THE dismissal of on-loan full-back Tom Nisbet for a high tackle five minutes before half-time was decisive in a much-improved Oldham performance at York.

With the return of Danny Bridge, Liam KIrk and Tyler Dupree, and under the captaincy of Danny Langtree in the absence of Gareth Owen and Lewis Charnock, Roughyeds were far more energetic, and played with loads more self-belief and determination than they did in the 68-0 rout at Featherstone.

The score did not reflect anything like the amount of stiff resistance and stubborn refusal to buckle under pressure that the visitors put into this third loss in a row.

Of those three defeats, by Whitehaven, Featherstone and York, this was easily the most acceptable.

Despite the absence of such influential players as Charnock and club captain Owen; and with Nisbet and replacement hooker Jamie Abram on debut, Oldham were very much in the game, and looking good, until they were reduced to 12 men with Nisbet's sending off.

The score was 6-6 then and even when a man short they looked capable of taking something from this game until the middle of the second half.

In the last 20 minutes, fatigue set in; they began to make forced errors for the first time; and York finally gave their frustrated 1,000 fans -- a Covid-caused maximum crowd -- something to applaud, with four tries in 15 minutes.

Oldham's effort and determination couldn't be faulted, however, and one wonders how the second half might have turned out if Nisbet hadn't been sent off.

Up to his dismissal, the St Helens youngster had given an excellent performance, both in fielding high bombs, returning kicks and linking up with the outside backs on attack.

But he made the big mistake of going high on York centre Tyme Dow-Nikau in the run-up to half-time and referee Neil Bennett had no hesitation in signalling high tackle and then pointing Nisbet towards the tunnel.

With Nelmes, Langtree, Bent and subs Reilly, Fletcher and Dupree rolling up their sleeves and taking the game to the York pack, the visitors more than held their own up front in the first half.

Hewitt and Dan Abram moved the ball well at half-back and there were strong performances in the backs from Max Roberts at centre and Ryan Ince on the wing.

Big Danny Bridge was recalled after injury at right centre, rather than his normal second-row spot, no doubt to keep an eye on York's former Warrington ace Ryan Atkins.

It was Oldham winger Ince, however, who first came closest to scoring. He lunged for the corner in the 10th minute, but the touch-judge, rather belatedly, it has to be said, finally raised his flag as the match officials seemed to be pondering on whether it was a try or not.

A few minutes later, though, there was no denying burly Bridge, who crashed in for a try which Dan Abram improved.

A few minutes later, after a fortunate ricochet, Will Jubb scored for York and Dixon goaled off the touchline to level at 6-6.

The scores remained like that until well into the second-half, but the dismissal of Nisbet, at a time when Roughyeds were again attacking strongly, finally proved the decisive factor.

Their forwards eventually got the upper hand and paved the way for York's five second-half tries, but this was certainly a defeat, at the end of which Oldham could walk off with heads held high.