Oldham Athletic 3 PNE 1Goals from Jose Baxter, Cristian Montano and Dean Furman gave the Latics the win over ten man North End at Boundary Park.
Akpo Sodje grabbed a consolation with almost the last touch of the game, but the home side picked up the three points with a three goal salvo.
The first came from a free kick just before the half hour mark from the Everton loanee was added to after the break by Monatano's run and shot and then Furman, the home side skipper, was presented with the third by the North End defence, whilst Shane Cansdell-Sherriff picked up two yellow cards during the second half.
Manager Graham Westley had made one change from the starting line-up at Doncaster, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff, a half-time substitute at the Keepmoat, replacing Paul Huntington in the starting XI.
The game was played at a high tempo without any real goal area thrust in the opening quarter of an hour, when the home side won the first corner of the game, however, this actually promoted the first real effort of the game for North End!
Thorsten Stuckmann claimed the cross with ease and set David Amoo away with a giant throw. The North End No.7 cut in from the left hand side and hit a low shot that was blocked by former North End trialist Cliff Byrne to give the Lilywhites a corner.
From Byrom’s inswinger the ball eventually came out to Bailey Wright whose low shot came into the feet of Stuart Beavon eight yards out, who spun and shot just over Dean Bouzanis’ cross bar.
However, the visitors took the lead just before the half hour mark with their first shot on goal of the game. Jack King was adjudged to have fouled Cristian Montano 25 yards out and Everton loanee Jose Bazter stepped up to curl a sweet free kick into the top left hand corner. Stuckmann got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep the ball out.
As the half progessed the Lilywhites exerted more pressure on the home defence and in the last minute of the half high tempo pressure from Beardsley and Buchanan almost brought the Lilywhites level, the latter crossing from the byline and the forward inches away from converting at the near post.
Then in the final action of the half North End had a strong shout for a penalty as the ball came into the box from the right hand side and Jonathan Grounds’ appeared to handle it away from Stuart Beavon, but referee Paul Tierney saw nothing and waved play on.
After the break Stuckmann was on top form to tip Baxter's acrobatic effort wide from a corner, which was swiftly followed by the introduction of Monakana for Amoo.
Nicky Wroe also replaced Buchanan all before the hour mark, but it was the home side who doubled their lead on 57 minutes as Montano collected Jonathan Grounds' throughball and split the North End defence before firing a low left foot effort into the bottom right hand corner.
Sodje was introduced to further add to North End's attacking threat, with all rolls of the dice made from a substitution point of view. Joel Byrom then tested Bouzanis from 20 yards, before Derbyshire fired wide from close range when it looked easier to score, and Stuckmann then palmed wide from the same man..
And it was 3-0 all of North En's making - they presented home team skipper Dean Furman with the ball 20 yards out and he was able to stroll in and stroke past Stuckmann.
Things were made worse when with 12 minutes left Shane Cansdell-Sherriff was given a second yellow card for brining down Croft and sent off.
Akpo Sodje went close with a header from a Byrom corner in the closing stages and in the final minute of stoppage time Akpo Sodje closed down Cliff Byrne's short back pass and nipped in front of the keeper to fire home to give some consolation.