Football: Bernard dogs Swindon

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The Independent Online
Swindon Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Oldham Athletic. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

GLENN HODDLE did not have a happy 35th birthday. Despite being the leading scorers in the Football League, Swindon were unable to provide their player- manager with an appropriate gift and - alas to relate - it was Hoddle's mistake which led to Paul Bernard heading the goal which put the Premier Leaguers into the fourth round of the Coca- Cola Cup.

From the start, a match between two sides who pride themselves on the intelligence of their play was as open as expected. The response and counter-response throughout the first half resembled a thoughtful conversation, although neither side managed to make their point conclusively.

Oldham began the more forcefully, with Richard Jobson and Steve Redmond rumbling forward from central defence. Swindon retorted with a shot from Micky Hazard, who still plays in the precocious manner of a kid in a playground, which was hooked off the line by Neil Pointon.

With a backheel here, a switch of direction there, Hoddle maintained the educated tone from his position deep in defence. Just before the break Jon Hallworth struggled to divert his low drive round the post. Jobson promptly climbed to direct another powerful header goalwards from Redmond's corner, only for Martin Ling, standing obediently at his post, to nod the missile away.

Hoddle, despite leaving his side vulnerable early in the second half by twice losing the ball, strove to accentuate the positive with a lob which promised to send the overlapping David Kerslake in on goal before Nick Henry earned a booking by hauling him back.

Oldham, though, began to look the stronger side, and after 66 minutes Sharp hit the post with an angled shot after Neil McDonald's drive had deflected off his team-mate, Neil Adams. Five minutes later the visitors had their reward as Bernard, a sprightly 19- year-old midfielder who has played for Scotland Under-21, dispossessed Hoddle once again and supplied Adams on the right wing before making his way to the near post to head home the resulting cross.

Swindon: Hammond; Kerslake, Horlock, Hoddle, Calderwood, Taylor, Hazard, Summerbee, Maskell, Ling (White, 81), Mitchell. Substitutes not used: Viveash.

Oldham Athletic: Hallworth; McDonald, Pointon, Henry, Jobson, Redmond, Adams, Marshall, Sharp, Milligan, Bernard. Substitutes not used: Tolson, Fleming.

Referee: R S Lewis (Great Bookham).