Matt Smith rescued a dramatic 2-2 draw for Oldham against Everton at Boundary Park to earn an FA Cup fifth round replay.
The 6ft 6in striker, who produced an all-action display to score twice in Latics’ round four triumph over Liverpool, was at it again with a towering header deep in stoppage time having stepped off the bench just after the hour mark.
Jordan Obita gave the League One strugglers the lead but the 2009 FA Cup runners-up and last season’s semi-finalists struck back thanks to goals from Victor Anichebe and Phil Jagielka before Smith’s late intervention.
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The home side started on the front foot and stunned their opponents by taking the lead after 13 minutes. Lee Croft made the initial break down the right after a poor challenge by Leon Osman before his low measured ball into the box was slotted into the back of the net by on-loan Reading midfielder Obita.
However, Everton struck back 11 minutes later as Anichebe cleverly collected Nikica Jelavic’s knock down by nudging Jean Yves Mvoto off the ball and smashing his shot beyond Dean Bouzanis.
Moments later, the Latics came close to restoring their lead when the lively Obita saw his effort narrowly tipped on to the far post by Tim Howard.
The Toffees went ahead three minutes after the interval thanks to a rare goal from Jagielka. Kevin Mirallas’ corner kick was headed home from close range by the England defender after some poor defending by Lee Barnard and a woeful attempt at a punch by goalkeeper Bouzanis.
Everton were intent on driving home their advantage and some deft interplay between Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini saw the former bring Bouzanis into the action once more.
Another Mirallas corner had Oldham in trouble before the hour, arching past the massed ranks at the near post and narrowly evading Leon Osman.
Caretaker manager Tony Philliskirk then sent on the 23-year-old Manchester University business management graduate Smith onto the field.
In the 89th minute Robbie Simpson had a glorious chance to earn a replay as he shrugged off the attentions of Phil Neville to collect James Tarkowski’s wonderfully-weighted lofted pass, but Howard stopped a shot that lacked purchase before seeing the rebound lashed into the side netting.
However, Smith had the last laugh as he sent the home fans into ecstasy after climbing above his own goalkeeper in the visitors’ box to head Jonathan Grounds’ corner in the fourth and final frantic minute of stoppage time.
1st Half Goals
Shots on Target
Shots off Target
1st Half Poss.
2nd Half Poss.
The Bees suffered an early setback through Michael Rankine’s opener, although David Stephens may have got the final touch to turn the ball into his own goal, but strikes from Andy Yiadom and Jake Hyde sealed the win that moved them two points clear of the drop zone and into 20th place in the table.
“I’m very pleased, sometimes you have to win ugly,” said Davids.
“We started off not very sharp and after that we controlled the game. Second half we didn’t control the game but we showed character and sometimes when you don’t have the ability to play the ball, like we did the last three games, then you have to switch to another mode and luckily we did.
“They started off very well and we got punished. The pitch was slippery and wobbly but they had the same problems so there is no excuse from either team.
“The goal before half-time was very important. If not then they would have had more confidence and they can rest and you have to go bomb on forward looking for the goal. With the goal we had an equal opportunity and luckily we got the win. I’m very happy the spirit is like this at the moment.”