OLDHAM ATHLETIC 0, NORTHAMPTON TOWN 2
As days go, Good Friday could not have been any worse for Oldham Athletic who slid back into League Two’s relegation places.
If the home defeat by Northampton was not bad enough, two of their relegation rivals picked up huge wins.
Stevenage and Barrow, who began the day on 37 points, the same as Latics, were victors as the Boundary Park side is now three points adrift having played one more match.
Barrow, who had been in freefall, pulled off the shock of the day, a surprise 4-0 home win against leaders Forest Green Rovers.
And Latics’ neighbours Rochdale were unable to do them a favour as they lost at Stevenage.
To make it thoroughly dismal, Latics also had captain Carl Piergianni sent off as his straight red means he will miss three of the four remaining matches.
Northampton took the points with goals from Jon Guthrie on the stroke of half time and Louis Appere midway through the second half.
Head coach John Sheridan named three changes from the defeat at Port Vale last time out. Harrison McGahey, Alex Hunt and Tope Obadeyi won recalls.
It was a huge game with both sides needing points for contrasting reasons, the Cobblers striving for promotion and Latics at the opposite end of the table.
Northampton thought they had made a fifth minute breakthrough when Appere tapped in at the far post from Mitchell Pinnock’s cross on for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
Latics gradually grew into the game forcing visiting goalkeeper Liam Roberts into two fine saves.
Hunt unleashed a fierce strike towards the left-hand bottom corner which was parried into the path of McGahey whose effort was also kept out by the shot-stopper.
Obadeyi then raced down the right before he played in Davis Keillor-Dunn whose curled effort went straight to the goalkeeper.
Jon Brady’s side found themselves ahead in the final minute of the half through Guthrie. After Sam Hart committed a needless foul, the resulting free kick was delivered to the defender who flicked it into the bottom corner for his seventh goal of the season.
Latics thought they had the perfect start to the second half as Piergianni fired past Roberts from close range, but the referee adjudged the skipper had handled.
A counterattack from the visitors resulted in Hoskins racing one-on-one with Danny Rogers, but the goalkeeper did enough to prevent him from scoring as he ushered him over the by-line.
The Cobblers extended their lead in the 66th minute through Appere, their January acquisition from Dundee United. Felix-Eppiah dribbled into the area before crossing for Appéré who flicked the ball past Rogers.
He should have added to his tally straightaway after he found himself clean through on goal but fired wide.
It went from bad to worse for Latics as Piergianni received a red card for elbowing Guthrie after an aerial duel.
Oldham Athletic: Rogers, Clarke, Hart, McGahey, Piergianni, Adams, Keillor-Dunn, Hunt (Jameson 66), Missilou, Luamba (Hopcutt 70), Obadeyi (Couto 73). Subs (unused): Leutwiler, Diarra, Sutton.
Goals: Guthrie (44), Appéré (66) for Northampton Town.
Attendance: 5,789 (456 visitors).