Latics suffered a defeat in front of a vocal and sold-out away terrace against an out of form Harrogate Town side.
Jack Muldoon produced a fine performance for Town as his hat-trick sealed a much-needed three points for his side upon the visit of the ‘boys in blue’.
Selim Benachour’s outfit headed into the highly-anticipated fixture in North Yorkshire after a large period away from EFL action due to weather conditions and Covid-19, and the Interim Head Coach named a host of changes from the last outing.
Alex Hunt was handed his debut, and Callum Whelan, Nicky Adams and Davis Keillor-Dunn were amongst the names returning to the starting XI as the managerial department targeted three points on the road which has seemed elusive in recent travels.
On the second-ever visit to the EnviroVent Stadium, Latics found themselves on the back foot inside the opening minute as George Thomson dribbled with intent towards the area before he dragged his low effort wide of the target.
The Sulphurites entered the clash with no wins in their previous five league matches, but took the lead in the 17th minute to the joy of the home crowd. Lewis Page fierce powered his way down the left-flank, and then, delivered a pinpoint cross into the penalty area in which Muldoon managed to steer into the back of the net.
With frustration bubbling amongst the away contingent, Bahamboula strived for an instant response as he skilfully entered the area from kick-off before taking the ball past the ‘keeper, however, a defender managed to clear the danger.
Just before the break, a determined and strong-minded Benny Couto cut inside the from out wide, then, picked out Keillor-Dunn, located on the edge of the box, but the attack-minded individual lacked composure which resulted in his strike going over the crossbar.
Simon Weaver, occupying a 13-year tenure in charge of Harrogate combined with two promotions, missed the game after contracting Covid-19, although he witnessed on iFollow his side apply more pressure in the second-half.
Thomson, lively throughout the match, incredibly dribbled past several defenders before he teed up Luke Armstrong inside the box. The frontman, one-on-one with Jayson Leutwiler, had little time to adjust his footwork before he was bravely denied by the Oldham shot-stopper.
Following that, Thomson manufactured a low cross towards the six-yard box with Armstrong losing marker to latch onto the delivery, but he flicked his effort wide of goal whilst being off balance.
The hosts added a second in the 73rd minute as Muldoon doubled his, and his side’s, tally for the afternoon. After a defensive mix-up by Whelan, Muldoon raced one-on-one with Leutwiler before he remained cool to slot into the bottom corner.
Muldoon completed his hat-trick shortly after as he picked up possession on the edge of the box, and then, he expertly curled into the top corner as he reeled away in a jubilant celebration.
Harrogate demonstrated character as they remained compact to keep their clean sheet which means that they finally put an end to their dismal home form which dates back to October 2021 when they empathically beat Scunthorpe United.
Harrogate Town XI – Oxley (GK), Page, Falkingham ©, Burrell, Thomson, Kerry (Austerfield 79’), Muldoon, Diarra, McArdle, Armstrong, Richards (Sheron 83’).
Unused Subs: Cracknell (GK), Smith, Beck, Legge.
Goals: Muldoon 17’, 73’, 89’
Oldham Athletic XI – Leutwiler (GK), Clarke, Hart, Piergianni ©, Adams, Whelan (Missilou 82’), Keillor-Dunn, Stobbs, Bahamboula, Hunt (Hope 58’), Couto (Hopcutt 82’).
Unused Subs: Rogers (GK), McGahey, Turner, Modi.
Attendance: 2,689 (589 away)
Referee – Tom Reeves