IT WAS to be heartbreak for the terrific travelling faithful, but plenty to be positive about, as Oldham conceded twice in injury-time to lose on a dramatic evening at Ewood Park.

Two years ago these sides were meeting as League One rivals, with the Latics going so close to doing the double over Rovers.

Two leagues may now separate them, but the Championship side were given an almighty scare as Laurent Banide’s side went close to a cup shock.

They were good value for the lead which they held for almost an hour after Gevaro Nepomuceno opened the scoring in the 14th minute, driving in to oceans of space before rifling a left foot shot across Jayson Leutwiler and in to the corner.

The game turned however on the introduction of Bradley Dack, twice a League One player of the year and undoubtedly Rovers’ star man.

He equalised with 16 minutes to go, after Ashley Smith-Brown’s poor touch gave the attacker the invitation to find the back of the net.

Within minutes Rovers thought the turnaround was complete as a Joe Rothwell free kick found its way in to the net, only for the linesman’s flag to come to the visitors’ rescue.

And the Latics looked to have snatched a winner after that reprieve when Mohamed Maouche curled home from 12 yards out as the game ticked in to the final 10 minutes.

But in injury-time, Oldham hearts were broken.

Stewart Downing powered a shot from 25 yards out of the reach of Gary Woods before Dack turned provider to tee up Rothwell for the winner in the fifth minute of injury-time.

Rovers showed 11 changes from the team which lost at Fulham.

While Oldham may have enjoyed just 26 per cent of the ball, in a lively front three of Nepomuceno, Dylan Fage and Desire Segbe Azankpo, they caused Rovers no end of problems on the turnover of possession.

Christopher Missilou sounded an early warning, blasting over from the left edge of the box, the same fate for Greg Cunningham’s shot from a Downing cross moments later.

The first signs of groans from the home crowd began to arrive after Nepomuceno’s opener as a distinct lack of intent was on show, with Danny Graham and Ben Brereton becoming increasingly isolated.

Alex Iacovitti did well to deny Brereton a 40-yard dash towards goal with a well-timed tackle before the Rovers attacker had a great chance to level from Downing’s cross, before a fine block on the line denied Corry Evans what looked a certain equaliser.

 The chances continued to fall to Brereton but a header from a Cunningham cross glanced off his head and bounced wide with Gary Woods able to watch it wide.

Oldham were by far from under the pump though, or sitting back, springing defence in to attack at every given opportunity, with left winger Nepomuceno causing Ryan Nyambe no shortage of problems.

Mowbray’s intentions were clear after the break as Rothwell, Harry Chapman and Dack were all sent on by the hour mark.

They linked up to good effect moments later which should have brought an equaliser. Chapman’s backheel was followed by a Dack dink and somehow Brereton couldn’t squeeze the ball over the line, with a combination of what looked to be Zak Mills’ hand, and the post, keeping the ball out.

Dack eased some of the hosts’ nerves with 20 minutes to go with an equaliser which owed much to the nuisance factor of Graham, as he pounced on Smith-Brown’s mistake.

It was Graham’s turn to go close shortly afterwards, only for Woods to hold on to his low shot after good hold-up play initially.

Rovers did think, with 17 minutes to go, they had taken the lead when Rothwell’s free-kick found its way in, only for Dack to be flagged offside after a long chat between referee and linesman.

There were no such discussions to be had when Oldham re-took the lead with 10 minutes to go however, as captain Maouche was given the chance to curl home from 12 yards after Joe Grayson was unable to fully clear a left-wing cross.

Dack was unsurprisingly Rovers’ best hope of an equaliser, and he drew a fine save from Woods after a neat reverse pass from Chapman.

But no-one inside Ewood could believe he missed a golden chance, unmarked from 10 yards, after a Graham knockdown, as it rolled wide with the goal gaping.

There was a late sting in the tale though, as in injury time, Downing lashed it home from 25 yards.

And then Dack had the presence of mind to set up Rothwell for a tap-in and cue bedlam in the stands.