In an intense affair against fellow strugglers Stevenage, Latics picked up a mammoth victory whilst being buoyed on by over 1,000 vocal fans.
A surprise selection, Jamie Hopcutt showcased his worth and ability as he became the hero for the visitors, scoring the decisive goal.
It arrived in the 15th minute when Nicky Adams carved the opportunity for Jordan Clarke to exploit space towards the right touchline, the full-back delivered a precise cross to the attacker, and he coolly navigated his header into the far corner which was enough for the three points.
With tension arising ahead of kick-off, Shez opted for one change to his team following a midweek win against Leyton Orient. Hopcutt returned to the starting XI and endeavoured to make a difference at the Lamex Stadium.
The hosts nearly had the perfect start to the ‘six-pointer’ as Luke Norris should’ve opened the scoring within the opening exchanges. The ball landed perfectly to the frontman inside the six-yard box, but he flicked his effort just past the near corner, a massive let off.
Just 15 minutes into the match, the away end was sent into chaotic scenes as Latics took the lead courtesy of a well-worked piece of football. After neat interchanging play between Adams and Clarke on the flank, the right-back delivered a pinpoint cross on the head of Hopcutt, and the former Östersund FK star expertly steered his header over Christy Pym and into the far corner.
Steve Evans, a notorious character in the industry, would’ve been enraged when Jake Taylor failed to equalise despite being gifted a golden opportunity. Danny Rogers punched the ball into a dangerous area, and it fell to him with the goal at his mercy, but from just a few yards out, he remarkably smashed over the crossbar.
Following that, Luther James-Wildin illustrated an immense burst of pace out wide before he pulled it back to Elliott List on the edge of the box, but the attacker curled his effort just past the post with the 'keeper at full stretch.
After the interval, Stevenage continued to apply pressure on their opposition which was exemplified as they managed to deliver a cross into the box, and unsurprisingly it was headed away by Carl Piergianni, but into the path of onrushing Michael Bostwick. A legend at the club, the defensive-midfielder could only slice the strike off target from the edge of the penalty box.
James-Wilden, a constant bright spark on the right-hand side of the pitch, consistently crafted opportunities for his teammates which were simply not put away. The 24-year-old produced an inviting delivery across the face of goal, but to the relief of the backline, no one in Red could capitalise on the cross.
As the ‘boys in blue’ battled and remained resolute, Christopher Missilou spearheaded a counter-attack with a second goal the clear intention being instructed by Shez in the dugout. The midfielder dribbled past Bostwick with ease but lacked composure in the final third as he witnessed his strike sail over the crossbar.
The fourth official indicated a minimum of four minutes added on with a fear-ridden away contingent biting their nails. Hearts were certainly in mouths when a manic scramble took place inside the Greater Manchester side’s area, after several cases of pinball, it finally landed to Norris, but he surprisingly blasted his strike over the target.
Despite an injured corner flag adding more time on, Oldham held strong which meant that they picked up a massively important win in the bid to maintain their Sky Bet League Two status.
Once again, Shez thoroughly embraced the stunning atmosphere created by the Latics supporters on the pitch at full-time as belief develops stronger about survival.
Stevenage XI – Pym (GK), James-Wildin, Coker, Cuthbert, List, Taylor, Norris, Lines (Andrade 67’), Vancooten, Read (Reid 77’), Bostwick (Upson 86’).
Unused Subs: Walker (GK), Prosser, Carter, Barry.
Oldham Athletic XI – Rogers (GK), Clarke, Hart, Piergianni ©, Adams, Whelan, Hope, Keillor-Dunn, Hopcutt (Luamba 68’), Missilou, Sutton.
Unused Subs: Leutwiler (GK), Jameson, Diarra, Couto, Hunt, Vaughan.
Goals: Hopcutt 15’
Attendance: Not announced.
Referee – Andy Davies