George Blackwood and Harry Clarke bagged their first goals for the club after ex-Oldham striker Reuben Reid had given Cheltenham the lead.
Latics almost got off to a dream start, Zak Dearnley was the benefactor of a beautiful through ball that split the visitors’ two centre backs, but the in-form striker saw his shot saved by Joshua Griffiths.
Unfortunately, it was to be the forward’s last contribution of the match and he was withdrawn through injury in the ninth minute with Dylan Bahamboula taking his place.
Harry Kewell’s side made a strong start to the game and Jordan Barnett had a chance to bag his first goal for the club when Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s low cross found him, but his shot ended up over the bar.
The Robins’ keeper was called into action again in the 23rd minute but Callum Whelan’s effort from distance was a comfortable stop for Griffiths.
Michael Duff’s side found the breakthrough on the half-hour mark with Alfie May crossing for Reuben Reid and the former Latics’ man had time to steady himself before finding a smart finish past Ian Lawlor.
Latics reacted well to going behind and the pace and trickery of the exciting Bahamboula gave the winger space to unleash a well-hit shot that Griffiths could only parry to Blackwood who was on hand to open his account at Boundary Park.
It was the visitors who had the first opportunity after the interval, a clever corner from Chris Clements found Chris Hussey on the edge of the box but the full-back's effort went wide of the goal.
Oldham’s first chance of the half came through Blackwood. Whelan found him but the Australian’s effort didn’t have enough power to trouble the Town goalkeeper.
Bahamboula continued to cause Cheltenham problems but he would have been disappointed with his effort in the 53rd minute, blasting the ball over the crossbar.
Substitute Danny Rowe showed fantastic hold-up play managing to fend off Cheltenham defenders before playing a perfectly weighted ball to Tom Hamer, but Griffiths was on hand to deny the full-back a goal in his 100th appearance for Latics.
Oldham continued to enjoy the better of the proceedings at Boundary Park and Bahamboula was able to nick the ball from Hussey and successfully made his way into the visitors box but the mercurial winger’s effort sailed over the bar.
Town almost scored against the run of play in the 80th minute, Alfie May’s pullback found the in-form Andy Williams, but Clarke was on the line to keep the scores level.
Ian Lawlor had little to do in the match but was called upon to make a fantastic stop from Will Boyle’s downward header in the 83rd minute.
Latics’ dominance finally paid off in the 85th minute, Clarke supplying the finish after a Barnett corner had resulted in a bit of a scramble in Cheltenham’s box. It was brilliant work from Rowe to win the corner with the forward not giving up on the loose ball.
Harry Kewell's men held on to a vital win against one of the league’s early front runners for promotion.
Oldham Athletic XI – Lawlor (GK), Clarke, Borthwick-Jackson, Blackwood (Rowe, 60), Whelan (Garrity, 71), Keilor-Dunn, Jameson, Ntambwe, Barnett, Dearnley (Bahamboula, 9), Hamer ©
Subs – Bilboe (GK), Garrity, Rowe, Grant, Fage, Bahamboula, McCalmont
Goals – Blackwood, Clarke
Cheltenham Town XI – Griffiths (GK), Hussey, Tozer ©, Raglan, Thomas, Clements (Blair, 57), Reid (Addai, 72), May, Williams, Boyle, Sercombe
Subs – Harris (GK), Blair, Addai, Freestone, Horton, Sang, Chapman
Goals – Reid
Referee – Will Finnie