Oldham Athletic made it back-to-back wins under the temporary managership of Pete Wild yesterday as they saw off rock-bottom Notts County 2-0 at Boundary Park.
Academy coach Wild proved inspirational again as the Magpies were sunk thanks to goals either side of the break from Tom Hamer and skipper Peter Clarke.
Athletic moved back to within just four points of the League Two play-off positions.
County almost went in front after eight minutes when a Pierce Bird header had to be bundled off the line by Gevaro Nepomuceno.
Magpies goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons denied Callum Lang and Johan Branger, while a good Athletic chance was fired off target by Mohamed Maouche.
The hosts made their 40th-minute breakthrough with a fluke goal from right-back Hamer, whose attempted cross flew over the head of Fitzsimons and straight inside the far post.
Athletic’s lead was doubled within two minutes of the restart as Branger swung in a free-kick and captain Clarke was left totally unmarked to prod home from three yards.
County created little and their misery deepened when substitute Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain - brother of Liverpool star Alex - was sent off in the 83rd minute after collecting two yellow cards in quick succession.
Athletic’s next game is their big FA Cup third round tie at Premier League Fulham this Sunday.
Meanwhile, skipper Clarke is now the evens favourite with bookies Bet Victor to become Athletic’s next permanent manager following Frankie Bunn’s recent sacking.
Ex-Coventry and Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley is rated as the 6/1 second favourite.