January 31, 2004 Leave a comment
By Steven Dove
Onandi Lowe celebrated his 50th goal for Rushden & Diamonds in a convincing 4-1 win over Oldham.
The Diamonds striker, who had gone three games without a goal, notched up his 14th goal of the season following a mistake in the Oldham defence.
Rodney Jack had opened the scoring with a well taken goal and although Jermaine Johnson reduced the lead midway through the second-half, Andy Burgess and Paul Hall both converted close range efforts to seal a much-needed win.
Brian Talbot recalled Gary Mills to the starting line-up for his first appearance since the defeat by Peterborough. Leo Roget, who signed on loan until the end of the season, was handed his home debut.
Lowe played as a lone striker with Paul Kitson dropping to the bench. Robert Duffy was also named as a substitute, following his long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Oldham boss John Sheridan kept faith with the same starting eleven that gained a creditable draw with Blackpool as the visitors looked to maintain their recent run of good results.
Hall should have broken the deadlock on four minutes when the midfielder blasted wide of the target following a mix-up in the Oldham defence.
Without causing many problems for the Diamonds defence, Oldham enjoyed more of the early pressure although both sides struggled to cope with the difficult conditions.
An Andy Burgess free header on 13 minutes fell straight into the arms of Oldham goalkeeper Les Pogliacomi with the home-side soon settling into their stride.
AFTER 15 MINS: DIAMONDS 0 OLDHAM 0
Pogliacomi was called to make a vital save on 19 minutes when Ritchie Hanlon’s goal bound effort was tipped over the crossbar.
Oldham’s pressure was showing but Diamonds deservedly took the lead through Jack’s tenth goal of the season on 25 minutes.
The St Vincent international raced onto Lowe’s header to scoop the ball over Pogliacomi and tap home into an empty net.
AFTER 30 MINS: DIAMOND 1 OLDHAM 0
Oldham had no answer to Diamonds’ neat and tidy football as the home side threatened to extend their lead through Gary Mills’ long range effort on 31 minutes.
Mills had a further effort on 35 minutes which tested Pogliacomi on the wet and slippery surface.
However, Diamonds didn’t have to wait long to double their advantage as Lowe capitalised on a mistake in the Oldham defence to guide the ball into an unguarded net.
A further mistake in the Oldham defence nearly enabled Diamonds to extend their advantage on 42 minutes but Jack was denied by the feet of Pogliacomi.
With the Oldham defence unable to contain Diamonds’ attacking play, it always looked likely that the home-side might extend their lead. Dean Holden was saved by his own crossbar as Diamonds finished the first-half strongly.
AT HALF TIME: DIAMONDS 2 OLDHAM 0
In a desperate bid to bring themselves back into the game Oldham brought Calvin Zola and John Eyre into the game.
With the wind in their favour, Oldham enjoyed their best spell of the game and Zola and Johnson both had chances to test Diamonds goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.
Danny Boshall’s free-kick on 53 minutes was the visitors’ first effort on target which Ashdown somehow pushed away.
It was little surprise when Oldham brought themselves back into the game on 53 minutes when Johnson skipped past Barry Hunter’s challenge to beat Ashdown with a low drive.
AFTER 60 MINS: DIAMONDS 2 OLDHAM 1
At full stretch, Ashdown prevented Boshall from 30-yards on 64 minutes with a thunderous effort after the Diamonds defence gave the midfielder the opportunity to take aim.
Johnson was causing problems for the Diamonds defence and it was his cross on 67 minutes that nearly some confusion for the home-side.
Despite their second-half pressure, Oldham slipped further behind on 71 minutes when they failed to clear their lines which enabled Burgess to power home from inside the area.
AFTER 75 MINS: DIAMONDS 3 OLDHAM 1
Zola and Johnson continued to terrorise the Diamonds defence with their pace and power.
Diamonds had further efforts through Lowe and Jack with Oldham’s defence struggling to cope with the danger.
Gareth Owen had the chance to frighten Diamonds with a free header on 85 minutes but the defender watched as it flew over the crossbar.
Hall wrapped up the win on 87 minutes with a close range effort after Lowe threaded the ball to his Jamaican international team-mate.
AT FULL TIME: DIAMONDS 4 OLDHAM 1
Diamonds: Ashdown, Mills, Hunter (Dempster 90), Hanlon (Bell 60), Jack, Quinn, Burgess, Sambrook, Hall, Lowe, Roget.
Subs not used: Duffy, Talbot, Kitson.
Bookings: Hunter (34)
Oldham: Pogliacomi, Holden, Cooksey, Owen, Murray, Johnson, Vernon (Zola h/t), Boshell, Hall (Eyre h/t, Clegg 82), Haining, Griffin.
Subs not used: Clegg, Westwood, Eyres.
Bookings: Boshall (43), Murray (84)
Referee: Mr R Pearson
Attendance: 4,591 (671 from Oldham)
Diamonds’ MOTM: Rodney Jack