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Oldham edge victory over Littleborough
Wednesday 7th November 2018 @ 09:54 by Mark Phillip


Oldham 24-19 Littleborough


Oldham were looking to bounce back from the disappointment of losing at Aldwinians a week earlier, but they came up against a Littleborough side which raced into a 10-0 lead.

The hosts responded well to the early set back and a shift in momentum occurred, as a penalty followed by a catch and drive at a lineout saw them execute a very impressive driving maul and Froggatt touched down near the corner flag. The conversion was missed but the deficit was reduced to 5-10.

Not for very long though as Littleborough took every opportunity to keep the scoreboard moving and landed two more penalties to make the half time score 5-16 and Oldham had a bit of a mountain to climb. Oldham had a penalty beneath the posts on the stroke of halftime but turned down the three points in favour of a scrum. They got a drive on but failed to control the ball which spilled out and the moment was lost.

The first 20 minutes of the second half were more or less a carbon copy of the first with Oldham dominating territory and possession without really looking as if they were capable of scoring. However, just when it looked as if it was going to be one of those days, Oldham got the break they were looking for when Littleborough were pinged for feeding at the scrum which gave Oldham an attacking platform in their 22. The Oldham eight saw a real chance to get them back in the game and put in a mighty effort to drive their opponents over the line and Brennan touched down for a pushover try. The conversion was missed but the score was now 10-16.

But Littleborough showed real resilience and slotted another penalty to increase their lead to 10-19 which meant that Oldham had to score twice in the final 15 minutes. They immediately went on the attack and had another attacking scrum in the 22. The forwards again got a decent nudge on and as they marched forward, the Oldham backs managed to stack on the short side and Littleborough for once failed to identify the mismatch. Brennan fed Mellor who found Charlie Roscoe in space and he strolled over the line and managed to touch down behind the posts. Littleborough were probably a bit lazy here as they made little effort to stop him from running behind the posts which gave McEwan an easy conversion to make the score 17-19.

Oldham were now very much in the ascendancy and Littleborough were once against defending deep in their own half. Some excellent interplay saw Oldham deep in the 22 and Watson gathered the ball about 5m from the line and was strong enough to force his way over between two defenders to secure a bonus point try.  McEwan’s excellent conversion from the touchline made the score 24-19 with about 10 minutes to play.

The clock was ticking down and all was going well until Oldham were penalised near their 22 for mouthing off. Further punishment ensued, as they were then marched back for another 30m for speaking out of turn and Captain Gaz Barber got a yellow card. So all of a sudden with six minutes left they were defending deep in their 22 with only 14 men. Despite a nervy ending, Oldham managed to resist a catch and drive and cleared their lines for an eventual 24-19 victory.