Match report – Oldham v Workington

Date published: Tuesday, April 6, 2010

OLDHAM 16 WORKINGTON TOWN 14

THE contrasting fortunes of goalkickers Matty Ashe and Scott Kaighan were to prove decisive at Sedgley Park on Easter Monday as backs-to-the-wall Oldham made it four league wins from four outings.

Playing their second game in three days against a Town side that had enjoyed a day off on Good Friday, Roughyeds were up against it in the second half when they conceded three tries and managed only one themselves.

Fortunately, they had opened up at a rapid pace to score twice in the first 12 minutes and in the final reckoning those early touchdowns by Lucas Onyango and Mick Fogerty, coupled with two conversions by Ashe and a second Fogerty try were enough to see Tony Benson’s boys home — just!

While Ashe managed two conversions from three attempts, Town’s Kaighan landed only one from three.

And while the visiting marksman pulled one relatively easy conversion wide of the near upright in the 63rd minute and then made a poor attempt to improve Neil Frazer’s 78th minute try in the corner, Ashe kicked a cracker off the touchline — and into the teeth of a strong wind — to add to Fogerty’s second try at a time when many pundits might have fancied the Cumbrians to edge it.

The Kiwi’s low-trajectory kick appeared to play tricks in the wind before just creeping over the crossbar.

As events turned out it was the decisive moment of a game in which Oldham had to burn up all their reserves of guts and honest endeavour just to live with the Cumbrians in a second half that was littered with Roughyeds mistakes.

After a tough and physically demanding game at Rochdale on Good Friday, Roughyeds clearly suffered from the fatigue factor. But the more errors they made the more determined they were to make amends with a rearguard action that owed much to the willingness of the players to stretch every sinew and strain every muscle for the collective needs of the team.

In the opening minutes there was never a hint that the game was going to turn out the way it did.

A huge Martin Roden tackle on Kris Coward forced a Town error and from the scrum in midfield Ashe’s long cut-out pass to Marcus St Hilaire paved the way for ‘Junior’ to turn Lucas Onyango inside and through a gap to the line for the opening try in the fourth minute.

There was a bizarre moment soon afterwards when Town stand-off Liam Finch was sin-binned following an incident in which Finch had apparently bumped into referee Tim Roby accidentally.

While he was off the field Roughyeds went in for their second try. Pressure paid off when Martin Roden found Fogerty with a flat ball close to the Town line and the centre swivelled out of a two-man challenge to cross the line for a try which Ashe converted.

A Neil Roden 40-20 enabled Oldham to keep up the momentum, but Town survived when Joe Chandler was held up over the line and that was the closest the home side was to come to increasing its 10-0 lead.

Roughyeds turned round for the second half to face a strong wind and it remained to be seen whether ten points would be enough.

A series of handling mistakes which included two by Wayne Kerr, another by Mark Brocklehurst and a fourth — the worst of the lot — when Roughyeds fluffed their own restart tap on the 20-metre line served only to put the home side under intense pressure.

Town enjoyed most of the possession and good field position in this period and it produced its rewards when Kaighan crossed for a try which he converted himself from under the posts before Mike Whitehead scored another only three minutes later.

Having pulled back to 10-10 Town must have been fancying their chances, but Roughyeds somehow wrested the ball back from the restart kick and that was to lead to a period of Oldham pressure which finally led to the all-important try by Fogerty.

Ben Heaton made a telling half break, then Dave Ellison took play deep into the Town red zone with a powerful drive before a quick play-the-ball enabled Neil Roden to grubber kick the ball into the large in-goal area for Fogerty to win the touchdown race.

Ashe’s conversion was badly needed, but there was still time for narrow escapes at both ends.

A fantastic piece of Oldham scrambling defence prevented a Town try out wide down the Roughyeds’ left side.

When the home side took play to the other end, Paul O’Connor was judged to have infringed in the act of touching down.

It had appeared that Oldham were setting up for a one-point winner before O’Connor went desperately close.

Refusing to admit defeat, Town again launched a telling attack. With nothing to lose they threw caution to the wind to get winger Neil Frazer over in the corner. It needed a conversion to force a draw but Kaighan was unable to oblige . . . and Oldham’s hugely spirited rearguard action was rewarded with another win.

Once again teamwork and determination in the face of adversity had carried Oldham home.

Scorers: Oldham — goals,Ashe (2); tries, Onyango, Fogerty (2); Workington — goal, Kaighan; tries, Kaighan, Whithead, Frazer.

Oldham: O’Connor; Onyango, St Hilaire,Fogerty, Brocklehurst; N Roden, Ashe; Boults, M Roden,Ellison,Heaton, Chandler, Bentley. Subs: Kerr, Robinson, Reilly, Sutton.

Workington: Carter; Backhouse, Beattie, Low, Frazer; Finch, Kaighan; Dutton, Pedley, Coward, Whitehead, McKenna, Coupar. Subs: Marshall, Wilson, McGoff, Butler.

Referee: Mr T Roby; Att: 658.