Scunthorpe threw the preverbal kitchen sink at the visitors throughout the game, and finally got their reward, ten minutes from time, thanks to a fantastic strike from Scott Wiseman.
There were two changes to the Iron side which was victorious against Coventry City, as Charlie Goode and Kevin van Veen came in to replace David Mirfin and Paddy Madden respectively.
Josh Morris had United’s first attempt of the afternoon, finding his range with a free-kick that flew a few inches over the crossbar.
Chances weren’t in short supply early on, with Duane Holmes the next to take aim. Unlike Morris, his dipping effort was on target, but Oldham ‘keeper Connor Ripley got everything behind it, and clung on.
Ripley certainly had his work cut out in the opening stages of proceedings. His palms were stung once again on 17 minutes, as Morris drilled a shot across the face of goal. Luckily enough for the Latics though, the shot wasn’t parried into the path of an onrushing Scunthorpe attacker.
Graham Alexander’s men were in the attacking ascendancy, and creating chances at will. Some great approach play from Neal Bishop, Scott Wiseman and Morris deserved more, but van Veen’s shot on the turn was deflected behind for a corner.
All that Iron pressure would have counted for nothing had Billy McKay tucked away what seemed a simple chance on the half an hour mark. Conor Townsend had initially done marvellously to make a last ditch tackle, leading to the ball falling to McKay, who had the whole goal to aim at, but slid his shot wide.
Heroics from Luke Daniels then followed - not once, but twice. He denied the visitors' Ryan Flynn twice, whose two well-struck efforts were matched by fine goalkeeping from the United stopper.
Daniels’ saves were the last action of the first half, with referee Graham Salisbury shortly afterwards blowing his whistle.
The hosts started the second period at a frantic pace, and looked to have got their noses ahead three minutes after the restart. Following what seemed a game of pinball in the penalty area, van Veen crashed a shot towards goal. The Dutchman’s luck was out however, as the ball rebounded back off the crossbar.
Tom Hopper was next to curse his misfortune as, despite photos showing him glancing an in-swinging free kick from Morris into the corner of the goal, his celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee, who raised his flag to signal offside.
Ripley’s goal was being peppered with efforts, but the ball just wouldn’t go in. Goode thought he’d broken the deadlock on 54 minutes with a close range header. Much to his frustration though, Ripley stuck out a hand, and clawed the ball away.
It seemed that only a moment of magic would separate the two teams, and Wiseman nearly provided it minutes later. His run from the right flank was almost capped off with an incredible strike via the inside of his right boot but, like van Veen before him, the effort crashed back into play off the crossbar.
The pressure was then heaped even more heavily on the Latics, as Paul Green was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Alexander’s players never gave up though and, ten minutes from time, they finally made the breakthrough. Wiseman, who’d been cruelly frustrated by the frame of the goal earlier on in the half, made no mistake this time, as he volleyed home from the edge of the box, to send the Glanford Park faithful into hysterics.
In a game packed with drama, there would be one more moment, as the game ticked into injury time. Daniels had been a mere spectator for the majority of the half, but his reactions were superb late on, as he superbly tipped Ollie Banks’ fizzing drive over.
Daniels’ save made sure of the three points for Alexander and his side, on a memorable afternoon of football.
Scunthorpe United: Daniels, Wiseman, Wallace, Dawson, van Veen (Smallwood, 87), Morris, Bishop, Hopper (Margetts, 75), Holmes (Williams, 67), Goode, Townsend.
Substitutes not used: Anyon, Adelakun, Mantom, Clarke.
Oldham Athletic: Ripley, Burgess, Flynn, Banks, McKay (Fane, 67), Ladapo, Dummigan (Erwin, 85), Clarke, McLaughlin (Croft, 72), Green, Dunne.
Substitutes not used: Kettings, Law, Wilson, Winchester.