Striker at the double
Fri 26th Dec 3.00pm
Ten-man Crewe Alexandra moved off the bottom of the table with a 2-1 victory at Oldham Athletic, courtesy of a brace from on loan striker Nicky Ajose.
That had appeared rather unlikely when the visitors saw their numbers reduced as George Ray was shown a red card for dragging back Jonathan Forte ten minutes into the second-half.
However, Ajose still fired them in front from a 70th minute penalty awarded when debutant substitute Anthony Stewart was held back by George Elokobi.
Five minutes later Elokobi made amends by drawing the home side level, only for Ajose to produce a glorious winner with just four minutes remaining.
Crewe had approached the game boosted by a tremendous victory over current leaders Bristol City last time out.
But they were put under plenty of pressure during the opening half with Jabo Ibehre going close and goalkeeper Ben Garratt handling well throughout, although both Ajose and Harry Davis threatened at the other end.
The Latics' position then strengthened when Welsh Under-21 international defender Ray was dismissed for the second time this season.
Mike Jones narrowly missed from the subsequent free-kick and full-back Joseph Mills also caught the woodwork with a twenty-yard effort.
Oldham had heavily lost their previous two games and suddenly fell behind again as Ajose calmly despatched a penalty with twenty minutes remaining.
That advantage didn't last for long, however, Elokobi forcing in an equaliser from Michael Tidswell's inswinging corner delivery.
The Railwaymen still claimed maximum points as Ajose then chipped a superb 86th minute winner from 30-yards after catching goalkeeper Paul Rachubka off his line.
But his opposite number Garratt was still required to make another decent save from Ibehre late on and ensure his side a welcome rise of a couple of places up the table.
Oldham Athletic: Rachubka, Wilson, Wilson, Elokobi, Mills, Tidser, Winchester (Dayton 84), Jones, Philliskirk (Johnson 74), Ibehre, Forte (Morgan-Smith 74)
subs (unused): Dieng, Poleon, Mellor, Coleman
Goals: Elokobi (75)
Crewe Alexandra: Garratt, Ray, Davis, Guthrie (Cooper 46), Baillie, Turton (Stewart 60), Grant, Ness, Leigh, Ikpeazu (Jones 81), Ajose
subs (unused): Shearer, Tootle, Nolan, Haber
Goals: Ajose (pen 70, 86)
Ref: J. Simpson
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