LATE goals from Nile Ranger and Michael Smith papered over the cracks against Shrewsbury, but Town weren’t so lucky against Oldham last weekend.

Since my love affair started with the club back in the 1990’s, I’ve witnessed some brilliant performances and some unspeakable crimes against the beautiful game.

Sadly, last Saturday falls into the latter category.

Our main problem was a distinct lack of creativity in midfield. Whenever Town won the ball back, there wasn’t anyone who could deliver that killer ball or cause the defence any problems.

Earlier in the season, when Town beat Crewe 5-0, the midfield ran the entire game, Yasser Kasim, Ryan Mason, Alex Pritchard, Massimo Luongo, Byrne and substitute Nicky Ajose were excellent, Mason scoring a hat-trick.

Mason though has only completed eight of his 23 games, and missed periods of the campaign through injury.

On his day, he could be a Championship midfielder, but his unpredictable form and injury problems mean it’s hard to depend on him.

Despite the entire team having an off day, the trio of Ryan Harley, Jamie Reckord and George Barker came in for the most criticism.

Harley has struggled to make any impact on the first team. At times he’s looked a decent player, but he seems completely void of any confidence with the ball.

Ideally he would have a run of games, but at this stage of the season, Mark Cooper hasn’t got that luxury.

Reckord’s full home debut was a nightmare from start to finish. He looked all over the place while, on his full home debut, striker Barker also looked underwhelming.

Hopefully, their time to shine will come soon.

There was one piece of encouragement to come out of the mess, when Darren Ward was replaced at half-time, Nathan Thompson was given the captain’s armband.

Youth team graduate Thompson is Town’s current longest-serving player having signed as a professional contract in April 2009.

It means a lot more when your captain is someone who has been around the club and grown up watching Town throughout the years, experiencing the same highs and lows as the fan.