Liverpool toppled by Oldham
Oldham 3 Liverpool 2:Matt Smith chose the perfect occasion to score his first goals at Boundary Park as his first-half brace helped League One Oldham produce an FA Cup upset in beating Liverpool. The 23-year-old, who was playing non-league football 18 months ago, had the best day of his fragmented career after giving the Reds’ defence a torrid time.
He scored either side of Luis Suarez’s 21st of the season in the first half before Reece Wabara’s header put the Latics into the last 16 despite Joe Allen’s goal 11 minutes from time.
“I’m left speechless to be honest,” Smith told ITV. “We went out there just wanting to battle together.”
Smith added: “We did ever so well in the first half and especially in the second half. We rallied together and defended really well and thoroughly deserved the win.”
It was the first time Liverpool had been beaten away from home in the FA Cup by a team at least two divisions below them since defeat at non-league Worcester City in 1959.
Smith had given up on professional football after being released by Cheltenham aged 18 and went on to gain a degree in International Management with American Studies from the University of Manchester.
While studying he played for the likes of Redditch United, Droylsden and Solihull Moors — where he was spotted by Oldham.
Prior to this game he had scored only scored seven times in 60 appearances for the Latics but none will have been as enjoyable as his two in the first half against the seven-time FA Cup winners from the Barclays Premier League.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ decision to alter three of the back four among six changes proved calamitous as infrequent starter Sebastian Coates had a game to forget.
Oldham, with only one win in their last nine games, had beaten progressively higher-ranked opposition in Kidderminster, Doncaster and Nottingham Forest to reach the fourth round for the first time in five years. But it was not fate which got them through as the Latics’ no-nonsense, battling approach deservedly put them ahead.
Smith gave indication of his threat in just the third minute with the sort of goal you associate with a player of his physical stature.
Youssouf M’Changama swung over a cross from the left and the 23-year-old used every inch of his 6ft 6in frame to out-muscle Coates and head past Brad Jones.
The first half had an edge to it as Oldham, having taken one point from a possible 24 in the league, tried to close the gap of 56 places with endeavour and exuberance.