OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0, PRESTON NORTH END 4
It was a horror debut for caretaker manager Dean Holden as Oldham Athletic were walloped 4-0 at home by Preston North End.
There was precious little joy for Latics who suffered a third successive defeat to slip five points adrift of the promotion play-off places.
Latics had a depleted line up with top scorer Jonathan Forte, Carl Winchester and Jacob Mellis all late withdrawals, each with hamstring strains.
They were so depleted that Latics had two trainees on the bench along with three first-year professionals.
The tale of woe started after 26 seconds when Paul Huntington gave Preston the lead heading home a Paul Gallagher corner.
Winger Chris Humphrey came close to doubling the lead after quarter of an hour when he struck the crossbar.
It was only a matter of time before the second goal was conceded and after 30 minutes it came from former Latics’ loanee Daniel Johnson with a well-executed finish.
Latics almost halved the deficit late in the half when Dominic Poleon set up Danny Philliskirk whose shot was deflected for a corner.
Youth-team player Devante Jacobs came on at half time in place of Brian Wilson who was forced off through illness.
Preston scored their third goal after 52 minutes when Joe Garner, lurking at the far post, to finish off a cross from Callum Robinson inside the six-yard box.
Poleon was Latics’ brightest player, though they struggled to carve out clear-cut chances, though they had a strong shout for a penalty rejected following a handball.
The four goal came with eight minutes left when substitute Jermaine Beckford found the net after being set up by Aston Villa loanee Robinson.