OLDHAM 2 LATICS 1 - EFL CUPJosh Law’s precise finish seven minutes from time sent ten-man Latics crashing out of the EFL Cup at the first round, in a game full of drama at Boundary Park.
Jake Buxton’s dismissal late in the first period meant Latics were forced to play the second half with ten men, but they matched their opponents throughout the tie, and were just edged out in a close fought affair.
Latics looked to be taking control of matters in the latter stages of the first half, after Will Grigg’s strike cancelled out Ryan Flynn’s excellent individual goal, but Buxton’s dismissal made things tough, and despite a spirited resistance, Oldham got the breakthrough late on to book their place in the second round.
Latics boss Gary Caldwell made six changes to the side which was narrowly beaten in the West Country on Saturday; with Jake Buxton, David Perkins, Max Power, Will Grigg and Stephen Warnock the remaining figures from that line-up.
Local boys Jordan Flores and Tim Chow were the headline names of the changes, adding a home-grown flavour to a strong-looking Latics side.
The squad also saw places on the bench for Josh Gregory and Danny O’Brien, for whom this was their first involvement in a competitive first team game for Latics.
Despite making several changes, Latics started brightly in an open contest, and had the first real opportunity on ten minutes, when Donervon Daniels headed Jacobs’ cross narrowly over on the ten minute mark.
Jacobs got the only goal in the friendly here two weeks ago, and was looking dangerous for his side, playing in an advanced role behind striker Will Grigg.
Oldham responded in a close beginning, and took the lead on the 18 minute mark with a brilliant individual goal from Ryan Flynn, who caught the eye for the opponents throughout.
The wide man picked up the ball on the left hand side, before weaving past several Latics defenders into the area, and coolly slotting the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Latics were undeterred by the goal, and responded with a flurry of long range efforts, with Max Power, Tim Chow and Jordan Flores all trying their luck within five minutes of the opener.
Caldwell’s men continued to press, and drew level on 34 minutes through Will Grigg, who proceeded to trend on Twitter in the aftermath.
The striker latched on to a corner from the right hand side, and blasted the ball into the bottom right hand corner past a helpless Connor Ripley.
Latics were buoyed by the goal, and Grigg twice went close to taking the lead before the end of the half, in a good spell for the visitors.
However, the game was again turned on its head seconds before the interval, when Jake Buxton was dismissed for what looked like a dangerous tackle, meaning Latics faced the prospect of playing the second half with ten men.
Caldwell shuffled his pack at the interval, putting Tim Chow and David Perkins at full-back, in a makeshift back four with Warnock and Daniels.
Latics were making the most of a difficult situation, and continued to threaten their opponents in a wide open contest.
Colclough was working hard to be an output going forward for his side, and he almost nosed his team in front six minutes into the second half, when glancing the ball wide of Ripley’s post after being released.
Ryan Flynn continued to be Oldham’s biggest threat though, and could have put his side in front two minutes later, when blasting the ball over after another mazy run into the penalty area.
The half continued to be wide open, and the visitors went agonisingly close to going in front on 66 minutes through captain Peter Clarke, who rose well to meet a corner, before just heading wide.
Latics’ numerical disadvantage meant they were only able to probe solely on the break; but they continued to look dangerous, with Jacobs going close on two occasions.
Oldham continued to search for a winner though, and got the breakthrough seven minutes from time through Josh Law, who broke down the right hand side and tucked the ball past Jaaskelainen from close range.
Gary Caldwell took action, bringing on Sam Cosgrorve and Danny O’Brien late on for their first team debuts, joining James Barrigan, who came on with 20 minutes to go.
Latics tried to find an opening, but Oldham held firm, to book their place in round two and condemn Wigan Athletic to an early exit.