OLDHAM eased into the third round of the FA Cup at the expense of non-league Maidstone and manager Frankie Bunn is already dreaming of a clash with Manchester City.

Most sides would love to take on the best team in the country but Bunn has more reason than most to want to face Pep Guardiola, having spent more than a decade at the club.

And after watching goals from Peter Clarke and Chris O’Grady seal a comfortable 2-0 win over Maidstone, the former reserve manager Bunn had already started looking ahead to Monday’s draw.

He said: “I just want a big Premier League side away from home. I’d like Manchester City having worked there for a number of years. But any big one away from home will get some finances into the club.

“I thought we were very professional. It was a physical encounter, they were quite dangerous at times and it had a volatile atmosphere – the Maidstone supporters came out in their numbers and they were very vocal, and ours were also terrific – which added to the mix. Add in the plastic pitch and it’s got an upset written all over it. But the boys stayed strong and I commend them on that – it was a brutal battle.

“It was a test – not so much the rain; that added to the tempo of the ball on the artificial pitch, but in terms of the style of their play and what we had to combat we did a professional job.”

An FA Cup classic this wasn’t, as neither side looked like taking control before the Latics’ 36-year-old captain scored his third goal of the season to open the scores.

He tapped home a well-worked set-piece on 17 minutes after Sam Edmundson deflected Gevaro Nepomuceno’s deep free-kick into his path.

The Latics controlled the remainder of the first half following Clarke’s opener, and twice almost doubled their advantage through leading scorer Sam Surridge. He headed narrowly over on 25 minutes, before Stones goalkeeper Grant Smith tipped his volley onto the bar shortly after.

Mohammed Maouche also shot wide for the visitors, who made light of the 3G pitch, strong winds and constant rain in the first 45.

Maidstone’s best chances of the opening half came in its final two minutes. Elliott Romain wasted the best of them, as he shot straight at Daniel Iversen from 12 yards after Jake Cassidy had shaken off Edmundson to get his low cross into the box. Then, in stoppage time, Jack Powell’s curling free-kick deflected just wide of Iversen’s left-hand post.

Oldham started brightly after the break, with Maouche curling into Smith’s hands from the edge of the box within three minutes of the restart. The energetic Frenchman almost turned provider on 52 minutes, but Surridge’s header from his corner was cleared off the line by Stones’ stand-in captain Jack Paxman.

A good Iversen save on 64 minutes prevented Romain from making amends for his first-half miss after the Stones striker had battled to win the ball in the box.

However, O’Grady sealed the victory for the two-time semi-finalists six minutes from time with a fine solo effort that saw him turn Will De Havilland before beating Smith from a tight angle.

Bunn added: “We knew we had to started brightly and the early goal settled us a little bit. That goal gave us something to defend.

“When you go a goal behind it’s hard. We then had to just look after ourselves and manage the game – the lads did that really well and we kept them at bay. It wasn’t a game for the purists but that’s something we’ve overcome.”

Maidstone United: Grant Smith, Michael Phillips, Will De Havilland, Alex Finney (Dylan Florence 87), George McLennan, Olumide Durojaiye (Ollie Muldoon 75), Jack Powell, Jack Paxman, Aryan Tajbakhsh, Elliott Romain, Jake Cassidy.

Subs not used: Josh Strizovic, Cameron Williams, James Tingley, Jack Richards.

Oldham Athletic: Daniel Iversen 7, Cameron Dummigan 6, Peter Clarke 8, George Edmundson 7, Rob Hunt 6, Callum Lang 6, Mohamed Maouche 7, Christopher Missilou 7, Gevaro Nepomuceno 6, Sam Surridge 8, Chris O’Grady 6.

Subs not used: Ewan McFarlane, Sam Graham, Tom Hamer, Giles Coke, Johan Branger-Engone, Jack Williams, Max Norman.

Referee: Alan Young.

Attendance: 3,650 (426 away).