Football: Marshall obeys law

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Oldham Athletic. . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Ipswich Town . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

RARELY can that universal football law of the ex-player returning to plague his old club have been more ironically demonstrated than this. Ipswich's record signing, Ian Marshall, who left Oldham for pounds 750,000 only on Monday, came back here yesterday and inflicted the blow from which his former team never recovered.

Not only did the muscular striker score the first important goal for his new side, but he had a darned good game, too, his physical presence and maneouvering with the excellent Chris Kiwomya causing mayhem in Oldham's ranks. It was a good day for the visitors' new signings. Paul Mason repaid the proverbial slice of his pounds 400,000 fee that Ipswich paid Aberdeen by running in his side's third goal.

Obituaries at Oldham do tend to be premature, it is true. However, it looks likely on this evidence - edgy defence and few ideas - to be another hard campaign for their inspirational manager, Joe Royle. 'Early days - back to the drawing board,' he said.

For 40 minutes the warmth of summer seemed to have lured the players into an afternoon doze, which irritated those Oldham fans whose last sight of their team had been in that life-saving last-day victory over Southampton.

To beat Ipswich, last season's draw specialists, you have got to shake them out of their efficient, if cautious, passing game. But apart from Nick Henry's cross-shot following Mick Stockwell's slip, and a powerful Richard Jobson header, there was barely anything that the home side could produce to trouble their opponents.

Ipswich, who filled the Jason Dozzell-sized gap in midfield with the veteran John Wark, were happy to play the percentages. In a four-minute spell before the interval the tactics told.

First came the Marshall goal when he found space to gather and drive in low from 12 yards after Jobson failed to clear. Then while the heat was still on the Latics, Steve Palmer latched on to another weak clearance and cracked in the second.

Oldham Athletic (4-4-2): P Gerrard; N Pointon, R Jobson, S Redmond, C Fleming (N Adams, 55 min); N Henry, G Halle, M Milligan, P Bernard; A Ritchie (G Sharp 65 min), I Olney. Subs not used: J Hallworth (gk). Manager: J Royle.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2): C Baker; M Stockwell, D Linighan, P Whelan, N Thompson; P Mason, J Wark, G Williams, S Palmer; I Marshall, C Kiwomya. Subs not used: B Genchev, S Whitton, P Morgan (gk). Manager: M McGiven.

Referee: K Barratt (Coventry).

Goals: I Marshall (0-1, 41 min); S Palmer (0- 2, 45 min); P Mason (0-3, 69 min).