REPORT FROM SPORT FIRST
HALL'S A PENALTY SAVIOUR
Fitz Hall kept his head when all around were losing theirs as Oldham maintained their amazing unbeaten away record against struggling Mansfield.
Referee Paul Taylor grabbed the limelight with eight yellow cards, three red cards, and a host of controversial decisions.
But it was Hall who stepped up to take an 88th-minute penalty and coolly sent Keith Welch the wrong way after Liam Lawrence had brought down Wayne Andrews.
Whether Andrews should have been on the field at that stage is debatable after he escaped even a yellow card when he appeared to aim a kick at the grounded Ben Doane just before half time and provoked a confrontation between both sets of players.
David Eyres was the first to see a straight red on 34 minutes after a tangle with Craig Disley though the Mansfield man backed Eyres protest of innocence.
Rhys Day, already booked, was also shown a straight red after 56 minutes for a challenge on Anthony Carss which also seemed harsh.
And in stoppage time, Mansfield's player-manager Keith Curle also saw a straight red for his first real foul of the game, wide on the touchline which possibly only merited a yellow.
“Everyone here could see what happened and I won't comment any more than that” said Mansfield's assistant manager John Gannon.
“Their lad got sent off for nothing more than a tangle of legs and that started a rollercoaster of events. Rhys Day did nothing more than attacked the ball and for Keith Curle's red card I thought you had to be through on goal to get an immediate red so what happened to his yellow card before that?”
“It hurts a great deal to lose more points to another late goal, but I don't think we had much luck. Oldham are dogged and have a hell of a record so hats off to them. They are in the top four, but we pinned them back and caused them problems which is encouraging.”
“We had a hell of a go at them, but again we've come out of it with nothing. I know games are running out but there are points to be won.”
Clyde Wijnhard who scored four times in Oldham's 6-1 drubbing of Mansfield in September, made a surprise return after a 13 match injury lay-off and twice came close, lobbing just over early in the game and forcing Welch down to his right to keep out a low free kick.
But there were few real chances in a frantic game which was scrappy, but never dirty enough to warrant so many cards.
Mansfield came closest when Iyseden Christie and Junior Mendes both missed close range chances. Lee Williamson forced Leslie Pogliacomi to save a 20 yard rocket and the keeper also spared Dave Beharall's blushes when he almost diverted the ball into his own net.
“The game was not a great spectacle, but we defended with resilience,” said Oldham boss Iain Dowie.
“We are built on resilience. Neither side played any flowing football, but I thought we always looked like snatching it when both sides went down to 10 men. It was a pressure penalty and both our penalty takers had gone off. But Fitz is a colossus. He strolled up and just put it in the corner.”
transcribed by Carole
Latest | March 2003