Oldham Athletic 2 Hartlepool United 1

Last updated : 12 January 2009 By Footymad Previewer
Oldham Athletic moved up to third place in the League One table as FA Cup giantkillers Hartlepool United were brought back down to earth.

Lee Hughes and Deane Smalley claimed a goal in each half to condemn the visitors, who had humbled Premier League outfit Stoke City just over a week earlier.

Oldham paraded new signing Dean Windass, with the veteran striker making a lively debut after joining on loan from Hull City until the end of the season.

They dominated most of the game and are now unbeaten in ten matches, while Pools have managed one victory in the same period.

Oldham went close to a breakthrough after only 13 seconds when Windass teed up Hughes, but his low drive was well saved by Arran Lee-Barrett.

The home side stayed on top and went in front after 21 minutes as Neal Eardley's right-wing cross caused mayhem in the Hartlepool defence.

Michael Nelson fluffed his attempted clearance, handing Hughes the chance to control six yards out and coolly slot into the bottom corner.

Two minutes later Oldham almost struck again, only for a tremendous 22-yard free-kick by Windass to smash against the crossbar.

Eardley also threatened from long range, while Hartlepool's only sight of goal during first half was when Matty Robson snapped a shot wide.

Pools were again pinned back straight after the restart, with the Oldham left-sided pair of Chris Taylor and Kelvin Lomax both firing off target.

Danny Whitaker then headed against the woodwork and also drew a fine save from Lee-Barrett, before the Hartlepool keeper was left totally stranded after 52 minutes.

A set-piece was half cleared towards Smalley and the young winger hammered his shot into the far top corner from the edge of the box.

Hartlepool, however, were gifted a lifeline as Robson crossed from the left and Oldham defender Lomax, in trying to clear his lines, instead sent the ball into the roof of his own net.

Nelson headed over as the visitors chased an equaliser, but Oldham were denied by the woodwork for the third time when Windass glanced a header against the post from close range.