Jamie Paterson’s superb double capped Walsall’s comeback in what proved to be the end for Oldham boss Paul Dickov.
James Baxendale cancelled out Lee Barnard’s opener for Oldham while Febian Brandy also hit the post for the Saddlers. Dickov then stepped aside yesterday.
But Paterson was the star when he first buried a 20-yard effort before sealing the win in stoppage time with a brilliant Gazza-esque second where he lobbed defender Cliff Byrne before scoring.
It was Oldham’s eighth defeat in nine League One games to leave Dickov’s job hanging by a threat – despite last week’s stunning 3-2 FA Cup win over Liverpool.
Victory, though, lifted Walsall to ninth in League One and just six points away from their 50 point survival target.
Andy Taylor and Febian Brandy were restored after last week’s 2-0 defeat to Colchester while Craig Westcarr was on the bench after his return.
Debutant Barnard, who signed on loan from Southampton on deadline day, fired well over after turning Paul Downing as Oldham made a strong start.
With confidence from their FA Cup heroics and ex-Wolves striker Chris Iwelumo also making his bow on loan from Watford the Latics
The Saddlers struggled to impose themselves as the Latics’ newboys continued to threaten.
Iwelumo’s appeals for a penalty were ignored after Paul Downing seemed to tug him back before the visitors took the lead on 19 minutes.
Lee Croft was given too much time on the right and he crossed for Barnard to bury a header into the bottom corner.
It rewarded their adventurous start but Walsall should have levelled immediately when Ben Purkiss crossed and Will Grigg only planted a free header straight at Dean Bouzanis.
The Latics were on top though with Iwelumo and Barnard causing havoc and the impressive Croft testing the Saddlers on the right.
Walsall were struggling against their stubborn visitors but a moment of class from Baxendale levelled it five minutes before the break.
The winger received the ball from Taylor on the left and skipped past Connor Brown’s challenge to roll under Bouzanis from an angle.
And a minute later Brandy’s hooked volley hit the inside of the post as the Saddlers suddenly woke up.
They continued their revival after the break with Grigg denied by Bouzanis after Paterson’s defence splitting pass before the keeper claimed Paterson’s 20-yard effort.
Bouzanis saved Grigg’s angled effort on 55 minutes before the game slipped into a scrappy midfield battle with neither side able to take control.
Jonathan Grounds shot over on the turn in a rare Oldham chance before the Saddlers finally took control on 74 minutes.
The hard-working Adam Chambers fed Paterson and the winger worked space 20-yards out to fizz a low drive into the bottom corner.
Bouzanis then denied Paterson two minutes later after the Saddlers star’s jinking run while Febian Brandy shot straight at Bouzanis after Adam Chambers’ throughball.
Paterson almost added a third in stoppage time but his effort was blocked by Bouzanis but he wasn’t to be denied in the final minute.
Adam Chambers found him 30-yards out and the winger brilliantly lifted the ball over the static Byrne in one movement to run clean through and find the corner.
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