Football: Late goal boosts Oldham

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

Queen's Park Rangers. . . . . . . . . .2

OLDHAM must have thought it was their day when Nick Henry gave them the lead after only 48 seconds. Goals have become an elusive commodity for the Lancashire side since they slid into the relegation zone in January and this was just the start they required for their optimistic belief that they can yet avoid the drop to look plausible. They stayed in front for 68 minutes, yet finished the game indebted to an equaliser almost as close to the end.

In between, Rangers took the upper hand with such assuredness that they should really have claimed maximum points. After a week in which he had 18 players under treatment, Rangers' over- worked physiotherapist ensured that the Londoners took the field physically intact but their minds were clearly elsewhere when Henry chested down Neil Adams's pass amid a static defence and fired crisply past Tony Roberts. However, Oldham failed to make the most of their good fortune and then suffered injuries to Ian Marshall and Mark Brennan, which disrupted their rhythm.

Rangers ended the first half going forward and after the break the tide swung squarely against the home side. Allen's equaliser, drilled in despite a cluster of defenders about him, came as no surprise. Four minutes later, Andy Sinton placed a superb shot from 25 yards into the top corner.

It was hard to see Oldham finding a way back but Joe Royle's side know that survival will require a fight; less than two minutes remained when Adams won a tussle for Ian Olney's cross and rolled the ball over the line. The battle continues for Oldham at Middlesbrough tomorrow.

Oldham Athletic: P Gerrard; G Halle, N Pointon, N Henry, R Jobson, C Fleming, N Adams, I Marshall (P Bernard 17 min), I Olney, M Milligan, M Brennan (R Palmer 44 min). Sub not used: J Keeley (gk). Manager: J Royle.

Queen's Park Rangers: T Roberts; D Bardsley, C Wilson, M Doyle, D Peacock, A McDonald, A Impey, I Holloway, L Ferdinand, B Allen, A Sinton (K Ready 86 min). Subs not used: D Bailey, J Stejskal (gk). Manager: G Francis.

Referee: M Bodenham (East Looe, Cornwall).

Goals: Henry (1-0, 1 min); Allen (1-1, 68 min); Sinton (1-2, 72 min); Adams (2-2, 88min).