Sunderland ended a seven-match winless run as Lee Johnson’s first win as manager put the lads into the next round of the Papa John’s Trophy.
Oldham took the lead early on though Bobby Grant, but Chris Maguire levelled the score as the two side went into the break. Sunderland were the dominant side and made it count as Josh Scowen got the winner to see Johnson’s men through.
Being only one game into his tenure, Johnson named a strong side as he was still assessing his new side. The only changes from the weekend were Jack Diamond, Callum McFadzean and Anthony Patterson who replaced Aiden McGeady, Denver Hume and Lee Burge.
While this competition isn’t high on Sunderland’s priority list, a win certainly is. Playing against a League Two side Johnson will have no doubt been looking for a dominant performance.
Oldham were the first to have an effort on goal, Maguire played a sloppy pass - Danny Rowe pounced and unleashed an effort from 30 yards but was denied by Patterson who did brilliantly to save high to his left.
The hosts took the lead 13 minutes into the match as Bobby Grant had all the time in the world and fired home from 25 yards out as it squeezed past Patterson into the bottom right corner.
Sunderland’s first effort came from a Grant Leadbitter corner which found Flanagan, but his header was straight at Ian Lawlor.
The lads had responded well, Diamond was proving to be a menace, and the youngster picked out Maguire who fired a shot that was well saved by Lawlor.
Half an hour into the game Sunderland levelled, Diamond whipped in a good ball and with the aid of a deflection found Maguire who prodded the ball past the Oldham stopper.
Sunderland should have taken the lead following a brilliant team move, Leadbitter played it into Will Grigg who did well to pick out McFadzean who got his header all wrong from 10 yards out.
On the stroke of half time, Oldham were almost in as Grant skipped past Bailey wright, but Tom Flanagan came flying across to brilliantly deny the striker from going through on goal.
The opening 10 minutes of the second half were all Sunderland but were struggling to create any clear-cut chances to get a winner.
On the hour mark Sunderland created their best opening of the half, Leadbitter slipped in a lovely ball to Max Power, but instead of shooting, he tried to find Grigg when he should have shot himself.
Aiden McGeady and Charlie Wyke replaced Maguire and Grigg to add some fresh legs up top and get that second goal.
Sunderland took the lead 64 minutes in as Leadbitter’s inch-perfect free-kick was headed home by Josh Scowen to get his first goal for the club and a deserved lead for the lads.
Johnson’s men were searching for the goal to seal it, and Wyke put in a drilled ball looking for McGeady, but Lawlor did well to parry the cross away from the Irishman’s path.
Wright gifted an opening to Oldham as he miskicked the ball and fell kindly to Davis Keillor-Dunn who had a deflected effort brilliantly saved by Patterson.
The hosts were having their best spell of the game with less than 10 minutes to play, as Sunderland had gone from being in complete control to sitting back and inviting Oldham forward.
Diamond had a chance to kill the game late on as he cut inside, but his shot was straight into the gloves of Lawlor.
Full Time: Oldham 1-2 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: Jack Diamond
Sunderland: Patterson; McLaughlin, Wright, Flanagan, McFadzean; Power, Leadbitter (Dobson 70’), Scowen; Diamond, Grigg (Wyke 64’), Maguire (McGeady 64’)
Subs not used: Matthew, Embleton, Neil, Graham