TWO goals in less than two minutes proved to be Latics’ undoing as the new year at Boundary Park started how 2020 had ended here. With defeat.

Oldham had succumbed to Harrogate Town on Boxing Day, meaning they had only managed to register two home wins this season from 11 attempts in the league.

And that was a bad habit head coach Harry Kewell was looking to break as they 'brought in' the new year against in-form Mansfield Town.

Alfie McCalmont got them off to the perfect start, capitalising on a dreadful fumble by goalkeeper Aidan Stone to give Latics a sixth-minute lead.

And they could - and should - have built on it. There were opportunities, and there were decent spells of pressure. But two quick-fire Stags goals really knocked them off their stride.

A missed penalty by Jordan Bowery gave them a reprieve on the stroke of half-time but early in the second half Jamie Reid took advantage of a defensive lapse and finished the job before Conor McAleny’s late second for the hosts.

Kewell had been wary of Mansfield's momentum.

After a 14-game winless start Nigel Clough has really turned things around and the Stags arrived at Boundary Park having won three on the spin in League Two to push them a point behind Latics.

It was intriguing to see how an FA Cup third round defeat to league rivals Cheltenham would affect them. Stone's lack of conviction in goal suggested it might have.

The stopper looked to have McCalmont's shot covered but it spilled hopelessly out of his grasp and into the back of the net.

Kewell has craved luck, and Stone served up a huge slice.

Mansfield had created a couple of early openings but nothing meaningful, and Latics really got their tails up after getting in front so quickly. And they were deserving of the breakthrough, having been patient in the build-up and keeping possession well despite being forced back by the opposition, before seizing their opportunity.

McCalmont almost had a second within five minutes of scoring, after cleverly robbing Ryan Sweeney of possession in the Mansfield box, but this time Stone was a match for his finish.

Dylan Bahamboula teased his marker with multiple stepovers, but the move looked less impressive when the ball ran out of play. But the forward worked another opening and this time brought a good save from Stone.

Mansfield were growing into the game though, and would have taken heart from Latics' missed chances.

Another goalkeeping error, this time from Ian Lawlor, let the Stags back in. Lawlor charged off his line to try to punch clear a ball in from the left, but when it landed with Harry Charsley and he drilled it into an empty net.

It went from bad to worse for Latics as Mansfield were ahead just over a minute later, as Sweeney converted from close range.

There was a let-off for Kewell's men when Raphael Diarra conceded a soft penalty against George Maris and Bowery put it wide.

Latics rang the changes at the start of the second half with Zak Dearnley, Dylan Fage and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson brought on but the latter wasn't as switched on as he needed to be and Mansfield went 3-1 up instead through Reid.

George Lapslie rattled the crossbar and Lawlor saved Gordon's deflected low strike as the Stags pushed for more.

The goal came at the other end with McAleny finishing well after Rowe's deflected shot dropped invitingly for him but it was nothing more than a consolation.

Latics: Ian Lawlor; Raphael Diarra (Dylan Fage 45), Harry Clarke, Carl Piergianni, Jordan Barnett (Borthwick-Jackson 45); Alfie McAlmont, Ben Garrity, Callum Whelan (Zak Dearnley 45) (Andrea Badan 69), Davis Keillor-Dunn (Danny Rowe 56); Dylan Bahamboula, Conor McAleny. Subs not used: Laurence Bilboe, Tom Hamer.