Football: Ipswich see record fall

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Oldham Athletic. . .4

Ipswich Town . . . .2

THE LAST unbeaten record in the Premier League was exposed as an early-season mirage by an inept Ipswich performance at Boundary Park yesterday .

For half an hour, a 5-4-1 formation showed why Ipswich have not been losing games. Not until Richard Jobson's long-range shot, deflected over by Eddie Youds in the 29th minute, could Oldham break them down sufficiently to direct an effort at goal.

Then, suddenly, Ipswich collapsed like a house of cards. The seventh of a seemingly endless succession of Oldham corners was headed firmly home by Ian Marshall, posing the question of how it was possible to find so much room amid so many defenders.

Forced to re-consider their approach in the second half, Ipswich at least devoted a little attention to attack, but Oldham killed them off with two goals in as many minutes. Phil Whelan could only head out weakly for Graeme Sharp to score with a clean volley, and then Steve Redmond's free-kick, from the edge of the area, brought a third.

Gunnar Halle's header looked inconsequential, but John Wark put an altogether more decisive touch past his own goalkeeper. The Ipswich veteran made a contribution more typical of his long career with a header to score at the other end. Oldham responded quickly with Nick Henry meeting Redmond's flighted centre equally well.

It was Wark's centre from the right that brought Ipswich a further consolation, Neil Thompson prodding in after Mick Stockwell's header had been well saved. It was an empty gesture with which to wave farewell to what was by now a discredited record.

Oldham Athletic: J Hallworth; S Redmond, N Pointon, N Henry, R Jobson, I Marshall, G Halle, I Olney, G Sharp, M Milligan, P Bernard. Subs not used: N Adams, R Palmer, J Keeley (gk). Manager: J Royle.

Ipswich Town: C Forrest; P Whelan, N Thompson, M Stockwell, J Wark, D Linighan, E Youds, G Pennyfather, G Johnson, J Dozzell, C Kiwomya. Subs not used: F Yallop, D Gregory, C Baker (gk). Team Manager: M McGiven.

Referee: J Key (Sheffield).

Goals: Marshall (1-0, 33 min); Sharp (2-0, 53 min); Wark, og (3-0, 55 min); Wark (3-1, 75 min); Henry (4-1, 82 min); Thompson (4-2, 88 min).