Football: Latics turn the tables

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The Independent Online
Oldham Athletic. .6

Wimbledon. . . . .2

WHEN Oldham were beaten 5-2 at Selhurst Park earlier this season, their manager, Joe Royle, accused them of defending like women. Yesterday, it was Wimbledon, the last side to whom one would attribute the qualities of the fairer sex, who deserved that description.

But some things never change. With three players already suspended, Wimbledon picked up two more bookings and had a man sent off - Gerald Dobbs for deliberate handball - for the second successive game. The Latics' third win in five matches lifts them clear of the relegation places, but they have Wimbledon's abysmal defending to thank for the impressive margin.

John Fashanu, the player dismissed at Hillsborough 10 days ago, started the rot. He went up for Gunnar Halle's long throw with Richard Jobson, the Oldham centre-half, and the ball struck his shoulder and bounced past the stranded Hans Segers into the net.

From a Neil Pointon corner, Andy Ritchie headed on for Paul Bernard to volley home.

Then, shortly before half-time, Ian Olney picked up the ball midway in the Wimbledon half. Ritchie's diagonal run drew two defenders to allow Olney to catch Segers off his line with a perfect chip.

Ironically, it was slack marking by Oldham that offered Wimbledon a glimmer of hope with two second-half goals from Dean Holdsworth, who has now scored six in as many games.

But when Dobbs, who had already been booked along with Neil Ardley and Robbie Earle, became the fourth Wimbledon player to see a red card this season, the revival went with him.

Olney, Neil Adams and finally Oldham's new signing Darren Beckford completed the rout, scoring just 10 minutes after coming on as substitute.

Oldham: P Gerrard; G Halle, N Pointon, N Henry, R Jobson, C Fleming, N Adams, A Ritchie (D Beckford, 77 min), I Olney, M Milligan, P Bernard. Subs not used: N McDonald, J Keeley (gk). Manager: J Royle.

Wimbledon: H Segers; R Joseph, P Fear, L Sanchez, J Scales, D Blackwell, N Ardley, R Earle, J Fashanu (S Cotterill, 79 mins), D Holdsworth, G Dobbs. Subs not used: S Fitzgerald, P Digweed (gk). Manager: J Kinnear.

Referee: J Martin (Hampshire).

Scorers: Fashanu (og, 1-0, 5 min); Bernard (2-0, 13 min); Olney (3-0, 42 min); Holdsworth (3-1, 61 min); Holdsworth (3-2, 68 min); Olney (4-2, 69 min) Adams (5-3, 73 min); Beckford (6-2, 87 min).