NORTHAMPTON TOWN 2, OLDHAM ATHLETIC 1
Oldham Athletic’s Sky Bet League Two loss at Northampton Town proved to be the 40th and final game of head coach Keith Curle’s reign.
Curle’s departure following an eight-month stay was announced the following day with Latics lying in a precarious 22nd place and only two points clear of the relegation places.
Incredibly it is the ninth managerial change since Abdallah Lemsagan became owner in January 2018 with the average job expectancy 21.5 games per manager/head coach.
And with Curle’s number two Colin West also leaving, Selim Benachour steps up from the academy to become interim head coach.
It was a disappointing night at Sixfields where Northampton recorded their first win in six league and cup games, though they remain fourth in the table.
Latics had gone into the game in good spirits having beaten high-flying Port Vale three days earlier, their first win in eight competitive matches.
Curle’s side conceded two goals during a hugely disappointing opening 45 minutes but, despite a considerable improvement after the break, they were unable to repair the damage.
On the balance of play, the visitors will reflect that they should have taken something from the game, creating several chances once Carl Piergianni had reduced the deficit but, unlike against Port Vale on Saturday, they could not complete the turnaround.
about:blank Latics made three changes from Saturday, including a return to the midfield for Jamie Bowden after suspension.
The absence of Jordan Clarke due to concussion protocols led to a reshuffle at the back, Sam Hart moving into a three-man defence while Benny Couto and Dylan Fage were brought in at wing back.
Northampton started brightly and were ahead in the 14th minute.
Jon Guthrie capitalised on a slip in the Latics’ back-line after latching onto a pass from Kion Etete to slide the ball past goalkeeper Jayson Luetwiler.
Northampton continued to press and midway through the half, Etete also went close with a header.
Although the home side remained in control, the first half was one of little incident.
After a strong run down the right, Harrison McGahey picked out the run of Ouss Cisse from midfield but just as it looked like he would get his shot away, a deflection took his effort past the post.
With half-time approaching, the home side extended their lead, Etete breaking into the area to meet a sweeping left-wing cross from Koiki as the striker scored from a matter of yards.
More hesitancy allowing Hoskins to break into the area before he dragged a low shot across goal.
In an effort to transform their fortunes, Curle made a triple substitution at half-time, introducing Dylan Bahamboula, Hallam Hope and Jamie Hopcutt, as well as a change in shape.
And Latics reaped an immediate reward, Piergianni forcing the ball home from close range after two initial efforts were kept out by goalkeeper Liam Roberts following a left-wing cross from Bahamboula.
It was a lift for the visitors who then started to force the issue. A first-time effort from Davis Keillor-Dunn went just wide before Hope glanced a header past the post after a fine right-wing cross from Hopcutt.
Former Ostersunds forward Hopcutt then went close, lifting a shot over after Hope’s effort from a Bahamboula cross was saved by Roberts before a scramble in the box.
Keillor-Dunn then cut the ball back to Hart only for his low shot to be kept out by Roberts.
But despite theirlate pressure from the visitors, they were unable to complete the comeback.
Oldham Athletic: Leutwiler, Hart, Cisse (Hopcutt 46), McGahey, Piergianni, Whelan, Keillor-Dunn, Dearnley (Bahamboula 46), Fage, Bowden, Couto (Hope 46). Subs (unused): Southerington, Adams, Stobbs, Bettache.
Goals: Guthrie (14), Etete (38) for Northampton Town. Piergianni (54) for Oldham Athletic.
Attendance: 4,059 (132 visitors).