Football / FA Premiership: Makin's day tarnished

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The Independent Online
Oldham Athletic. . . . . .2

Sharp 47, Makin 62

Norwich City. . . . . . . . .1

Sutton 55

Attendance: 10,198

CHRIS MAKIN'S brief career has already shown him that Premiership football is a game of violently conflicting emotions. At Boundary Park yesterday, he was not only sent off for the second time in a week, but he was also the improbable scorer of the goal that produced the most unlikely home win of the season.

Makin, who has spent much time on loan at Wigan and Preston, set up a desperately needed first home League victory with a 61st-minute goal driven in from the edge of the penalty area after the ball had been laid back to him.

Eight minutes from time, however, Makin, who does not even have a contract at Oldham, experienced the down side of life at the top. He appeared to do little more than crowd out Lee Power as they both ran for a through ball, but the referee, Phillip Don, assessed it as a second booking to follow one for pulling back Ruel Fox in the 55th minute.

That made it four bookings in the past two matches as Makin was dismissed in similar circumstances at West Ham last week. Everybody at Oldham declares he is the least dirty of players, but his second sending-off condemned him to watching impotently as Norwich tried to save their unbeaten away record.

Oldham, reorganised in his absence, survived and deserved to do so. After their disasters of recent weeks, they were refreshingly positive and once more looked like a team capable of fighting against relegation.

With Rick Holden back from suspension, and injuries leaving little choice but to play Neil Adams on the other wing, Oldham's line-up was a throwback to their carefree days, when all escalators led upwards.

It was fitting that the goal at the start of the second half that put Oldham ahead came from deft touches down the flank. Adams and Ritchie both got intelligent, precise flicks on the ball to release Craig Fleming on the right, and his early cross was steered home by Graeme Sharp.

Norwich, perhaps suffering a slight hangover from their meeting with Internazionale, produced their main threat from Ian Crook's skill with the dead ball. The free-kicks Oldham conceded as they came under increasing pressure saw him hit the bar and have another fine effort well saved by the on-loan goalkeeper, Gary Walsh.

Makin's first booking gave Crook the chance to set up the equaliser, his floated ball into a static defence being side-footed home by Chris Sutton.

After his goal, Makin's remarkable afternoon continued with a magnificent saving tackle on Jeremy Goss which did as much as his goal to ensure that he finished on the winning side, even if he was not there to share the celebrations at the final whistle.

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