCUNTHORPE UNITED 0
This really was a once in a lifetime event as the JJB Stadium opened its doors for a football league match for the very first time.
Simon Haworth was the history man, netting the stadium’s first ever competitive goal, before doubling his tally and Stuart Barlow’s penalty making it a day for all to remember.
This was also the start of John Benson’s team going on a record 24 match unbeaten league run…but it all ended in tears at Wembley nine months later.
AUGUST 9 1998
LATICS 5 WYCOMBE WANDERERS 2
After the highs of winning the Division 3 title, new signing Brendan O’Connell scored a hat-trick on his debut in the Springfield Park sunshine.
Further goals by Scott Green, also on his debut, and Ian Kilford, had the fans dreaming of successive promotions …okay, that proved to be a bit wide of the mark but you could excuse the optimism, this was the first opening day victory since a 1-0 win over Swansea in 1985, some 13 years previously!
AUGUST 15 1987
NOTTS COUNTY 4 LATICS 4
After the disappointment of losing out in the play-offs, Ray Mathias’ Latics were looking to get off to a good start, but 3-2 down at the break at Meadow Lane did not bode too well.
However, two more goals in the second half saw the team return back to Lancashire with a share of the spoils in a crazy game that is still the most dramatic opening day fixture ever.
For the record, Chris Thompson, Bobby Campbell, Barry Knowles and Alex Cribley from the spot were the scorers.
AUGUST 29 1981
BRADFORD CITY 3 LATICS 3
Another high scoring affair and the same half-time score, with Latics trailing 3-2 after a brace from Clive Evans (pictured below) kept the team in it in Larry Lloyd’s first game in charge.
A great second half turnaround saw Les Bradd level matters as the team embarked on what would turn out to be a very successful season - culminating in our first ever promotion to the third tier of English football.
AUGUST 19 1978
HEREFORD UNITED 0 LATICS 0
Probably the most famous of them all, the first ever game in the Football League as 3,000 Latics fans travelled to the Midlands to cheer on Ian McNeill’s team, who, in pre promotion/relegation days, had been elected to the professional game at the 35th time of asking.
There was no score on the day but that wasn’t really the point. We were there, that was the real story!
- AWAY TRAVEL: How far will you go for Latics in 2015-16?
- KEY DATES: Update your diary with some crucial season card information.
- NEW ERA: Be part of the New Era with a 2015-16 season card.