Kusunga clanger costs Old­ham

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP SECOND RND - By David Menon

OLD­HAM man­ager Lee John­son claims his side were “bit­ten on the back­side” after Genseric Kusunga’s last-gasp own goal handed Don­caster a route into the FA Cup third round.

Chances were few and far be­tween in a largely for­get­table af­fair as Don­caster boss Paul Dickov tri­umphed on his first visit to for­mer club Old­ham since his de­par­ture in Jan­uary 2013.

Af­ter­wards, a frus­trated John­son said:“I’m very dis­ap­pointed to be out of the cup. We saw it as an op­por­tu­nity to im­press in front of the home fans after a good win.

“It just goes to show you that foot­ball – the minute you think you’ve cracked it – turns out to bite you in the back­side. I think our play­ers went out there and didn’t per­form as they could do.

“Our play­ers should be good enough to com­pete. I thought we did com­pete but both teams can­celled each other out and then we got caught out and ended up on the re­ceiv­ing end of a smash-and­grab loss.The cup was im­por­tant to us and we failed.”

Dickov led Old­ham to a mem­o­rable 3-2 vic­tory over Liver­pool in the fourth round shortly be­fore re­lieved of his du­ties at Bound­ary Park.

And fol­low­ing Don­caster’s mar­ginal win, Dickov is look­ing for­ward to another money-spin­ning tie with Rovers.

When asked which team he would like to face in the third round, Dickov said: “It doesn’t mat­ter. I’ve been lucky enough as a man­ager to play Liver­pool twice. We’re in the hat and we can sit back and en­joy the draw. A club close to here would suit me best.”

On the match, Dickov added: “We knew they were go­ing to have pos­ses­sion. For all of their pos­ses­sion in the sec­ond half, they never cre­ated any­thing and I was de­lighted.

“In the last three or four games, we’ve played a lot bet­ter foot­ball. We looked strong de­fen­sively and Sam Johnstone made a cou­ple of fan­tas­tic saves.”

Vis­i­tors Don­caster almost broke the dead­lock on 33 min­utes as Richie Wel­lens struck a close-range ef­fort straight at Paddy Kenny.

The first half fi­nally livened up in the clos­ing stages. Old­ham spurned two ex­cel­lent chances in the space of a minute as striker Jonathan Forte was bril­liantly de­nied by the feet of goal­keeper Johnstone be­fore Jabo Ibehre fired over with the goal gap­ing.

The hosts con­tin­ued to probe for­ward with striker Forte beat­ing his man on the left-hand side be­fore smash­ing a pow­er­ful ef­fort into the side net­ting.

But it was Don­caster who turned the screw.With just seven min­utes left, striker Theo Robin­son saw a ven­omous left-footed strike su­perbly palmed away by Kenny.

And the sucker punch soon ar­rived. After Don­caster full-back Enda Stevens crossed low from the left, there was a mix-up be­tween goal­keeper Kenny and Kusunga.

Kusunga’s ini­tial clear­ance rolled ag­o­nis­ingly to­wards the line with the cen­tre-back nar­rowly fail­ing to keep the ball out with his sec­ond touch.

Old­ham re­sponded well to the set­back and almost lev­eled in­stantly as Forte’s goal-bound ef­fort was su­perbly par­ried away by the ex­cel­lent Johnstone while cap­tain Liam Kelly struck the top of the cross­bar in in­jury time with an au­da­cious long-range ef­fort.

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

CALAMITY: Genseric Kusunga’s mis-hit clear­ance rolls over the goal-line

LUKE McCUL­LOUGH

Forte SMASH: Old­ham’s Jonathan

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