Written by Gary Skinner.
Oldham Athletic produced a five star display at home to Newport County at the weekend. It provided the perfect antidote at the end of a stressful and worrying week for the football club with the daunting prospect of the club going into administration.
Manager Dino Maamria made three changes to the starting line up that drew 2-2 away at Leyton Orient. Zeus de la Paz was back in goal, replacing the injured Gary Woods.Cameron Borthwick-Jackson returned at left back replacing Zak Mills, and Gevaro Nepomuceno came back into the side at the expense of Christopher Missilou. Danny Rowe and Zak Dearnley continued up front as the team took up an attacking 4-4-2 formation.
Newport were two places and 5 points above Latics in the table but there was little evidence of the league placings as Oldham dominated the game from start to finish.
Latics almost took the lead in the fourth minute when a corner from Jonny Smith was met by Dearnley but his glancing header came back off the post. Rowe then latched onto a mis-hit clearance by the goalkeeper but his long range effort cleared the crossbar. Nepomuceno also had a shot deflected wide by teammate Wheater following good work on the right wing.
The opening goal came in the 25th minute. A driving run into the penalty area by Tom Hamer saw the ball break to Danny Rowe who beat the goalkeeper to the loose ball before making no mistake from close range to register his first goal at Boundary Park and to give the home side a deserved lead.
A second goal followed only two minutes later, and it was an excellent team goal. Smith found Borthwick-Jackson who played the ball to Rowe, the full back continued his run forward and Rowe found him with a lovely return pass for him to run on to before delivering a first time cross into the centre which was met by the onrushing Dearnley who neatly turned the ball into the net from eight yards out giving the keeper no chance for what was the goal of the game.
Latics dominated possession for the rest of the first half without creating too many clear cut chances, Newport were left chasing scraps and offering very little in the way of an attacking threat.
The second half started as the first had ended with Oldham retaining the upper hand and the third goal came after 52 minutes. Strong play in the middle by the excellent McCann and Sylla saw the ball given to Dearnley who was able to release Nepomuceno down the right wing. His right footed cross found Rowe just outside the six yard box and he was able to turn, swivel and hit his shot underneath the keeper for another well worked goal from the home team.
Latics were now well on top and a fourth goal came ten minutes later when Hamer powered into the area and his low shot got a wicked deflection off central defender Innes before looping over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Newport had their first shot on target in the 63rd minute when Demetriou had a long range shot but it was straight at de la Paz and posed the keeper no problems.
At the other end McCann had a shot blocked in a goalmouth scramble. Rowe almost got his hat trick after good work on the left hand side of the penalty area saw him get past his man before smashing a fierce shot against the foot of the post from a tight angle.
Latics bagged their fifth goal on 82 minutes after some slick passing between Hamer, McCann and Rowe ended with McCann putting Smith through on goal. There was still plenty for the winger to do with two defenders moving in to tackle him but he made no mistake with a right footed shot into the bottom corner.
Newport almost grabbed a consolation goal when a cross from Nurse was met by Dolan but his half volley went narrowly wide.
A clean sheet was no more than Latics deserved however as the defence stood up to anything that Newport had to offer.
Wheater and Piergianni in the centre of defence were totally dominant. Full backs Hamer and Borthwick-Jackson bombed forward at every opportunity giving the team extra pace and width.
Danny Rowe received the sponsors man of the match award for his two goals, but Chris McCann and Mo Sylla in central midfield were both excellent and must have run the striker close.
All in all a great performance from the home side coming off the back of a worrying week for the club, and the players deserve credit for putting in such a performance with all the off the field issues dominating the news.
Images from Newport County Twitter & South Wales Argus.