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Heroes all as mighty Liverpool felled

Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date online: 28 January 2013

Athletic 3, Liverpool 2

DOES it get any better than this?
Smashing three goals past the seven-times FA Cup winners, at a packed-out Boundary Park, to make it into the fifth round. It’s the essence of dreams.

Scorers Matt Smith and Reece Wabara have entered Athletic folklore. They helped beat the club who have been champions of Europe five times. The famous Anfield club once managed by Bill Shankly, who have a living legend in their ranks in Steven Gerrard. A club supported by millions around the globe.

Athletic earned their passage through a performance brimming with passion. Nobody present will ever forget the moment the final whistle was blown by referee Lee Probert, signalling a pitch invasion.

Smith had never before scored on home soil for Athletic. What a day to get up and running.

When he woke yesterday morning, the player once released as a teenager by Cheltenham Town can't possibly have envisioned turning Liverpool centre-back Sebastian Coates into a quivering wreck.

Smith, who netted twice on an unforgettable early evening at a packed-out Boundary Park, was described as "unplayable" by his manager Paul Dickov. That might be a slight but understandable exaggeration.

But as he leapt to win every header — including the one for the opening goal two minutes in, dominating Coates in the air — Liverpool's defence rocked, rolled and fell apart.

Some of the visitors' hapless players, notably error-prone goalkeeper Brad Jones, have plenty of explaining to do to their manager.

Luis Suarez equalised after a slaloming run and shot through Dean Bouzanis.

But after Smith had tapped home his second, just before half-time, Wabara nodded a third and even Joe Allen's deflected volley wasn't enough to stop the biggest result for Athletic since city neighbours Everton were dispatched thanks to Gary McDonald's rocket at Goodison Park five years ago.

Athletic, 19th in the division and only a point clear of the drop zone, went ahead when Mchangama rescued a scuffed Lee Croft shot to fire in a centre which Smith headed powerfully into the turf and beyond Jones.

The touch paper was lit. Boundary Park exploded with a huge roar.

The equaliser could have pricked the bubble. But Dickov's men refused to go into their collective shell.

As the first half drew to a close, Athletic retook the lead. Smith had forced Jones to tip over the bar before he profited from a goalkeeping error.

Wabara's cross from the right looked innocuous but the ball bounced off the 'keeper's chest and out to Croft. His dug-out cross-shot was turned by Smith into an empty net.

After Wabara's superb header from Carl Winchester's cross put Athletic 3-1 up, torrential rain fell and the twin introduction of Gerrard and Stewart Downing turned up the heat.

Athletic were understandably nervy and Joe Allen reduced Liverpool's deficit to one by connecting sweetly with a volley which was deflected past Bouzanis.

And after Gerrard had shaken the crossbar, Athletic had six minutes of additional time to negotiate.

Manfully, magnificently, they managed it.

What a day!



In tonight’s paper: special 12-page victory supplement with masses of stories player comments and pictures. Also available in the eChron (click tab above)

Comments

Great, gutsy performance.

Before hand I think we all thought this was going to be a walk in the park for Liverpool,but boy were we proved wrong.Amazing performance by all involved,Coates and Skrtel could not handle Smith,Winchester,Wes proved his quality against 50million+ worth of midfield talent to name a few.Liverpool just were not upto the battle,spent more time crying to the premier league referee and we just got on with it and played.Got to now push on,play to the strengths of Smith and climb up the league...

what a atmosphere all 3 stands singing oh when the blues,i cant remember the crowd like that in years.7000 latics in heaven. the last 6 minutes was hell. when the rain came down i had a feeling we could hang on even under gerrards onslaught.league form must pick up now surely.
one question i thought the cappacity was 10600 if it sold out why 400 short?
bring the good times back and the fans will turn up. finish the season on a high and buy those cheap season tickets that are rumoured about

Pure magic! But it will all count for nothing unless we climb the table. PD the pressure's on.

Wonderful team work and effort by the players, which makes it more infuriating why they cannot play like this in the league. Taking nothing from the performance but Liverpool did rest main players, but the players they played are a cut above those of Latics and for the whole we hustled them off the park but for 20 mins in the second half. Well Done!, and lets see a improvement for the Walsall match!.

Congrats to the team for winning. Why cant we play like this week in week out i say to the players to treat each game as a cup match you will pull though

Yes, it does get better than this when you bang 3pts a week for the next few weeks. Come on PD and Co, you can see the side you want to send out. Get Smith to think he's playing Liverpool every week - signs of Jim Fryatt there! - and get climbing that league!!

What a win - and what a disappointment (thank goodness!) Liverpool were. Sturridge was a diving moaning embarrassment. Okay Grounds went through him just prior to our 2nd goal but a Liverpool defender did exactly the same to Simpson prior to Suarez goal - equal.
Latics were not lucky and fully deserved their win. Lets hope Everton are equally weak-willed.

Great game and result....they worked really hard for one another and played Liverpool off the park.
Why can't they do this in the league?.....I just can't understand why for the life of me.

What a fantastic day for Oldham Athletic Football Club. The huge amount of positive publicity that will now continue for the next 3 weeks should not be wasted. The home support were superb, all of them. It is hoped that the none-regulars can now see their way to putting in a few shifts to help the club in what has now turned into a relegation scrap.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Jimmy Tarbuck, Ricky Tomlinson, Derek Hatton, Kim Cattrall, DJ Spoony, John Peel, we have beaten them all, we have beaten them all ... Cilla Black, can you hear me? Cilla Black ... YOUR BOYS TOOK ONE HELL OF A BEATING!!!!!!!

With apologies to and fond memories of Bjørge Lillelien of the Norwegian Broadcasting Company ...

Anyone who was lucky enough to be at Boundary Park on Sunday will never forget it. Players who previously had looked short of confidence, technically dodgy and lacking in passion were transformed into a team that Shanks would have been proud of. And what a reaction from the Latics fans; and did ever old Boundary Park look so splendid - how many other grounds have a water feature? How proud did we all feel when the referee blew his whistle at the end and I still felt the same when I woke up today

What a stunning victory for the Latics! We need to apply the same gutsy determination now to get us back up the league and away from relegation. Bring on the Toffees!

days like that make you remember why we support latics through all the many bad days that we have had over the years

 

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