Football: Adams has last laugh

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Everton. . . . . . .2

Oldham Athletic. . .2

THEY thought it was all over. Everton were coasting, the fans were leaving and the referee was starting to think about bringing everyone in from the cold. But, as the saying goes, a minute is a long time in football: Neil Adams, the former Evertonian, registered Oldham's first goals in almost six hours to keep the Latics in with a chance of remaining in the Premier League.

Everton, after four consecutive losses, will be kicking themselves for surrendering two points and the chance to put daylight between them and the relegation candidates. 'It's disappointing to have a two-goal lead and then throw it all away,' Howard Kendall, the Goodison manager, said. 'But at least we've broken the sequence of defeats.'

Everton had enough chances to kill off the game before the hapless finale. After 20 minutes the hosts were ahead, courtesy of Peter Beardsley's nicely placed penalty awarded for Steve Redmond's innocuous challenge on Stuart Barlow.

Barlow doubled Everton's lead on the hour, heading home Cottee's fine cross from the right. This humiliation happened underneath the noses of the noisy away supporters. But the Latics' fans' musical plea - 'All we are saying is give us a goal' - was soon granted. Matthew Jackson was judged to have nudged Gunnar Halle and Adams thumped in the spot kick. Halle then crossed towards Ian Marshall, and his flick- on was drilled in by Adams.

Everton: J Kearton; M Jackson, K Sansom, I Snodin, D Watson, G Ablett, B Kenny, P Beardsley, T Cottee, B Horne, S Barlow (P Rideout, 80 min). Subs not used: P Radosavljevic, S Reeves (gk). Manager: H Kendall.

Oldham Athletic: P Gerrard; C Fleming, G Halle, N Henry, R Jobson, S Redmond, N Adams, A Ritchie, (P Moulden, 37 min), I Marshall, M Milligan, M Brennan (R Palmer, 64 min). Sub not used: I Gray (gk). Manager: J Royle.

Referee: K Cooper (Pontypridd).

Goals: Beardsley (pen 1-0, 20 min); Barlow (2-0, 60 min); Adams (pen 2-1, 87 min); Adams (2-2, 88 min).