League One Oldham piled the pressure on new Nottingham Forest manager Alex McLeish on Saturday with a three-goal blitz in a destructive second half to knock the Reds out of the FA Cup, reports Shaun Wheatcroft.
The Championship outfit began the better of the two sides and scored first when forward Matt Smith converted into his own net following an Andy Reid free-kick.
However, despite a comfortable opening 45 minutes, the home side failed to convert their dominance into more goals and were punished by a rejuvenated Oldham after the break.
Striker Robbie Simpson netted twice within four minutes before Jose Baxter struck a third after Danny Collins was sent off for the hosts - and that proved enough to see Forest crash out, despite a late consolation from Billy Sharp.
Oldham have failed to win a game in League One since early December and sat 32 league positions below the Reds, who are 11th in the Championship, as the game kicked off at the City Ground.
And in the opening exchanges the difference in the opposition showed as McLeish’s men created the early chances – Reid found space on the edge of the box and fired well wide before Dexter Blackstock was caught offside following a good turn in the box.
Soon after the Reds did score when a Reid free-kick from near the right corner flag was floated in towards striker Simon Cox and under pressure from the forward, Oldham’s Smith mistakably prodded the ball into his own net.
Simon Gillett produced a strong performance in the centre of midfield for Forest and did well to dispossess a Lee Croft ball before he picked out Radi Majewski who fired an effort that skewed just wide of Dean Bouzanis’ goal.
And before the break frontman Blackstock twice came close to doubling his side’s advantage – his first a breakthrough on goal that was thwarted by an advancing Bouzanis before the striker saw a headed effort cleared off the line by Simpson.
But in a fantastic second period for the visitors they equalised nine minutes into the half when former Huddersfield Town man Simpson struck from the edge of the box with a strike low into the bottom corner of the net past Reds’ shot-stopper Lee Camp.
In the seven minutes that followed the home side fell apart as Oldham hit another goal with Simpson adding to his tally as Dean Furman broke free down the right before finding a cross to the striker who looped his header in to make it 2-1.
And things went from bad to worse for the Reds as Collins was shown a straight red card after he was adjudged by referee Roger East to bring down Smith on the edge of the area.
Oldham made their numerical advantage count immediately as former Everton striker Baxter made it 3-1 from the resultant free-kick, striking through the wall of Forest players and into the bottom corner.
Late on substitute midfielder Lewis McGugan came close to grabbing a goal back for the hosts when his shot was deflected narrowly wide of the target.
And Southampton loanee Sharp did add a consolation in stoppage time when he hooked a shot over Bouzanis and into the corner of the goal – but it was too little, too late for a poor Forest side who go out of the FA Cup in the third round.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Moloney, Halford, Collins, Harding, Cohen, Majewski (Sharp, 66), Gillett, Reid (McGugan, 37), Cox, Blackstock.
Oldham Athletic: Bouzanis, Grounds, M’Voto, Croft (Millar, 93), Furman, Simpson (Taylor, 82), Smith, Byrne, Baxter, M’Changama, Wabara.
Man of the match (Forest): Simon Gillett.
Referee: Roger East.
Attendance: 11,293 (2,841 away).
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