BRISTOL ROVERS 1, OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0
Oldham Athletic find themselves propping up Sky Bet League two after claiming an unwanted hat-trick.
The loss at Bristol Rovers was their third straight defeat after an awful start to the campaign.
Even Latics’ website described it as ‘a hugely disappointing 90 minutes for the visitors as they struggled for large parts and were unable to make a meaningful impression on the game’.
In a basement battle at the Memorial Ground between two winless teams, it was the Pirates who plundered the points thanks to a first-half goal from Harvey Saunders.
Saunders broke the deadlock in the 35th minute, powerfully heading home Harry Anderson’s left-wing cross, with the ball taking a deflection on its way in.
The strike ended an eight-match losing streak for Joey Barton’s men, stretching back to last season. But for Latics it meant bottom place in the table without a point from three games.
Head coach Keith Curle remained absent a week after receiving a positive Covid-19 test as his assistant Colin West was again in charge.
Latics were able to hand a first competitive start to Hallam Hope following his time on the sidelines due to the virus.
With Danny Roberts injured, Laurie Walker played in goal after re-joining the club on an emergency loan from MK Dons while Dylan Fage returned at wing-back.
Rovers could have been out of sight by the break. Luke Thomas was wide with two decent chances, while Aaron Collins had a shot blocked by Carl Piergianni and another saved by Walker.
Latics, who made a double substitution at half time and changed formation, improved after the break.
A free kick from Callum Whelan found Ousseynou Cisse at the far post but his shot was deflected wide while a header from Jacob Blyth went over the bar.
Substitute Nicky Adams wasted a good chance to equalise when firing high over the bar after 69 minutes after being set up by Hope.
Bahamboula also brought a save from James Belshaw in the closing stages but there way to be no way back for Latics who headed home empty handed.
Oldham Athletic: Walker, Clarke, Hart, Cisse, Piergianni, Whelan, Hope, Keillor-Dunn (Adams 65), Fage (Diarra 46), Stobbs (Blyth 46), Bahamboula. Subs (not used): Danielewicz, Luamba, Vaughan, Sheehan.
Goal: Saunders, 35, for Bristol Rovers.
Attendance: 6,005 (286 visitors).