It was derby day joy for Oldham Athletic as two late goals secured a 3-1 victory over local rivals Rochdale.
Two strikes from Eoin Doyle, his second a Goal of the Season contender, ensured it was Latics that came away with all three points at SportsDirect.com Park.
Athletic got off to a perfect start as Cameron Dummigan headed Richie Wellens’ men ahead two minutes into the game.
However, Rochdale did equalise on 16 minutes through Matt Done but Doyle’s two late strikes secured derby day delight for Latics.
Wellens recalled Anthony Gerrard to the starting line up for his first start since September 23 against Rotherham United as he replaced captain Peter Clarke.
And it was a dream start for Latics as they took the lead in the opening two minutes of the game.
A quick throw in down the line saw Nepomuceno cross to the back post and defender Dummigan was steaming in at the back post to give Athletic an early lead.
It was a frantic start to the game and Athletic were creating all the chances as they looked to extend their lead.
On four minutes, defender Rob Hunt delivered an excellent ball into the box for Eoin Doyle but the striker’s effort was just deflected for a corner.
From the resulting set piece, the ball fell invitingly for Gevaro Nepomuceno on the edge of the box but he volleyed over the crossbar.
Athletic had started strongly but the visitors did grow into the game and Latics had to be wary on 10 minutes.
The defence struggled to clear the danger from a corner, Calvin Andrew kept the ball alive and headed it into the path of Ian Henderson but his overhead kick from six yards was well saved by Johny Placide.
Latics continued to play free flowing passing football and looked dangerous going forward but a mistake on 16 minutes presented Rochdale with an equaliser.
Dummigan, who had netted the first goal of the game, misplaced his header back to Placide and Done capitalised and rolled the ball beyond the goalkeeper to equalise.
It was a sucker-punch to Latics who had dominated the opening exchanges of the first half.
Craig Davies had two opportunities not long after as he dragged a shot wide from the edge of the box and headed into the arms of Rochdale goalkeeper Josh Lillis.
On the half hour mark, the Dale stopper had to be alert as Jack Byrne curled towards the top left-hand corner but he got a strong fist to the ball to clear.
Latics continued to be a threat in attack as Davies released Gardner who ran into space on 37 minutes but his goal bound shot deflected wide.
Five minutes before the break, Athletic were almost ahead for a second time.
Dale defender Joe Rafferty left the ball to go out of play, however, Nepomuceno did not give up on the ball and won it.
He crossed into the box for Doyle but Harrison McGahey got back just in time to clear the danger.
Dan Gardner entered the referee’s notebook before the half time whistle sounded for a pull back on Callum Camps.
Athletic started the second half much the same as they started the game.
It was fast flowing, full of energy and lively with plenty of chances created.
Latics won a free kick level with the penalty area soon into the half. Byrne took it, delivered it onto the head of Davies but Lillis made a low save at the second attempt.
Minutes later, Davies spun away from his defender and raced against his defender, three against one. However, the striker overhit his pass through to the onrushing Doyle and the chance was lost.
Athletic pushed and pushed at the start of the half to get themselves back ahead with Doyle the next man to be thwarted.
Hunt crossed into the box from the left, Rochdale headed clear, it fell to Doyle on the edge of the box who hammered at goal but Lillis made an outstanding save to deny him.
Ousmane Fane went into the book on the hour mark for a late challenge on Rochdale as Rochdale again grew into the half and frustrated Latics.
On 67 minutes, Ian Henderson broke free and had the opportunity to shoot, however, Dummigan was back in the nick of time to put the striker off and deny Dale taking the lead.
Worrying scenes followed as Gerrard, who had been excellent all game, went down injured but he was able to continue.
Aaron Amadi-Holloway came on minutes later and he made an immediate impact as he raced at the defence, shot but it hit the side netting from inside the area.
Doyle’s persistence and work rate was exceptional all afternoon and he was rewarded on 83 minutes as he put Latics back ahead on 83 minutes.
Gardner’s free kick into the box was only partially cleared and it fell to Doyle in acres of space and he fired confidently past Lillis to put Latics ahead.
Three minutes later, Latics and Doyle put the game beyond doubt with what will certainly be a contender for Goal of the Season come the end of the campaign.
The striker latched on to a header into the box and instinctively volleyed over Lillis from all of 35 yards to win the game for Athletic.
Latics did not rest on that lead and wanted more in the final minutes of the game.
Holloway fired wide in the 92nd minute whilst two minutes later, Doyle almost had a hat-trick but he could not convert Dummigan’s low cross.
Latics played out the game professionally and took the bragging rights with a 3-1 victory over their local rivals.
Oldham Athletic: Placide, Dummigan, Bryan, Gerrard (Clarke 85’), Hunt, Nepomuceno, Fane, Gardner, Byrne (Menig 78’), Davies (Holloway 77’), Doyle.
Subs not used: Wilson, Green, Omrani, Duffus.
Rochdale: Lillis, Rafferty, Ntlhe (Bunney 46’), McNulty, McGahey, Andrew, Camps, Rathbone (Davies 85’), Done, Inman (Gillam 68’), Henderson.
Subs not used: Moore, Slew, Daniels, Kitching.
Goals: Oldham Athletic (Dummigan 2’, Doyle 83’, 86’) 3-1 Rochdale (Done 16’)
Attendance: 6,129 (1,283 visiting supporters)