IT was a missed opportunity in more ways than one.

Jack Stobbs hit the woodwork at 0-0 and 0-1.

At the back, there were chances to deal with - and avoid - both of the goals conceded.

Harry Vaughan was a bright spark and breathed life into Latics with his first senior goal. In the end, though, it was not enough to be able to pick up where they left off at Rochdale and establish some much needed momentum.

But arguably the most significant missed opportunity in the grand scheme of Latics life right now came off the pitch.

Since fans were allowed to return to football it is Mo Lemsagam, the club’s sporting director and brother of owner Abdallah, that has borne the brunt of Oldham fans’ anger and frustration.

He is the one who has witnessed the fall-out and fury. The one who has had fingers pointed and chants directed at him.

Pitch invasions, tennis balls, whistles, protests, clown wigs and even a coffin - they have all served to achieve empathy from fellow fans and grab the attention of local, regional and national media outlets. But they have all occurred with owner Abdallah - the man who they want to receive the message and act on it - observing from afar.

On Saturday the controversial owner was back at Boundary Park for the first time in a long time.

Dubai-based Abdallah has been absent since before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Travel restrictions mean this is the first opportunity the Moroccan businessman has had to check in, in person, with the club he bought over three years ago; a club that has been in decline ever since and is, right now, staring worryingly into the abyss. That is why fans want change.

But the chance to let the owner know, first hand, just how strongly they feel was not taken.

More seem to be voting with their feet. An attendance of 3,729 was announced but that was not reflected in bums on seats, although lots of clubs include absent season ticket holders in their matchday figures.

More tellingly a crowd of just 732 for the Papa John's Trophy tie at home to Leeds United Under 21s - including 138 travelling fans - was embarrassingly low, even by the competition's standards.

Fans have had enough. But for those who did brave the elements on Saturday, any energy or appetite they might have had to continue their calls for a change of regime were dampened by the weather and another miserable home result.

Chants of "Abdallah out" started in the 72nd minute but petered out after just a few seconds.

They are clearly fatigued by it all, and flat having witnessed 19 home defeats in League Two last season and so far this.

Trailing 2-0, a lone supporter stood for a few minutes, pointed at the pitch and said "It's Harrogate Town. Harrogate Town!" completely aghast that his side were heading for the second home loss against a team that was playing National League football two years ago.

It could have been a very different outcome had Stobbs converted from two yards after eight minutes. Dylan Bahamboula bamboozled the opposition at regular intervals, but Latics are lacking confidence and conviction in the final third.

Harrogate had offered nothing, yet still found themselves in front just before the half-hour.

Alex Pattison got to the byline and defenders were sucked towards him, leaving Jack Diamond unmarked to sidefoot home when the pass was squeezed through.

Harrison McGahey had a shot headed off the line by Connor Hall and Davis Keillor-Dunn went close either side of half-time but Luke Armstrong doubled Harrogate's lead after benefiting from more poor defending, as well as a lucky ricochet off Carl Piergianni.

Vaughan gave Latics fans something to cheer - finishing wonderfully after linking with Callum Whelan for his first senior goal.

But it was a bitter-sweet moment as Latics failed to add to it and get anything out of the game.

The fans were louder at the full-time whistle, and the chants prolonged.

"You're not fit to run the club" they sang.

But by that stage Abdallah Lemsagam had vacated his seat in the directors' box, and left the ground.

It was pointless. Just as Latics were for the fourth time at home this season.