OLDHAM RUFC 15, FLEETWOOD 14
NEW coach Jimmy Forster made a winning start as Oldham RUFC snatched a dramatic 15-14 home win against Fleetwood on the opening day of their ADM Premiership campaign on Saturday (Sept 4).
It was Oldham’s return to competitive action after an 18-month break and they had former player and Moorside-based Forster at the helm.
Oldham started brightly and took an early lead when Ryan North sprinted on to a clever blindside kick to score in the corner.
The lead was increased when Liam Aspin raced in after good play by Josh Watson and Rob Froggatt and the conversion by Jordan McEwan gave Oldham a 12-0 lead which reflected their early superiority with North and Tom Hannon both making a massive impact after long periods out of the game.
Fleetwood, however, snatched a lifeline in the 40th minute when after some enterprising rugby and good support play saw Bobby Jones race over by the posts. The conversion was successful, and the deficit reduced to 12-7.
Fleetwood started the second half well and took the lead after 60 minutes when Jones finished off a splendid attack from broken play. The conversion was added, and Fleetwood were 14-12 ahead.
This spurred Oldham into action with forwards Dean McEwan, Nick Hackman and Jon Souter lifting their game and excellent kicking from Tom Davies provided a platform as they won a penalty which Jordan McEwan kicked to give Oldham a one-point advantage with 10 minutes to play.
Fleetwood camped on the Oldham line but led by some inspirational defence by captain Jack Taylor, they were kept at bay.
With less than a minute left, Fleetwood were awarded a penalty close to the touchline, but the kick just drifted agonisingly wide, and Oldham were both delighted and fortunate to secure a victory.
There was no shortage of effort and commitment from either side but, despite some standout individual performances, the game was littered with some poor decision- making and simple errors.
Forster was full of praise for his team’s efforts but admitted the project was definitely “work in progress”.