LEYTON ORIENT 3, OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0
It was very much a tale of woe for promotion-chasing Latics following their defeat at lowly Leyton Orient in Sky Bet League One.
If the defeat was not hard enough to swallow, the two serious injuries sustained made it an even more unpalatable loss as the Londoners recorded only their third home league victory of a wretched season.
George Elokobi and Joseph Mills both sustained hamstring injuries which are likely to keep them on the sidelines for six weeks.
Latics had been looking for a win which would have enhanced their prospects of a top-six finish. And manager Lee Johnson heeded his pre-match comments by fielding an attacking line up.
If anything, it was too offensive as there was a front three of top scorer Jonathan Forte, Dominic Poleon and Rhys Turner while Danny Philliskirk, another attack-minded player was in midfield so they effectively had four forwards on the field.
Johnson’s hand was forced somewhat in midfield, though, by the absence of Mike Jones through illness on an afternoon when they slipped to ninth place.
Latics could not have made a much worse start falling behind in the third minute when Romain Vincelot released Andrea Dossena as the former Liverpool man fired the O’s ahead.
Johnson’s players responded positively but, for all their possession, could not muster a route to goal as the hosts defended determinedly.
Little over quarter of an hour had been played when Elokobi limped off to be replaced by Genseric Kusunga.
The O’s doubled their lead midway through the half when Jobi McAnuff was hauled down in the box by Liam Kelly and David Mooney stepped up to score from the spot.
Latics saw plenty of the ball, but the O’s were always a threat on the counter attack.
The best chance of the half for Latics came from 19-year-old Rhys Turner who volleyed over at the far post when well placed to score.
Latics had to make another change at the restart when Mills failed to reappear as Connor Brown made his bow.
There was a bright start to the second half in which Philliskirk and Carl Winchester both had good chances to cut the deficit.
Latics made their last change just short of the hour as Rhys Murphy replaced Turner and he almost immediately won a penalty when he was bundled over by Mathieu Baudry. Forte’s spot kick was parried by former keeper Alex Cisak and Liam Kelly’s follow-up shot struck the crossbar.
You had the feeling at that point that it was not going to be Latics’ day no matter what they attempted.
Forte had a chance to atone for his penalty miss minutes later, but dragged his shot narrowly wide.
Latics put together a number of good attacking moves, but a finish was lacking as they eventually ran out of ideas.
And to add insult to injury, the O made it 3-0 in stoppage time when substitute Jay Simpson beat keeper Jake Kean with a clinical finish which Latics lacked.