Oldham Athletic 1 Manchester City 0

Last updated : 08 January 2005 By Dave Moore
The Latics overcame all the odds, in front of a packed Boundary Park and millions watching worldwide, to beat Premiership Manchester City in a pulsating FA Cup Third Round Tie. City had not lost to lower league opposition since 1944 and, with the Premiership side sitting 50 league places above the Latics, it was a memorable occasion. City had just drawn with Arsenal and are the only team to have beaten Chelsea this season which makes the win even more special.

The Latics went all out attack from the start and the early pressure was on City. The Latics got a right wing corner in the 4th. minute and David Eyres curled the ball directly into the net for what looked like a deserved opening goal. However, the referee had other ideas and gave a free kick to City believing that John Eyre had impeded David James in the City goal. If he watches the replay on TV he might just feel a pang of conscience and wonder why he disappointed the home fans so much so early on in the game.

The Latics took the decision in their stride and continued to pressure the Sky Blues and their patience paid off in the 15th. minute when Scott Vernon (pictured) deservedly gave them the lead, a goal that the referee could not dispute. It came after a right wing ball fell nicely to Eyres in the left of the penalty box. Eyres whipped over an inviting cross which Vernon only had to sidefoot past James. Boundary Park erupted!

Two minutes later Eyre caused James some problems with a tempting cross and then in the 19th. minute another good run by Eyre won Athletic a corner. As the half hour mark approached it was remarkable stuff from the Latics who were not a bit overawed as they were giving better than they were getting. Another left side corner again caused problems in the City defence and in the 36th. minute Vernon should have made it 2-0 to the home side when he shot from 6 yards out.

The first real effort from City came five minutes from the half time whistle when Bradley Wright-Phillips, brother of Shaun, shot was deflected over for a corner. The dark clouds were gathering over Boundary Park, the weather was poor with sleet pouring down, but City must have thought that the dark clouds were gathering just over them as they were being pressed all the way by a rampant Latics team.

A sustained spell of pressure came from City just before the break but Les Pogliacomi was in devastating form. He made a triple save before Eyres headed off the line and then Eyre deflected an effort for a corner. The Latics defence were in no mood to concede anything and the lead stayed at 1-0 when the teams left for half time.

Kevin Betsy should have increased the score just two minutes into the second half when he was put away one on one with James but his lob unfortunately went just over the bar instead of just under. The miss could have proved costly as City were going at the game like a bull in a rodeo. Five minutes into the half Pogliacomi made a great save from Sibierski when his left leg deflected a shot for a corner. City were having a purple patch and were creating good scoring chances but the Latics defence held firm.

Eyre relieved a bit of the pressure in the 77th. minute when he shot just wide in a rare bit of possession for the home side. Then a minute later Poggsy had to be alert as he dived to his left to produce a stunning save to deprive Shaun Wright-Phillips a goal. With 10 minutes left a good left wing move resulted in Griffin centering the ball but it hit the side netting.

From then onwards it was a backs-to-the-wall performance with every player doing his bit to nullify anything that Kevin Keegan’s men could throw at them. And do it they did, to record a victory that will remain in the memory of Oldham fans for a long, long time. The draw for the Fourth Round takes place on Monday. Let’s hope it’s another Premiership team at home.