A Tom Pope penalty was enough to see Oldham Athletic fall to a narrow 0-1 defeat at home to Port Vale, after Peter Clarke was adjudged to have fouled Luke Hannant.
Latics almost made the perfect start as Rob Hunt got down the left-hand side and put in a dangerous cross which was just inches away from Callum Lang sliding in.
The visitors themselves had an opportunity to score as a Leon Legge long throw wasn’t dealt with by Oldham and Nathan Smith forced Daniel Iversen into a fine save after the Danish goalkeeper tipped the effort onto the crossbar.
Lang then cut inside from the left and unleashed an effort towards goal which just went over the bar, before Tom Conlon curled a freekick wide for Port Vale.
Moments later Dan Gardner almost set Boundary Park alight after the ball sat up nicely for a sweetly struck volley from around 30 yards out, but Scott Brown was able to push the venomous effort away.
Port Vale took the lead from a dubious penalty decision as Clarke seemed to step across Hannant to shield the box out of play and referee Peter Wright pointed to the spot to the amazement of the Latics faithful.
Pope stepped up and converted the penalty into the bottom left-hand corner, giving Iversen no chance.
Gardner fired another shot wide until a controversial moment occurred as the game approached half time.
Jose Baxter sent Lang through on goal and he was taken out by Mitchell Clark inside the penalty area, but referee Wright waved away the claims with the incident showing similarities of the penalty he gave to Port Vale.
Latics were almost level minutes into the second half as substitute Gevaro Nepomuceno put in a corner which was diverted onto his own crossbar by Connell Rawlinson.
Latics kept the ball alive and Gardner drove an effort just over the bar.
The visitors were putting in an organised defensive performance as Latics were having to efforts from distance and Baxter sliced one of them efforts wide of the goal.
Nepomuceno got down the left-hand side and crossed into Clarke, who had found himself in the box, but the Oldham Captain put his left footed shot just wide.
Latics had another penalty shout as a Baxter freekick came in, Theo Vassell seemed to have his hands all over George Edmundson, but again referee Wright waved the claims away.
Frankie Bunn’s side couldn’t force an equaliser as they will look to bounce back at home to Cheltenham Town on Tuesday evening.
Attendance 4323 (449 Away)
Iversen, Hamer, Clarke ©, Edmundson, Hunt, Branger-Engone (Nepomuceno 45’), Lyden (Benteke 70’), Gardner, Lang, Baxter, O’Grady
Brown, Joyce, Legge, Pope ©, Hannant (Dodds 81’), Rawlinson, Smith, Vassell, Conlon, Clark (Gibbons 84’), Whitfield (Kanu 75’)