Paterson's double helps Saddlers pile more misery on struggling Oldham
By MBeardmore | Saturday, February 02, 2013, 17:19
Walsall 3 Oldham Athletic 1
Npower League One
Jamie Paterson's dazzling second half double got Walsall back to winning ways as they piled more misery on Oldham's under-pressure boss Paul Dickov.
The Saddlers went behind to Lee Barnard's early header but James Baxendale's cool finish brought them level before the break.
And Paterson ran the show after the break with two superb individual goals handing Dean Smith's a deserved victory – their fifth home victory on the bounce.
Early on, Oldham's deadline day loan captures Chris Iwelumo and Lee Barnard – in from Watford and Southampton respectively – caused the Saddlers problems.
Barnard, in particular, looked bright and worked space for himself well just inside the box only to blaze wastefully over.
It was the visitors offering all the threat so it was no surprise when they took a 19th minute lead.
Lee Croft crossed from the right and Barnard got between Walsall centre halves Andy Butler and Paul Downing to power a fine header back across goal and into the far corner.
Walsall should have been level a minute later but Will Grigg sent a far easier header straight at Latics keeper Dean Bouzanis from six yards.
Oldham looked hungrier and they certainly had more to play for with manager Paul Dickov's job supposedly under threat after a rotten league run – despite last Sunday's FA Cup giant-killing of Liverpool.
However, their desire was leading to them giving away a number of fouls and Jamie Paterson fired a free kick just wide for the Saddlers after Grigg had been bundled over on the edge of the area.
Walsall were on the up and they drew level on 40 minutes as Andy Taylor set James Baxendale free down the left and he surged into the box before slipping a cool finish under Bouzanis from an acute angle.
The Saddlers were nearly ahead a minute later as Febian Brandy showed superb technique to hook Ben Purkiss's cross towards the far corner but it hit the post and rebounded along the line into the grateful arms of keeper Bouzanis.
Walsall continued to get on top after the break and Paterson's defence-splitting through ball gave Grigg a one-on-one chance but he put his finish too close to the keeper who saved with his legs.
But as the pitch continued to cut up, both sides found chances hard to come by, with a draw looking the likeliest outcome.
Oldham had a decent chance with 20 minutes to go as Saddlers keeper Ian McLoughlin flapped at a corner under pressure but Jonathan Grounds blazed the loose ball over from 12 yards.
And the Saddlers bagged the winner five minutes later with a superb goal from Paterson who ran at the Oldham defence before unleashing a right-footed shot on the edge of the area that found the bottom corner.
Paterson could have added another goal soon after but was thwarted by the legs of Bouzanis after another mazy run, this time surging in from the left.
But he sealed the win in stoppage time with a superb goal, flicking the ball over Cliff Byrne and racing on to slot past Bouzanis.