Oldham Athletic head coach Harry Kewell was left relieved by early goals in his side's 3-1 win over Bradford City at Boundary Park.
Goals from Dylan Bahamboula and Carl Piergianni saw Latics 2-0 up at half-time before Davis Keillor-Dunn added a third after the break and Paudie O'Connor grabbed a consolation for the visitors late on.
They had to manage without talisman Danny Rowe as Kewell named six changes to the starting eleven that lost to Sunderland in midweek, with the forward suffering an injury in that defeat.
Bahamboula's solo heroics
The Latics boss opted for a forward line of Conor McAleny, Bobby Grant and Bahamboula, with the latter making an early impact with the opening goal after just 10 minutes.
Reacting first to a clearance from a Bradford corner, the forward dribbled from inside his own half and into the penalty area before beating the defender and firing past goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell.
An outstanding way to open his account for the club, only dampened by the fact that there were no fans inside the ground to see it.
“It was fantastic to see Bahamboula get on the score sheet, he’s made some amazing runs this year but he hasn’t really finished them,” said Kewell at full-time.
“It’s always great to get (early) opportunities and score and get that kind of relief and I feel our attitude once the whistle went was spot on.
“But today it was great for him to get off the mark and hopefully, it continues.”
Three in a row
The result was the third time Oldham have beaten the Bantams this season after two cup victories although O’Connor’s late consolation denied Kewell’s men a first league clean sheet.
And with that win moving the club within four points of the top seven in League Two, the Latics head coach was full of praise for his players getting the result over the line.
“We knew it was going to be a scrappy game we’ve played them three times over the last month so we kind of know each other,” he added.
“At the end of it, I felt that we won the battle of the midfield. Ben (Garrity), Brice (Ntambwe) and Alfie (McCalmont) were excellent which gave us that extra edge.
“Carl had a couple of chances to get the run on his marker and it took until the third time to get the goal which was fantastic as he was persistent.
“And for Davis to come on and have an impact like that and connect with the midfield and get that goal was fantastic.”
Oldham face Walsall at Boundary Park on Tuesday.