Latics secure their place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup as Conor McAleny and Danny Rowe found the net on a cold and wet afternoon in West Yorkshire.
Following back-to-back wins in the league for Latics, Harry Kewell named four changes for this cup clash with Harry Clarke, Brice Ntambwe, Conor McAleny and Alfie McCalmont coming into the side.
Prior to kick-off, both sets of players held a minute silence in remembrance of the late Diego Maradona, Ray Clemence and Nobby Stiles.
With only 11 minutes on the clock, Stuart McCall’s side had themselves a penalty as Latics shot-stopper Ian Lawlor brought down Clayton Donaldson inside the 18-yard box. The experienced frontman dusted himself down and confidently chipped his penalty straight down the middle.
However, their lead wouldn’t last long as McAleny showed his quality and produced a wonder strike. Danny Rowe slotted through the legs of a Bradford player to McCalmont and he sprayed the ball to the left-wing to McAleny before he cut inside and blasted his effort into the top far corner leaving Richard O’Donnell no chance to make it two goals in as many games for the attacker.
McAleny nearly had another just minutes later as Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s cross found him on the edge of the box, he controlled before striking across goal, but it went just wide.
Harry Kewell’s side thought they were ahead as Rowe had incredible vision to slot Dylan Fage down the right and the Frenchman delivered a low cross which found Ntambwe at the back post, but somehow he flicked over the crossbar from close range when he looked set to score his first goal for the club.
McAleny continued to torment the Bantams backline and this time his low strike was well saved by the goalkeeper and he tried his luck again later on in the attack with his head, but it cannoned off the crossbar and the danger was cleared.
Just before half-time, once again Latics should’ve taken the lead as McCalmont won possession inside his own half before dribbling the length of the pitch and slotting it to Ben Garrity inside the penalty area and the midfielder beat a defender with a fake shot but fluffed his lines and dragged his effort wide.
Oldham started the second-half in the manner they finished the first as the visitors took the lead through the in-form Rowe. The forward turned his man on the right and smashed a spectacular effort into the corner to make it four goals in three games for himself.
Bradford were handed a golden opportunity to equalise in the 77th minute when Connor Wood produced a cross into the Latics box and Lawlor parried it into a dangerous area which fell to substitute Gareth Evans, but the goalkeeper manages to do just enough to turn the effort behind.
The boys in blue looked to seal the victory with a fluid counter-attack which resulted in Jordan Barnett, fresh off the bench, playing the ball down the line to Garrity and the midfielder got his head up and delivered a low cross towards the man at the back stick, however, a defender manages to recover and put it out for a corner. The resulting set-piece found the head of Ntambwe, but his effort narrowly went wide of the post.
Latics stood strong to keep the Bantams at bay which means we’ve picked up two cups wins at the Utilita Energy Stadium this month.
Bradford City XI – O’Donnell (GK) ©, Hosannah (Evans 46’), P.O’Connor, Richards-Everton, A.O’Connor, Donaldson, Ismail (Mottley-Henry 16’), Samuels, B.Clarke (Cooke 73’), Watt, Wood.
Subs – Hornby (GK), Longridge, French, Cousin-Dawson.
Goals: Donaldson 11’
Oldham Athletic XI – Lawlor (GK), H.Clarke, Borthwick-Jackson, Piergianni ©, Garrity, Rowe, Keillor-Dunn, Fage (Jombati 78’), Ntambwe, McAleny (Barnett 71’), McCalmont.
Subs – Bilboe (GK), Whelan, Diarra, Da Silva, Hamer.
Goals: McAleny 18’, Rowe 47’
Referee – Martin Coy