OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0, BARROW 3
Oldham Athletic, 3-0 down at home to Barrow with less than on hour played, proved the final straw for disgruntled fans on the day their team slumped to second bottom spot in Sky Bet League Two.
Supporters, angry at the club’s ownership, ran onto the pitch with some opting to sit in the centre circle before referee Carl Boyeson waved the players off with the game halted for three minutes as their campaign plunged into turmoil, both on and off the pitch.
It was not the first time they had protested against owner Abdallah Lemsagam with a previous pitch invasion having taken place with play also halted when tennis balls and a flare were thrown on to the playing surface.
Yet Latics went into the game in fine spirits after three wins in a week in three different competitions and confident that would act as a catalyst to climb the table.
Head coach Keith Curle made three changes handing starts to player-coach Alan Sheehan, Hallam Hope and Junior Luamba.
Mark Cooper’s men started the encounter on the front foot and should have taken the lead when Josh Gordon curled an effort just past the far post.
Latics applied pressure as Nicky Adams raced down the right before driving into the box and picking out Luamba, but the youngster failed to make contact to the frustration of fans.
Barrow broke the deadlock in the 15th minute. When debutant Jordan Stevens touched the ball to former Boundary Park player Ollie Banks who drilled home an angled strike from 22 yards before the Bluebirds’ captain reeled away in celebration in front of the home supporters.
Latics almost levelled on the half-hour when Jamie Bowden’s bullet header was superbly saved by Paul Farman after Dylan Fage picked out the Tottenham loanee.
Just before the break, Sheehan curled a free kick over the wall which looked bound for the top corner, but the Barrow ‘keeper, once again, superbly denied him.
The Bluebirds doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute as Zanzala dribbled into the box and skipped past a few defenders before he kept his composure to slot a shot into the far corner.
And it became even worse minutes later when Barrow made it three after Grayson delivered a free-kick from out wide and the defender’s set-piece managed to go past everyone before flying in at the far post.
After that, and the subsequent pitch invasion, Barrow held onto their lead comfortably, though Latics had a couple of late chances.
QPR loanee Faysal Bettache tried his luck from the edge of the box, but Farnam made a great low save as he pushed the shot around the past.
Following that, substitute Raphael Diarra dragged a low strike wide of the target as Barrow secured the three points.
Oldham Athletic: Leutwiler, Piergianni, Adams, Whelan (Keillor-Dunn 46), Hope, Fage, Jameson, Bowden, Bettache, Luamba (Vaughan 73), Sheehan (Diarra 58). Subs (not used): Danielewicz, Dearnley, Da Silva, Couto.
Goals: Banks,15, Zanzala, 53, Grayson, 58, for Barrow.
Attendance: 4,232 (474 visitors).