Wednesday 08 May 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
One of the greatest escape stories in Premier League history was played out in the very first season of the competition when Oldham Athletic stayed up by the narrowest of margins.
With three matches of the season left, Oldham were in real trouble: second from bottom, eight points behind Crystal Palace despite recent victories over Manchester United and Wimbledon.
But Athletic began to find form just at the right time and defeated Aston Villa and Liverpool while Palace slipped up with a 0-0 draw at Manchester City. It left Oldham needing victory against Southampton to have any hope of staying up, while hoping that one of Palace, Ipswich Town or Sheffield United would lose.
The scene was set for a thrilling final day.
Oldham looked as if they would comfortably fulfil their side of the bargain as they took a 4-1 lead over Saints with goals from Neil Pointon, Ian Olney, Andy Ritchie and Gunnar Halle.
At Highbury, meanwhile, Arsenal were cruising to victory over Crystal Palace, leaving Steve Coppell’s men in serious trouble.
But nerves started to jangle back at Boundary Park as Matt Le Tissier completed his hat-trick to make the score 4-3 with only five minutes to go. Oldham, however, were able to hang on for a victory that secured their Barclays Premier League survival on goal difference.