Beckford breaks the ice

Oldham Athletic 2 Barnsley 1
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The Independent Online
DAVE HADFIELD

Oldham Athletic 2 Barnsley 1

Two goals from Darren Beckford, trebling his tally for the season, gave Oldham the last place in the fourth round of the FA Cup after a windswept replay at Boundary Park last night.

Oldham's manager, Graeme Sharp, gambled on the striker with only four starts all season, in place of the team captain, Sean McCarthy. That gamble paid off handsomely, Beckford bringing an end to the barren 490 minutes since his side last scored a goal, way back on 16 December.

If Beckford's winner, from the penalty spot in the 67th minute, was controversial, there was no denying that he was the decisive influence in a replay postponed from last week because of fog.

A freezing gale was this week's variation on local conditions, but Oldham played their best football facing it in the first half, particularly Beckford and Gunnar Halle, whose partnership produced one goal and could have yielded three.

The one that did come through their efforts, after 18 minutes, was begun and finished by a player showing all the confidence that has often been missing during his time with Oldham. First Beckford found Halle with a cleverly directed header and then he was deep inside the box to meet the Norwegian's cross and nod it home.

Barnsley's only complaint could be that Beckford had been fortunate to escape punishment for an apparent stamp on Brendan O'Connell early in a bad-tempered game that eventually produced five bookings.

Oldham lost their impetus after half-time and Barnsley equalised when Toddy Orlygsson fouled Neil Redfearn on the edge of the area. The Barnsley captain took the free-kick himself and blasted it through the wall and into the net against his old club.

Extra time and penalties were beckoning when Halle went down in what appeared to be a delayed reaction after an innocuous challenge by Owen Archdeacon. Barnsley protested furiously but, inevitably, Beckford fired in with complete assurance.

Oldham Athletic (4-4-2): Gerrard; Makin, Graham, Redmond, Serrant; Halle, Hughes, Orlygsson (Rickers, 77), Brennan; Beckford, Barlow. Substitutes not used: McCarthy, Hallworth (gk).

Barnsley (3-5-2): Watson; Moses, Davis (Bochenski, 84), De Zeeuw; Eaden, O'Connell (Bullock, 73), Sheridan, Redfearn, Archdeacon; Liddell, Payton. Substitute not used: Butler (gk).

Referee: G Cain (Bootle).

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