August 30, 2003 Leave a comment
By Steven Dove
Rushden & Diamonds went down 3-2 to a late Matt O’Halloran goal after twice coming from behind.
The Diamonds had done the hard work with only ten men when Andrew Edwards was dismissed for a foul after ten minutes.
John Sheridan had put Oldham into the lead from the penalty spot but Onandi Lowe’s fifth goal in five game from a 30-yard free-kick squared the game at half-time.
Will Haining restored Oldham’s lead midway through the second-half but Bignot seemed to give Diamonds a share of the spoils.
However O’Halloran popped three minutes into injury time to strike past Turley and fall to their second away defeat of the season.
Diamonds boss Brian Talbot recalled Lowe to the starting line-up as Duane Darby, despite scoring his first goal of the season against QPR on Monday, dropped to the bench.
Gary Mills continued his role in the centre of midfield with Stuart Gray remaining amongst the substitutes.
Oldham gave a home debut to Mark Hudson, signed from Fulham. However, boss Iain Dowie was hit with the blow that new loan signing Calvin Zola Makongo from Newcastle was struck with illness.
Oldham nearly took the lead in 36 seconds when Paul Murray’s cross was tamely headed wide by Mikael Antoine-Curier.
Diamonds nearly responded moments later when, after Oldham failed to clear their lines, Andy Burgess had a volley deflected the wrong side of a post.
It was the home-side that enjoyed the better chances in the opening stages and David Eyres was unfortunate not to have broken the deadlock when his volley stuck the woodwork.
It was a poor start from Diamonds and things went from bad to worse for the visitors as, on 10 minutes, Edwards brought down John Eyre in the box. It seemed a harsh penalty decision but to everyone’s surprise the former Peterborough defender was also dismissed.
Sheridan calmly stepped up to slot home the penalty, sending Billy Turley the wrong way.
The dismissal resulted in the Diamonds boss bringing John Dempster into the equation, replacing the unfortunate Mills.
AFTER 15 MINS: OLDHAM 1 DIAMONDS 0
Lowe’s curling free-kick on 17 minutes nearly got Diamonds back on level terms in a rare effort for the visitors.
Turley came to the rescue to tip over a fantastic effort from Hudson on 21 minutes, displaying great agility and reflexes.
Oldham were in complete control of proceedings and Antoine-Curier saw a header drift wide of Turley’s goal.
AFTER 30 MINS: OLDHAM 1 DIAMONDS 0
On a number of occasions, Diamonds’ good build-up play was broken down by resilient and hard working Oldham defending.
Ernie Cooksey nearly finished off a well-worked move for Oldham on 36 minutes when he volleyed wide following a delightful right-wing cross from Haining.
Despite being under all the pressure, Diamonds hit back in tremendous style on 38 minutes when Lowe hit a trademark free-kick, from 30-yards, leaving Oldham goalkeeper Les Pogliacomi no chance.
Eyres struck the side netting moment later and Paul Hall squandered a good chance after Oldham had failed to clear up the danger from a Lowe free-kick.
Oldham finished the half strongly but couldn’t find a way past a resolute Diamonds defence, which had combated most of the bombardment the home-side had offered.
AT HALF TIME: OLDHAM 1 DIAMONDS 1
Andy Sambrook was brought into proceedings at the start of the second-half, replacing Hall but Oldham remained the stronger outfit at the restart.
Burgess was unfortunate not to test Pogliacomi on 49 minutes as the midfielder saw his shot deflected by an Oldham defender as he tried to finish off a good move from the visitors.
Sheridan nearly grabbed his second of the game when his connected with a cross on 53 minutes which flew over the Diamonds crossbar.
Oldham should have restored their lead on 56 minutes when Dempster failed to clear his lines and, somehow, Antoine-Curier struck the Diamonds crossbar from six-yards.
A tumble from Turley saw Diamonds have a scare on 59 minutes as Hunter cleared a corner off the goal line.
AFTER 60 MINS: OLDHAM 1 DIAMONDS 1
Lowe was unable to find the target from a 20-yard free-kick on 62 minutes with Diamonds enjoying a good spell of possession.
Oldham continued to threaten the Diamonds goal and Sheridan was unfortunate not to find the back of the net on 67 minutes with a long range effort.
Oldham restored their lead on 74 minutes when Eyres’ pile driver rebounded off the inside of a post to enable Haining to poke home from close range.
AFTER 75 MINS: OLDHAM 2 DIAMONDS 1
Gray was introduced into the action on 79 minutes as Diamonds tried to force an equaliser in the closing stages.
Oldham kept pushing forward as they kept hold of the ball, much to the frustration of Diamonds.
Rodney Jack burst clean through on 82 minutes but was forced wide which enabled Pogliacomi to make a comfortable save.
However, to their credit, Diamonds kept pushing forward and were back on level terms moments later. As Oldham failed to clear the danger, Bignot drove home Barry Hunter’s header from close-range, which squeezed into the bottom corner of the net.
And when it looked as if Diamonds would take a share of the spoils, O’Halloran stepped up to fire a shot into the corner of the net to send the Northamptonshire side home disappointed.
Oldham Athletic: Pogliacomi, Hudson, Haining, Holden, Clegg (O’Halloran 86), Sheridan (Roca 86), Murray, Cooksey, Eyre, Antoine-Curier (Vernon 76), Eyres.
Subs not used: Collin, Ndiwa
Bookings: Hudson (48)
Diamonds: Turley, Bignot, Underwood, Mills (Dempster 14), Edwards, Hunter, Jack, Burgess (Gray 79), Bell, Hall (Sambrook h/t), Lowe
Subs not used: Darby, Talbot.
Bookings: Hunter (90)
Sent-off: Edwards (11)
Referee: Mr M Cooper
Attendance: 5,469 (273 from Diamonds)