Scunthorpe United v Oldham

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Football League One

Scunthorpe United1 (0)Oldham1 (0)

Gregan 54(og)

McDonald 90

Scunthorpe United :
Murphy, Hinds (Byrne 46(sent off 90)), Crosby, Foster, Williams, Taylor (sent off 64), Goodwin, Baraclough, Morris (Butler 66), Sharp (Talbot 73), Keogh
Subs not used:
Lillis, MacKenzie

Oldham :
Pogliacomi, Eardley (Hall 66), Haining, Gregan, Charlton, Liddell, Wellens, McDonald, Taylor (Edwards 88), Porter, Warne (Rocastle 88)
Subs not used:
Smith, Stam


by Andy Skeels at Glanford Park

TROOPING out of Boundary Park on September 9, who could possibly have thought that when the teams met again four months later, it would be a first v second top-of-the-table clash in front of a near 8,000-crowd at Glanford Park?

With both teams in the bottom half-dozen after six games, and the Iron going down 1-0 in a scrappy affair over in Lancashire, there was little to suggest that sunny afternoon that we’d be watching a real promotion six-pointer next time we met up.

And what an extraordinary game the division’s two form teams served up, albeit largely assisted, it has to be said, by referee Darren Deadman.

Taking incompetence to greater heights, the Cambridgeshire official was churning out cards faster than Clintons as United disappeared under an avalanche of yellows and reds.

Seven home players saw yellow and two, Cliff Byrne and Cleveland Taylor, were shown the red card within four minutes of each other early in the second-half.

While TV replays appeared to support Deadman’s decisions in each case, it was his inconsistency throughout which wrecked the game as a contest. Players booked for kicking the ball away; others blatantly committing the same offence but escaping unpunished. Cleveland Taylor fouled by Oldham’s Chris Taylor – nothing; Byrne immediately fouls the visiting winger – red card.

But even the dismal Deadman’s dreadful performance shouldn’t disguise a poor United display, from which we were lucky to escape with a point even allowing for Oldham’s equaliser four-and-a-half minutes into stoppage time.

The visitors completely dominated the opening 45 minutes as United were outclassed. After the break, a livelier-looking Iron side caught a break as Oldham’s Sean Gregan headed an Ian Morris cross into his own net to give us an unlikely, and undeserved lead.

But before we’d had time to build up any momentum, the hasty departures of Byrne and Taylor led to a last half-hour the like of which few fans can ever have seen before.

Down to nine men, Nigel Adkins sacrificed Morris for defender Any Butler and turned to a 4-4-0 formation in a desperate attempt to hold onto the one-goal lead.

It looked a forlorn hope but as the clock ticked down, and United continued to thwart the Oldham onslaught, the unlikeliest of home wins began to appear a possibility.

To say it was one-way traffic is an understatement. There were long spells when no United player even attempted to go into the Oldham half of the field, and when the Iron got a goalkick – which was quite often in the circumstances – Murphy kicked it as far as he could, while the outfield players waited for Oldham to fetch it back and launch another attack!

But gut-wrenchingly, and with the final whistle just 30 seconds away, an almighty goalmouth scramble – in which Murphy was felled twice by Oldham fouls which referee Deadman somehow ignored – resulted in Gary McDonald firing an equaliser into the bottom corner.

It was a dramatic end to a dramatic game. Can’t wait for Mr. Deadman’s next Glanford Park appearance…