Goalscorers: Mark Robins 14, 27, 90, Graeme Sharp 25, Ian Marshall 43
Oldham Athletic: Jon Hallworth, Gunnar Halle, Richard Jobson, Neil Pointon, Steve Redmond, Paul Bernard, Nick Henry, Mike Milligan, Ian Marshall, Ian Olney (Neil Adams 58), Graeme Sharp
Norwich City: Bryan Gunn, Ian Butterworth, Mark Bowen, Ian Culverhouse, John Polston, Daryl Sutch, Ian Crook, David Phillips, Ruel Fox, Darren Beckford (Chris Sutton 88), Mark Robins
Referee: Robbie Hart, Attendance: 11,081
Oldham Athletic and Norwich City were two of the more unfashionable clubs in the Premier League’s very first season. However, both teams were a real credit to the league’s early inception, producing outstanding stories throughout the 1992-1993 campaign.
The sides met in early November 1992 and there was plenty of attention on Mike Walker’s Canaries. Results earlier in the weekend had taken Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table but Norwich knew victory at Boundary Park would take them back to the summit. Oldham though must have fancied their chances. Despite the visitors’ excellent attacking record, their defence was brittle and they’d conceded 11 goals on two recent painful away trips to Ewood Park and Anfield. The one certainly was a 0-0 scoreline was a very unlikely result here.
It was Norwich who struck first in an opening 45 minutes that saw the pendulum swing back and forwards. Ian Culverhouse produced a lovely ball after 14 minutes and summer arrival, Mark Robins was left completely unmarked in the penalty area to open the scoring. It was Robins first goal in seven matches and with the Canaries first serious attack, they were infront.
Norwich’s lead lasted just 11 minutes. Nick Henry delivered a ball into the box from the left-hand side. It was flicked on and Graeme Sharp reacted instantly, providing a predatory finish beyond Bryan Gunn to bring Oldham level. However, their parity didn’t last long. Two minutes later, Norwich were back infront.
Oldham’s high offside trap was brutally exposed by the pacey winger Ruel Fox. He produced the perfect first-time pass and with goalkeeper Jon Hallworth caught in no-man’s land and the defenders scrambling to get back, Robins had all the time in the world to convert his second goal of the evening. Two minutes before half-time, Oldham levelled the scores again. Auxiliary forward Ian Marshall was first to another flick-on and bravely beat an onrushing Gunn to the loose ball. There was a collision between the pair but Marshall got enough on his looping shot to find the back of the net.
The second half was a cagier affair and it looked like the points were going to be shared. Robins though would have the last laugh. In stoppage-time, he created some space for himself in the penalty area and his low shot found the bottom corner of Hallworth’s net to seal victory for Norwich and take them back to the top of the Premier League table. Discarded by Manchester United and Alex Ferguson, the forward was proving his valuable worth to the Norwich cause. He scored the club’s first Premier League hat-trick and only the second in the history of the league after Eric Cantona’s treble for Leeds United against Tottenham Hotspur back in August.
Norwich stayed top of the table for Christmas but their defensive issues would see them fade away slightly in the second half of the season. Nevertheless, the East Anglian side were a tremendous third in the final standings. Oldham scored plenty of goals throughout the campaign and won their final three matches to avoid the drop on the final day of the season.