OLDHAM ATHLETIC 1, SCUNTHORPE UNITED 3
Yet another week to forget ended on a dismal note for Oldham Athletic are they crashed to a home defeat in the battle of Sky Bet League Two’s bottom two against Scunthorpe United.
It saw The Iron leapfrog Latics who are now in last place and three points from safety as their EFL status looks to be in more peril than ever.
The loss came at the end of a week when Latics banned three fans who had criticised how the club was being run, a move which caused further negative publicity, though the club appears to have backtracked.
And then was Latics’ owner rejecting the offer by the EFL of an experienced CEO to try and resolve issues running the club.
It was the proverbial six-pointer and Latics, with the worst away record in the division, must have fancied their chances, even though they had recorded only one victory in their previous nine league matches.
The Iron had not won away in their previous 19 attempts in the league and new manager Keith Hill was still searching for his first victory which came at the seventh attempt, though he had drawn five of his first six matches.
The script went well as teenager Benny Couto gave Latics an early lead with his first goal for the club, a spectacular effort.
But there was a dramatic turnabout in the second half after Hill introduced Ryan Loft from the bench at the break. The striker’s deflected effort found the back of the net in the 51st minute.
Then, former Brentford player Myles Hippolyte put The Iron ahead before Loft sealed victory with just over 10 minutes left.
Interim head coach Selim Benachour named five changes from the 5-5 home draw against Forest Green Rovers 15 days earlier with Dylan Bahamboula, Harry Vaughan, Jack Stobbs, Hallam Hope and Raphael Diarra back in the line-up for the last home fixture of 2021.
First-year scholar Aaron Atkinson earned a place on the bench after impressive performances for the youth team.
Latics wore their tangerine kit as part of Shelter’s ‘No Home Kit’ campaign in a powerful act of support and solidarity for people without a home.
Scunthorpe had a relatively promising start as Hayden Hackney’s free-kick found Manny Onariase at the back post, but the defender turned his effort over from inside the six-yard box.
Harry Bunn, son of Latics’ legend Frankie, received possession on the edge of the penalty area before the former Boundary Park loanee dragged his low effort wide.
Latics took the lead with an excellent effort from Couto. Vaughan cleverly picked out the full-back on the left-hand side of the box, and the 18-year-old fired into the far top corner before producing an Eric Cantona-esque celebration for his first professional goal.
Moments later, Vaughan produced some great footwork to find Hallam Hope, but the striker sliced his attempt past the far post.
After the restart, Hill’s side raced out of the blocks and got themselves level through a half-time substitute as Loft scored with an acrobatic volley from the edge of the box which took a wicked deflection off Carl Piergianni who was credited with an own goal.
Loft caused Latics endless trouble and put Tom Pugh clean through on goal, but the midfielder couldn’t keep his composure as he dragged his effort wide.
Bunn then found Loft, but the former Leicester City player’s effort cannoned off the crossbar with pressure growing from the visitors.
In the 74th minute, Scunthorpe netted a second to take a well-deserved advantage. Loft demonstrated his class to slot Hippolyte one-on-one with goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler and the winger kept his cool to covert.
Three minutes later, disaster struck for Latics as Loft scored with a fine solo strike to seal the points.
Hackney, a Middlesbrough loanee, found Loft with a perfectly executed pass as he raced into the 18-yard box and confidently placed his effort into the bottom corner.
Despite late pressure from the Benachour’s side, Latics couldn’t find a response as they find themselves situated at the foot of the division.
Latics: Leutwiler, Cisse, Piergianni, Adams, Whelan, Hope, Stobbs (Keillor-Dunn 46), Diarra (Luamba 83), Bahamboula, Couto, Vaughan (Hart 55). Subs (unused): Rogers, McGahey, Hopcutt, Atkinson.
Goals: Couto, (11), for Oldham Athletic. Piergianni, (51og), Loft, (77), Hippolyte, (74), for Scunthorpe.
Attendance: 4,693 (413 visitors).