Rugby League: Lindner's winning start: Oldham end six-match losing streak

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The Independent Online
Oldham. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

Widnes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

BOB LINDNER'S first match as Oldham's player-coach brought an end to a six-match losing streak in the First Division and stirred hopes that they might yet survive there.

Oldham built and squandered a 12-point lead but then dominated the second half to secure a well-deserved victory.

Lindner was given the best possible start, largely thanks to his fellow Australian Glenn Liddiard, whose arrival earlier this month probably came a few weeks too late to save the previous coach, Peter Tunks.

Liddiard's craft in the problem stand-off position created two early tries, one with a clever kick for Scott Ransom and another with a shrewd pass to Shaun Irwin.

For good measure, Liddiard added both conversions, but Oldham then seemed intent on throwing their advantage away.

A knock-on by Mike Kuiti paved the way for a try by Karle Hammond and then poor defence allowed Steve McCurrie to scurry over from acting half-back for a second converted try.

On previous form, that is where Oldham's early promise should have vanished without trace. But they tightened their play and cut out mistakes for the remainder of the half and then won the match in some style after the interval.

Veterans like Kuiti and Andy Goodway were willing to give their best for the new coach. Another who pulled out a significant performance was Lindner himself.

His tackling was remorseless and the difficulty Widnes had in stopping him when he ran with the ball contributed to their defence being caught short on the opposite side of the field when Wally Gibson's lovely reverse pass sent in Darren Abram.

Oldham made sure of the precious first League points since December when some excellent handling sent the ball from one wing to the other for Linder and Abram to send in David Jones.

It will still be a long, hard struggle to survive, but Oldham had shown the will and the skill to do so.

Oldham: Gibson; Jones, Irwin, Abram, Ransom; Liddiard, Crompton; Sherratt (Topping, 66), Clarke, Goodway, Lindner, Tupaea (Kerry, 78), Kuiti.

Widnes: Spruce; Elia, Hammond, Ruane, Myers; Tyrer (Wright, 63), Goulding;

Ireland, McCurrie, Makin (Koloto, 17), Faimalo, Russell (Makin, 43), D Hulme.

Referee: I Ollerton (Wigan).