George Blackwood scored his first goal for Harry Kewell’s Oldham Athletic in a dramatic win over high-flying Cheltenham Town in England’s League Two.
The Latics had gone a goal down but responded minutes later through ex-Adelaide United star Blackwood, before an 85th-minute winner sealed a third win of the season for the hosts.
Victory takes Oldham up to 19th in the standings – seven points above the relegation zone – while Cheltenham, sitting pretty in third place before the game, drops to sixth.
Kewell was full of praise for his side after the game, hailing their “hard work and concentration” in a “thoroughly deserved” victory.
A night of firsts
Blackwood, a two-time FFA Cup winner with Adelaide United, signed for Oldham in September and was handed the number seven shirt, but had failed to find the back of the net in his opening four league games for the club.
That changed in outing number five on Tuesday night UK time, as the forward opened his account to draw his side level.
Oldham had gone a goal behind after Reuben Reid’s 30th-minute strike. But four minutes later, Blackwood was in the right place at the right time, improvising with a flick of his right heel to tap home the rebound after goalkeeper Josh Griffiths parried Dylan Bahamboula’s shot.
The scores remained level until the final five minutes when teenager Harry Clarke poked home from a corner – in what was a club-first goal for him as well.
Ready for the fight
Manager Kewell heaped the praise on his players after the “fantastic win” over Cheltenham.
In an interview shared on the club’s official website after the game, he said: “We had a plan, and it was executed perfectly. But it involved hard work and concentration, and they did that tonight.
“We’ve played some pretty good games this year and have come off on the raw end of the deal but I felt we thoroughly deserved that result tonight.”
Last season Oldham finished 19th out of League Two’s 24 sides. Ex-Socceroo Kewell is under no illusions that the club is in for another fight this time around, but says it’s a fight his side is ready for.
“We do never give up,” he continued.
“We’re fighting and we know we’ve got to fight, and we know that every game there’s a possibility for us to win, lose or draw.
"But if we fight, and we work hard, and we concentrate and we’re disciplined and we stick to the game plan we’ll have a chance because you can see out there today they were excellent. They worked hard and they worked for each other.”
“My players are getting to that level of where I want them to be on the concentration level and the fitness level,” he added, “so I’m pleased.”