Manager John Sheridan responded last Saturday's cup capitulation to Torquay United by making two changes, bringing Smith and Obadeyi back at the expense of Whitaker and Bowery. Dean Morgan made a welcome return as far as the bench and the team lined up like this:
Talbot, Trotman, Grounds, Smith
Mendy, Allott, Mattis, Obadeyi
Kieran Lee gave Oldham the lead after three minutes. Mattis's intended pass to Mendy appeared to take the Frenchman by surprise; the Latics' fullback nipped in and advanced a little before rifling a crisp shot past Soderberg. Oldham won the game's first corner on 8 when Furman's shot caught a deflection before going out. Soderberg came to claim the kick at the second attempt.
Simpson stroked the ball into the Chesterfield net to double their lead on 12 after Scapuzzi and Black passed their way through the Spireite defence to set up the chance.
Chesterfield won a corner after Clarke took Westcarr's pass and saw Cisak turn his shot behind. Breaking, Oldham went forward and Allott was yellow-carded for a foul on Kuqi that, with the Spireites' shape ragged, might well have prevented a third goal.
Oldham scored a third direct from a free kick on 17. Trotman fouled Scapuzzi on the edge of the box and a poorly-set-up wall was easily beaten by Simpson's free kick, with Soderberg in no position to stop the shot.
Allott worked the ball forward and Clarke headed it back to Obadeyi, whose shot whistled narrowly wide. Obadeyi tested the keeper with a sharp shot on 28 and a minute later,CRAIG WESTCARR reduced the deficit with a fine header from close range to convert Talbot's accurate cross.
Simpson finished a first-half hat-trick on 33 when a weak pass from Grounds was intercepted by the Oldham man. He was left with a simple finish into an empty net after taking the ball round Soderberg. Any doubt that Westcarr's goal might have put into Oldham's mind was shot to pieces, and the Spireite players were left with only pride to play for, and an hour of the game to play for it.
Furman went into the book for a foul on Mendy on 34. Chesterfield seemed to be able to cause problems going forward, particularly through Westcarr, but the notoriously wobbly defence looked likely to crack at the faintest provocation. Perhaps as a measure of his frustration, Talbot fired a shot goalwards from wide on the right, but Cisak was able to collect in comfort.
Halftime: Latics 4 Spireites 1. Attendance: 3699 (350 from Chesterfield.)
Chesterfield began the second period with the same eleven who started the first half. A brief bright spell from the visitors marked the start and crosses from Talbot and Mendy flashed across the net. Talbot attacked with purpose and crossed on 50, and the ball went out for a corner off M'voto. Before the kick was taken, Bowery came on for Mattis. Mendy moved to central midfield and Westcarr to the wing to accommodate the change. Chesterfield began playing with a high back line and Kuqi was caught offside - just - on a couple of early occasions in the second half.
Mendy went into the book after 55 minutes for a foul on Wesolowski. Oldham scored a fifth on 57. Smith fouled Taylor out wide, and deep. Simpson centred, and the cross was not properly defended. Kuqi was left with the simple task of nodding it down and in, without too much interference from a Chesterfield marker. Lee and Taylor cut the defence open a minute later but the ball ran out for a goal kick. Simpson saw a shot charged down by Trotman on the hour.
Oldham brought Morais on for Scapuzzi after 63 minutes, and swapped Adeyemi for Furman on 70. Grounds handled on 75 to concede a free kick a few yards outside the box. Nothing came of the kick. The hat-trick hero Simpson was replaced by Smith on 77. Mendy conceded a corner on 77 and Soderberg claimed it well. Obadeyi was given the ball by a Diamond error and crossed to the near post, only to see that his three targets were queuing up at the back stick. Soderberg saved from Adeyemi with his legs on 80.
Soderberg charged down a shot after a Trotman error. With four minutes left Leon Clarke got the faintest of touches to an Obadeyi cross to record a second Chesterfield goal. Two goals away from home would usually be enough to win a game, but not in front of this Chesterfield defence. As the game entered stoppage time Soderberg prevented Morais from scoring at the expense of a corner. Chesterfield broke from this and Clarke fed Bowery, whose shot whistled narrowly wide.