OLDHAM ATHLETIC 3, NOTTS COUNTY 0
Oldham Athletic moved back into the top half of Sky Bet League One following their first home win since early November.
Goals from George Elokobi, Amari Morgan-Smith and Jonathan Forte saw off Notts County as Latics find themselves 10th and only two points adrift of the play-off spots.
Latics, who had new loan signing Jake Keen making his debut in goal, ought to have taken an early lead, but Dominic Poleon blazed over as they made a bright start.
County gradually began to get a toe hold in the game and Will Hayhurst’s free kick was athletically turned over the bar by Kean to keep it goalless.
Latics took the lead on the half hour through birthday boy Elokobi who has suddenly found a Midas touch in front of goal.
After scoring only four league goals in 10 years before joining Latics, he has now found the net in each of the last three home games, this time a header from Liam Kelly’s cross.
And Latics doubled their advantage two minutes later when Carl Winchester’s brilliant through ball was latched on to by Morgan-Smith who steered a shot low past keeper Roy Carroll.
Morgan-Smith was forced off through injury just before the break as top scorer Forte, returning after a lay off, made his entrance.
Latics had to weather a County onslaught just before the break, but their defence held firm as they ended 2-0 ahead.
And the visitors started the second half strongly as Haydn Hollis could not not direct his header on target.
Poleon had a couple of chances to add a third goal, but each time was unable to find a way past Carroll who also pulled off a great save to deny Northern Ireland international team-mate Winchester.
Forte was denied his 14th goal of the season when an acrobatic overhead kick struck the crossbar. Danny Philliskirk then forced another good save from Carroll and Forte volleyed wide as Latics were well on top.
They eventually made their pressure count with 17 minutes left when they added a third goal when Connor Brown’s cross was headed home by Forte who finally moved off 13 goals.
And they could well have increased their tally late on as it proved a fruitful afternoon and reward for the heroic efforts of the groundstaff and volunteers to clear snow from the pitch and to make it playable.