Latics were defeated by Salford City, and it will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the supporters as it confirmed relegation from Sky Bet League Two.
Early into the encounter, Matt Smith broke the deadlock before Davis Keillor-Dunn got his side level from the penalty spot which provided a sense of belief.
However, Brandon Thomas-Asante headed the Ammies back into the lead again late into the first-half which proved to be the winner after the match was temporarily abandoned.
As time was running out for the ‘boys in blue’, Shez opted for four changes from our defeat against Forest Green Rovers on Easter Monday. Nicky Adams, Junior Luamba, Hallam Hope and Kyle Jameson returned to the team, and there were no illusions surrounding the instant impact required to give the fans a glimmer of hope.
The hosts offered an initial spark to the game as Hope produced fine work on the left-hand side before he picked out Luamba with a pinpoint cross, but the onrushing youngster steered his header wide of the target.
Smith, well-known for his Emirates FA Cup heroics on this turf, dealt his former employer a wounding blow in the eighth minute of his first return to Oldham. Thomas-Asante, who enjoys playing against Latics, exploited space behind the defence which was gifted by Jameson before his low effort cannoned off the far post into the path of his strike partner, and he flicked into an empty goal.
Just moments later, Ashley Hunter could’ve, and probably should’ve, added a second for his side as Danny Rogers pushed Thomas-Asante’s volley towards the winger inside the box, but with the goal at his mercy, he sliced his attempt over the crossbar.
After Keillor-Dunn raced towards the 18-yard-box, the attacker fired a shot on goal which was handled by a defender with the referee instantly pointing to the spot. Latics’ leading goalscorer stepped up, and although the ‘keeper was equal to it, the ball was pushed over the line to give Shez’s outfit a lifeline.
A promising prospect, Luamba found himself one-on-one with Tom King, however, the striker was denied by the ‘keeper as he hurried out of position to turn his effort away from the target.
Somehow, the home side didn't score as Hope was handed a golden opportunity before the interval. King parried Keillor-Dunn’s blasted strike over his own head towards Hope, and from a yard out, the Barbados international flicked his header onto the crossbar to the disbelief of everyone inside the stadium.
In the first-half added time, the Ammies were celebrating once again as Thomas-Asante made five goals against Latics since our first-ever meeting with the visitors. A former Latics trialist, Ibou Touray floated a cross onto the head of the lightning-fast forward, and it looped over Rogers into the back of the net.
Looking to atone for his error, Hope strived to get himself on the scoresheet which nearly became a reality when he cut inside and curled an effort towards the far bottom corner, but the shot-stopper managed to parry away the attempt.
With results going against Latics, they had the ball in the back of the net as Hope bundled it in, however, the referee adjusted him to have handled it over the line, so it was disallowed as time continued to run out.
Adams illustrated a bit of quality when he slotted Keillor-Dunn clean through on goal, but he flicked his attempt straight at King.
After fans invaded the pitch, the game was initially abandoned before it was restarted behind closed doors around 6:30pm with no supporters inside the ground.
The only moment of note in this added time was when Luamba sweetly struck a volley from the edge of the area which had the goalkeeper beaten, but it didn’t dip enough to find the top corner. With results elsewhere, Oldham could not afford to lose, but unfortunately, they couldn't snatch a late equaliser.
A sense of anger, disappointment and sadness were the common feelings around the ground as Latics were heartbreakingly relegated from Sky Bet League Two. A very, very sad day for the football club.
Oldham Athletic XI – Rogers (GK), Clarke, Hart, Adams, Whelan (Vaughan 74’), Hope (Couto 89’), Keillor-Dunn, Jameson, Stobbs (Hopcutt 68’), Missilou, Luamba.
Unused Subs: Leutwiler (GK), Da Silva, Hunt, Sutton.
Goal: Keillor-Dunn 33’
Salford City XI – King (GK), Touray, Lowe ©, Watson, Lund (Love 49’), Hunter (Bolton 66’), Turnbull, Kelly, Smith, Thomas-Asante (Henderson 84’), Vassell.
Unused Subs: Torrance (GK), Ndaba, Burgess, Shephard.
Goals: Smith 8’, Asante-Thomas 45+3’
Attendance: 5,752 (554 away)
Referee – Robert Madley