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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 00:28 GMT
Rochdale 2-1 Oxford

Gavin Melaugh marked his permanent signing with Rochdale by scoring their winner against Oxford.

Midfielder Melaugh turned his loan move from Aston Villa into a full-time contract until the end of the season this week.

And he was on hand to secure Rochdale's first league win since mid-December with a late header.

Paul Simpson's side took a deserved lead after creating a hatful of chances in the first half.

Scott Warner laid the ball back to Michael Oliver, who picked his spot and rifled the ball into the top left-hand corner from 25 yards.

Oxford's best chance had fallen to Steve Basham whose deflected shot forced a smart save from keeper Neil Edwards.

But Dave Savage equalised after latching onto a wicked right-wing cross to knock it past Edwards and Rochdale looked to have missed out on a vital win.

That was until Melaugh's thumping header from Lee Hodges' cross.


Rochdale: Edwards, Evans, Griffiths, Grand, Warner, Simpson, Melaugh, Oliver, Hill, Platt, Connor. Subs: Gilks, Hodges, Doughty, McEvilly, Townson.

Oxford Utd: Woodman, Edwards, Bound, Crosby, McNiven, Savage, Hunt, Hunter, Robinson, Basham, Scott. Subs: Steele, Ford, Waterman, Oldfield, Louis.

Referee: M Pike (Cumbria)

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Rochdale boss Paul Simpson
"Absolutely delighted and thoroughly deserved"

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