10-men Oldham Athletic managed to defy the odds by grinding out an unlikely win against high-flying Bolton Wanderers at Sportsdirect.com Park.
The early stages of the game were understandably tense due to the importance of this game to both teams with the Latics aiming to stay in the division and the Wanderers aiming for automatic promotion to the Sky Bet Championship.
After 19 minutes, the first real chance of the game arrived with March Sky Bet League One Player of the Month and Wanderers winger Filipe Morais cutting the ball back to Darren Pratley who blazed the ball well over the bear when well-placed inside the area.
Latics slowly grew into the game and good work down the right saw a ball whipped into the area but Ryan McLaughlin couldn’t react to steer home.
With both teams battling to try and retain any sort of possession on a difficult surface, the first-half saw no goals but with Bolton slightly in the ascendancy.
And it was the Wanderers who created a fantastic chance minutes into the second-half as the ball was played through to Morais but his hesitation allowed Latics ‘keeper Connor Ripley to charge out and block at his feet.
Latics carved out a couple of chances as Clarke’s shot was awkwardly parried out to Paul Green who fired into the hands of Wanderers ‘keeper Mark Howard and Brian Wilson met a Paul Green throw-in first time from 30 yards out but Howard saw it safely bounce wide.
Then, Latics’ striker Michael Ngoo, already on a yellow card, committed a late foul on a Wanderers defender and he gave referee Bankes no option but to show him a second yellow card and reduce the Latics to 10 men.
However, this seemed to give Oldham an unexpected boost as they carved out the best chance of the game as Lee Erwin found himself completely unmarked with only Howard to beat but he dragged a left-footed shot wide.
Latics didn’t live to regret that missed chance as minutes later they took the lead. Obadeyi’s cross was too hot to handle for Howard as he parried onto a back-tracking Spearing which saw the ball roll towards goal with Latics striker Erwin making sure on the line as he poked it home.
Bolton quickly responded as Dervite’s shot was brilliantly blocked off the line by McLaughlin.
Adam Le Fondre and Chris Long both saw shots come back off the bar as the game began to run away from the Wanderers.
Latics striker Tope Obadeyi almost sealed the win with seconds left but Howard denied him.
It didn’t matter though, as Oldham saw the game out to shock their visitors by claiming a 10 win completely against the odds.
This win provides a massive boost towards John Sheridan’s men’s hopes of staying in the division whereas Bolton’s hopes of automatic promotion have taken a huge shot.
Man of the Match – Jamie Stott