Harry Kewell admitted that Joss Labadie’s early red card was the turning point as his Oldham side went on to defeat stuttering Newport 3-2 at Boundary Park.
Skipper Labadie saw red in the 15th minute, leaving the Exiles facing an uphill battle as their Sky Bet League Two automatic promotion bid continues to falter.
The Latics bagged their first win in over a month – which also came against Newport, on December 19 – and that 4-2 scoreline could have been repeated, only for Dylan Bahamboula to fluff a late penalty.
“Well, there was plenty to entertain everyone in that game,” said Kewell, weighing up an action-packed clash. “For the people who were inside the stadium it was a great game.
“The turning point was probably the red card. It came early, but once we’d settled down a bit we really started to get on top, and in the end I thought we controlled the game.
“We managed to get ourselves on the front foot and at times in the second half, I thought we looked comfortable.
“I wasn’t always happy with some of our defending, but thankfully it didn’t cost us in the end and we’ve secured a really important three points.
“Credit to my players. Despite what some people think, it’s never easy to play against 10 men. You have to play in a certain way and reorganise yourselves properly.
“Newport are a very good team, but all my lads worked so hard today.
“We used the wide areas well, and the new signings – Marcel Hilssner, Nicky Adams and Marcus Barnes all played their part, too.”
The visitors struck after only two minutes when debutant Luke Gambin swung in a great cross from the right and Jake Scrimshaw nodded comfortably past Oldham’s late replacement keeper Laurence Bilboe.
Just six minutes later the scores were level when Davis Keillor-Dunn fired home from 12 yards and Newport’s cause was further hampered in the 15th minute when skipper Labadie was shown a red card after swinging an arm into the face of midfield opponent Marcel Hilssner.
Oldham scored again when Bobby Grant tapped home after Tom King could only parry Conor McAleny’s shot, before Gambin’s cracker from 20 yards made it 2-2 before the interval.
The decisive effort proved to be an own goal from Mickey Demetriou with 16 minutes left, while Bahamboula then also skied a penalty kick late on after the Newport keeper hauled down McAleny.
Exiles boss Michael Flynn was not impressed with skipper Labadie, saying: “He’s let me down, and he’s let all his team-mates down.
“It’s just not good enough and we’ve had a word about it. There’s no complaints from me about the decision, but I do think Oldham should have been down to 10 men too.”
County are now without a win in seven league games, a run which stretched back to early December.
Flynn added: “The lads worked extremely hard early in the game, we started well, but again we’ve given three soft goals away and that’s affecting us badly.
“That’s six points we’ve given Oldham this season now, and it isn’t good enough.
“It’s no wins in eight if you include the FA Cup and the three that we have lost are the three that we should have won.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe