Football Round-Up: Hapless Barlow is in the red

AFTER securing one princely point from the last 15, Liverpool finally managed a win but if there is a harder way to go aboutit we don't want to know. Struggling to find form and rhythm at home against even lowlier Oldham, the Reds had a Robbie Fowler goal disallowed then fell behind to Darren Beckford's strike. Three minutes from time Fowler struck again, legitimately, and Andy Barlow, for whom the word hapless seems far too limp, put through his own goal in the 90th minute.

AN abundance of last gasp Premiership equalisers yesterday with pride of place going to Mr Vinnie Jones. The thriller at Hillsborough twice swung Sheffield Wednesday's way but, typically, Wimbledon twice fought back. Chris Waddle and Ryan Jones both gave the Owls the lead, the second time with only six minutes remaining. Gary Blissett hit the Dons' first before their Jones squared matters with a minute left.

LATE levellers at Highfield Road and the County Ground woke up the patrons dozing through dullish games in the pleasant autumnal sun. Phil Babb scored late for Coventry against Southampton; Shaun Taylor did similar business for Swindon against Everton but they still haven't won in the Premiership.

Aston Villa, meanwhile, warmed up for their UEFA Cup tie against Deportivo La Coruna of Spain with a visit to the less exotic surroundings of West Ham, and drew 0-0.

IN SCOTLAND, Premier leaders Hibernian, limbering up for next week's League Cup final against Rangers by entertaining the other half of the Old Firm, looked to have the points wrapped up through Gareth Evans' goal. But Celtic's Gerry Creaney forced a draw with a fierce shot five minutes from time to maintain coach Frank Connor's unbeaten stewardship. Aberdeen and Kilmarnock drew 1-1, which allowed Motherwell, 1-0 winners over bottom club Dundee, to move into second place.

SPEAKING of Celtic, if First Division Stoke City manager Lou Macari does take over at Parkhead this week, he will look back on yesterday's match against Grimsby with mixed feelings. 'Farewell To The Potteries', like one of Arnold Bennett's duller narratives, was a scrappy affair with Thorvaldur Orlygsson's winning goal, a comically deflected shot, typifying the game. However, the fans' support must have warmed him.

NEVER again will Millwall sell a player to Bolton. Managed by former Lions' boss Bruce Rioch, Wanderers' goalkeeper Keith Branagan (ex-Lions) pulled a muscle in the warm-up and was replaced by Aidan Davison (ex-Lions) who watched as striker John McGinlay (ex-Lions) scored two first-half goals to set Wanderers on their way to welcome a 4-0 win.

PAUL FURLONG, the Watford striker, was sent off for the second time in three games yesterday after apparently striking Birmingham's Paul Peschisolido at St Andrews. Danny Wallace, Brum's (very) recent signing from Manchester United, scored their late winner.

HERE'S a law and order solution neither Lord Justice Woolf nor Home Secretary Michael Howard thought of. James Lawrence, who three months ago finished 26 months at Her Majesty's Pleasure for robbery, has been signed by Sunderland until the end of the season. Nine months with Terry Butcher should sort him out.