Latics cement their place in the second round of the Carabao Cup in dramatic fashion with the game being decided on penalties.
Tranmere raced into a two-nil lead with goals from Sam Foley and Elliot Nevitt, however, Oldham produced a remarkable comeback with a strike from Dylan Bahamboula and an own goal from Tom Davies earning Latics a penalty shoot-out.
Danny Rogers produced heroics, saving two spot-kicks before Nicky Adams netted the decisive penalty.
Prior to kick-off, it was announced that our Head Coach Keith Curle would be absent for the cup clash after contracting Covid-19 and in his replacement, Colin West and Alan Sheehan occupied the touchline as they named four changes to the team with Bahamboula returning to the side.
At an atmospheric Boundary Park, Latics began the cup tie with attacking intent which was reinforced after just a minute when Jamie Bowden dragged a low effort from the edge of the box past the post.
Following that, Dylan Fage raced down the right-wing and produced an inviting delivery across the face of goal, however, Josh Dacres-Cogley bravely cleared the danger before Jack Stobbs could tap in.
Ross Doohan showcased his quality between the sticks for the visitors when Bowden’s pinpoint corner was met by Carl Piergianni and the skipper’s fierce header looked destined for the back of the net, however, the Celtic loanee manufactured great reflexes to keep him out.
Oldham supporters witnessed some skilful and elegant link-up play on the right-hand side between Bahamboula and Fage as they continued to cause Micky Mellon’s side endless problems.
The host nearly took the lead as the flamboyant Bahamboula, once again, dribbled to the end of the area before opening his body and curling an effort just past the far post with the goalkeeper beaten.
However, against the run of play, the Super White Army broke the deadlock with their first clear-cut opportunity of the match in the 40th minute. Paul Glatzel possessed fantastic vision as well as having the ability to execute the pass which sent Foley one-on-one with Rogers and the attack-minded midfielder kept his composure to slot past the ‘keeper.
Early into the second-half, Rovers doubled their advantage courtesy of Nevitt as he scored his first goal at EFL level. Dacres-Cogley delivered a cross to the feet of the former Warrington Town striker and he smashed into the roof of the net from inside the six-yard box generating lively scenes in the away end.
Latics managed to pull a goal back as Bahamboula produced a moment of brilliance from a corner. The Congo international danced past several defenders on the byline before somehow slotting a low effort past the goalkeeper from an incredibly tight angle.
West’s side showed tremendous character as they managed to equalise in the 69th minute when a Latics free-kick from deep was steered into his own goal by Davies, leaving Doohan rooted.
Former Latics loanee Mani Dieseruvwe thought he’d found the winner for Tranmere as he flicked in at the near post following impressive work from Glatzel on the left flank, however, the linesman already had his flag raised.
At the other end, Davis Keillor-Dunn was whiskers away from sending his side into the next round as Adams unsurprisingly provided a perfectly weighted cross onto his head at the back post, but the forward’s looping header cannoned off the post before being cleared.
Glatzel was handed a golden opportunity in the 87th minute when Dieseruvwe cleverly slotted the youngster clean through on goal, but the forward was excellently denied by Rogers.
The tie went to a penalty shoot-out and it was Latics who were triumphant after Rogers produced two fine saves before Adams slotted his penalty past Doohan to send the boys in blue into the second round of the competition.
Oldham Athletic XI – Rogers (GK), Hart, Cisse, Piergianni ©, Keillor-Dunn, Fage (Adams 63’) Jameson, Stobbs, Bowden, Bahamboula (Vaughan 70’), Blyth (Luamba 65’).
Subs: Danielewicz (GK), Whelan, Dearnley, Badan.
Goals: Bahamboula 59’, o.g. Davies 69’
Tranmere Rovers XI – Doohan (GK), Dacres-Cogley, Davies, Morris, Watson (Spearing 65’), McManaman (Feeney 78’), Glatzel, Foley, Nevitt (Dieseruvwe 62’), Maguire, Clarke ©.
Subs: Murphy (GK), Jolley, Hayde, Stratulis.
Goals: Foley 39’, Nevitt 51’
Attendance: 2,684 (845 away)
Referee – Scott Oldham