Peterborough United suffered another nightmare at Boundary Park tonight (September 26) when slipping to a 3-2 defeat at 10-man Oldham, the team who started the day at the bottom of the League One table.
Posh were hopeless in this fixture last season and not long ago lost 5-4 here after leading 3-0. Historically not the ideal place to try and go top of the division then, but on form there shouldn’t have been more ideal opponents.
Oldham hadn’t won all season at home and were crushed 5-1 at the weekend, a result that led to the departure of manager John Sheridan.
That act alone prompted some Posh followers to be wary, but as Roy Hodgson is currently proving at Crystal Palace, managerial changes don’t always work out.
And that seemed likely here after Marcus Maddison had equalised from the penalty spot on the hour after home defender Brian Wilson had been sent off for fouling him.
Instead Oldham managed to score twice when a man down leaving Jack Marriott’s scrambled effort in the second of eight added minutes irrelevant.
It was desperately disappointing after the heroics of Saturday’s win over Wigan. There were 16 points between the teams before kick off after just nine matches.
Posh also suffered on the injury front with in-form striker Junior Morias stretchered off in the 36th-minute with a horrid-looking injury.
Anyone expecting Posh to start where they left off in Saturday’s thriller against Wigan was sadly disappointed, even though that second-half team started this one.
The 3-4-2-1 formation was back with skipper Jack Baldwin effectively replacing injured midfielder Gwion Edwards.
But Posh actually fielded five defenders and asked two of them, Andrew Hughes and Liam Shephard to offer attacking quality. It’s no slight on Hughes to say he is no Edwards in that respect, while Shephard is still coming to grips with the demands of the wing-back position.
But the entire Posh forward unit lacked any attacking spark in the first half even when they did gain control of the match in the 25 minutes leading up to half-time.
Only a Maddison free kick that was tipped over the crossbar by debutant home ‘keeper Johny Placide - the first choice Haiti international goalkeeper no less - proved to be a Posh threat. There was plenty of possession for the visitors, but precious little pace to their passing as they continued their goal drought in the first-half of September matches.
Oldham started the game very brightly with the eager running of left winger Gevaro Nepomuceno causing a few early problems. One cross was headed wide by Eoin Doyle before the Posh back three settled down to perform very steadily.
But Oldham lost their way quickly in a half that lasted 51 minutes due to the unfortunate injury suffered by Morias.
But the game burst into life in the second half. Marriott accepted a short Maddison pass on 48 minutes and let fly with his left foot from 20 yards only to watch the ball strike the outside of a post.
But it was Oldham who took the lead within three minutes as Jack Byrne burst through a couple of powderpuff tackles before unleasing a 25 yarder which Jonathan Bond did well to keep out, but Doyle reacted best to tap home from close range.
A deflected effort from Maddison was then well saved by Placide before Doyle undid his good work for the goal by playing Maddison through on goal.
Maddison checked his run, drew a foul from Wilson, which was punished by a penalty and a red card. Maddison chipped the penalty home off the underside of the crossbar to claim a goal on his 24th birthday.
Posh immediately made attacking substitutions with Ricky Miller and Leo Da Silva coming on and they almost grabbed a second goal 20 minutes from time.
Miller it was bursting through this time. He appeared to be fouled, but got a shot away that was saved and Maddison’s superbly struck follow-up was also thwarted by the athletic Placide.
Miller, who tends to hit the target when shooting, was again denied by Placide 12 minutes from time after a fine set-up by Idris Kanu.
But, at a time when Posh were in complete control, sloppiness from Ryan Tafazolli enabled Doyle to charge at the visiting penalty area before feeding Dan Gardner who beat Bond at his near post with a fierce drive in the 80th minute.
Maddison promptly saw a strong free kick beaten away by Placide, but amazingly Oldham broke away to score a third goal five minutes from time.
Great skill on the left from Abdelhakim Omrani led to a tap in for Doyle.
There was still time for Marriott to claim his eighth goal of the campaign, but once Oldham cleared a couple of set pieces they were able to celebrate a terrific win, one that lifted them off the bottom.
Posh: Jonathan Bond, Steven Taylor, Jack Baldwin (sub Ricky Miller, 69 mins), Ryan Tafazolli, Liam Shephard (sub Da Silva Lopes, 61 mins), Andrew Hughes, Chris Forrester, Michael Doughty, Marcus Maddison, Junior Morias (sub Idris Kanu, 36 mins), Jack Marriott.
Unused substitutes: Danny Lloyd, Jermaine Anderson, Conor O’Malley, Alex Penny
Oldham: Johny Placide, Brian Wilson, Dan Gardner, Peter Clarke, Jack Byrne (sub Abdelhakim Omrani, 81 mins), Kean Bryan, Gevaro Nepomuceno (sub Cameron Dummigan 61 mins), Rob Hunt, Ousmane Fane, Eoin Doyle, Craig Davies (sub Ollie Banks, 63 mins).
Unused substitites: Jack Ruddy, Anthony Gerrard, Queensy Menig, Tope Obadeyi.
Goals: Posh - Maddison (pen, 59 mins), Marriott (90 + 2 mins).
Oldham - Doyle (53 mins & 85 mins), Gardner (80 mins).
Cautions: Posh - Da Silva Lopes (foul).
Oldham - Clarke (foul), Placide (time-wasting).
Referee: Anthony Backhouse 7
Attendance: 2,975 (263 Posh).