Eoin Doyle’s brace earned Richie Wellens his second win in as many games as Oldham Athletic beat Portsmouth 1-2.
Wellens’ mind games paid off as Doyle scored in either half, firstly tapping in in front of goal and secondly soon after half time with a cool chip over the goalkeeper.
It was a professional performance from Latics but it was nervy in the final minutes of the game as Brett Pitman did pull a goal back but Athletic held on to victory.
Interim boss Richie Wellens deceived everybody with the selection of striker Doyle who partnered Craig Davies in attack.
He made one enforced change to Tuesday’s starting line up as Cameron Dummigan replaced the suspended Brian Wilson.
Doyle almost made an immediate impact as he rattled the post on three minutes from 25 yards.
The striker was fed the ball, he turned 25 yards out and fired against the post as Latics started the game positively.
However, on six minutes, goalkeeper Johny Placide was forced into action, and what a save he made.
Brett Pitman picked up the ball 25 yards from goal, fired towards the top corner and out of nowhere, Placide managed to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Pitman’s deft touch a minute later went wide of Placide’s far post and from that point on, Athletic dominated the half.
Jack Byrne was in inspired form all half and was at the centre of all the Oldham Athletic attacks.
On 11 minutes, Doyle laid the ball back to Byrne to strike on the edge of the box but his shot was blocked.
A minute later, Rob Hunt found himself in an advanced position but fired wide of Luke McGees goal.
Latics’ dominance paid off in the 16th minute as Doyle put Wellens’ men ahead.
It was all from the good work of Craig Davies who rolled his man in the penalty box, his cross was saved but Doyle pounced to steer into the goal and put Latics into a deserved lead.
There was a break in play soon after following a clash of heads between Drew Talbot and Nathan Thompson with the latter stretchered off.
Athletic looked promising every time they went forward and midway through the half Doyle almost profited from a mistake in the Pompey back line but he could not get his effort on target.
Just before the half hour mark, miscommunication in the Portsmouth back line saw the ball fall invitingly for Gevaro Nepomuceno but his volley went a yard over the crossbar.
The winger almost extended Athletic’s lead moments later as he latched onto a Cameron Dummigan cross but he headed wide.
Dummigan was booked on 33 minutes but two minutes later, Byrne curled towards the top corner but McGee managed to tip his goal-bound effort over the crossbar.
From the resulting corner, Clarke almost converted at the back post but it went the wrong side of the post.
Athletic had to be wary of Portsmouth on the break and Jamal Lowe found himself behind the back line but he struck the post.
Latics continued to come forward and efforts from Doyle, Davies and Byrne all had to be defended by Pompey.
In the final minute of the first half, Byrne’s persistent play saw him drive into the penalty area but he was eventually crowded out as the referee blew time on what was a great first half for Latics.
Athletic started the second half with the same energy and tempo and were rewarded two minutes into the half as Doyle grabbed his second of the game.
And what a goal it was as well. The striker pounced on a loose pass in the Pompey back line, advanced one on one with the goalkeeper and he cooly chipped the ball over the goalkeeper to put Latics in a commanding position.
Kean Bryan went into the book on 52 minutes for a late challenge on Lowe but Latics managed to clear the danger.
Athletic almost made it three just before the hour mark as Gardner found Doyle racing through the centre, he took the ball in his path but his touch just took the ball away from him.
Gardner was having a positive influence on the game and he steered a shot just wide just after the hour mark as Latics continued to go forward and create chances.
Pitman curled a free kick over the bar as the visitors struggled to create a clear goalscoring chance due to the great work from Athletic’s defence.
Pompey had made all three changes when Pitman pulled up with what looked a hamstring injury but he struggled through to the end of the game.
Gardner was forced off on 78 minutes and he was replaced by Banks as Latics looked to be seeing the game out comfortably.
However, in the final minute of the game, Portsmouth managed to pull a goal back as the injured Pitman steered the ball into the far corner to make it a nervy ending.
That was further enhanced on 90 minutes as the fourth official announced eight minutes of additional time to be played.
Tempers started to flair in the final minutes of the game but Latics defended professionally and recorded all three points.
Portsmouth: McGee, Clarke, O’Keefe, Pitman, Hawkins, Kennedy, Donohue, Lowe, Thompson (Evans 22’), Talbot (Bennett 60’), Close (Rose 67’).
Subs not used: Bass, Main, Naismith, Haunstrup
Oldham Athletic: Placide, Dummigan, Clarke, Bryan, Hunt, Nepomuceno (Omrani 65’), Byrne (Menig 88’), Fane, Gardner (Banks 78’), Davies, Doyle.
Subs not used: Ruddy, Gerrard, Edmundson, Obadeyi.
Goals: Portsmouth (Pitman 90’) 1-2 Oldham Athletic (Doyle 16’, 47’)
Attendance: 17,848 (466 visiting supporters)