Danny Rowe, Bobby Grant and Conor McAleny got themselves on the scoresheet as Latics secure victory against Wolves U21s in the EFL Trophy.
The opening 15 minutes of the affair failed to offer any noteworthy opportunities with the only eye-catching attack seeing visiting full-back Hugo Bueno race down the left flank before floating a cross into the box, but his delivery just went past the onrushing attacker.
Following this, the Wanderers have a couple of half-chances on the Latics goal. The first saw Austin Samuels snatch at a loose ball inside the penalty area and he blasted over the crossbar before Ian Lawlor produced a fine save with his legs from Luke Cundle’s fierce strike from range.
Harry Kewell’s side began to grow into the clash and on his first full game for Oldham, Jordan Barnett, delivered on the head of Dylan Fage at the back post but the winger couldn’t direct his header on target from yards out.
In the 42nd minute, Latics’ pressure got its rewards as the hosts took the lead when Rowe played a one-two with Barnett inside the penalty area before the forward dropped his shoulder misleading the defender and blasted low and hard past the goalkeeper at his near post.
After half-time, the boys in blue fashioned a chance with a great piece of football which nearly saw them doubled their lead. It started with Tom Hamer spraying a long pass down the line to Fage and the attacker dribbled at his marker before skilfully chopping inside and he laid the ball to second-year scholar Ben Hough, who whipped an effort just past the post on his Oldham Athletic debut.
Substitute McAleny looked lively after his introduction and came close to scoring as he intercepted a loose pass from a Wolves defender and drove towards goal with intent. After creating space from himself to shoot, he dragged his effort wide of Joe Young’s goalpost.
Oldham doubled their lead with minutes left on the clock as Davis Keillor-Dunn switched the play to Grant on the right, and he dribbled inside and confidently smashed an effort from 25-yards into the corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
McAleny got in on the act just three minutes later as he powerfully struck at goal which stung the hands of Young, but it was too hot to handle, and he parried into the back of the net.
In added time, McAleny sealed Latics’ first win the EFL Trophy since August 2019 as Grant whipped a perfectly weighted cross towards the striker, it flicked off his shoulder and looped over the goalkeeper to wrap up the victory.
Oldham Athletic XI – Lawlor (GK), Jombati, Piergianni ©, Whelan (Garrity 46’), Rowe, Grant, Fage (Keillor-Dunn 77’), Barnett, Badan (McAleny 61’), Hough, Hamer.
Subs – Chapman (GK), De Silva, Luamba, Sutton.
Goals: Rowe 42’, Grant 85’, McAleny 88’, 91’.
Wolves U21s XI – Young (GK), Estrada, Marques, Lonwijk, Burno, Cundle, Otasowie (Wan 61’), Scott (Matheson 82’), Campbell (Carty 64’), Samuels, Corbeanu.
Subs – Smith (GK), Mayounga, Matheson, Tipton, He, Carty.
Referee – Graham Salisbury