A DEVASTATED Dino Maamria slammed the performance of referee Andy Davies as Oldham’s FA Cup hopes were dashed in defeat to Burton Albion.

Liam Boyce’s first-half goal ended the Latics’ cup bid but it was a controversial late incident that left those at Boundary Park fuming.

Burton 'keeper Kieran O'Hara clumsily handled outside his area as he raced out to clear Tom Hamer's ball forward, but referee Davies brandished a yellow card, with the home contingent clearly demanding a red.

Jonny Smith fired the resultant free-kick wide, and with it went any hopes of a replay as Oldham’s subdued first half came back to bite them.

"I'm absolutely devastated,” said Maamria. "We were much better in the second half, but we didn't take our chances.

"Probably everyone who left the stadium will have been talking about the big decision we didn't get late on.

"I'm baffled by it. It was a ball in behind, the goalkeeper is in no-man's land, the ball was going to go over his head for us to score into an empty net.

"The referee had one decision to make, and that should have been to send the goalkeeper off.

"That doesn't mean we would have gone on to win the game, but that was a big, big, wrong decision.

"The referee made it worse by explaining his decision.

"He said our player didn't have control, but how could he have control when the goalkeeper has got the ball in both hands?

"Apparently he's a Championship referee, but I don't know how he can explain that one.

"It was a big decision in a big cup tie for us."

It was the visitors who made the more composed start to the game.

Latics looked a little tentative in the opening 10 minutes, and they were almost punished when Brewers' wide-man David Templeton curled in an effort from a tight angle which only just cleared the crossbar.

The hosts eventually replied with Desire Segbe-Azankpo crashing in an acrobatic shot from close range which Kieran O'Hara saved well.

The Brewers began to gain more and more control as the game headed towards the second quarter.

Kieran Wallace's effort was saved at the second attempt by Zeus de la Paz just before the visitors went on to bag the opener.

Colin Daniel skipped easily past Zak Mills before crossing in low for Boyce, who tucked home neatly from four yards.

There was a scare for Latics early in the second period as unmarked Albion midfielder Joe Sbarra was denied by a brave block from Jamie Stott.

Maamria's men replied swiftly with Smith forcing O'Hara into another competent stop.

Just past the hour mark sub Mohamed Maouche found himself in the clear 20 yards from goal, but he shot tamely at a grateful O'Hara.

Time was running out for Latics, but they kept plugging away.

Defender Alex Iacovitti volleyed straight at O'Hara, while Smith also went close again as his left-foot strike fizzed narrowly over the top before the late 'keeper drama.

Maamria added: "I think if we'd have just got that equaliser we'd have gone on to win the game.

"It was a game of two halves.

"In the first half we didn't turn up, so I've got to get to the bottom of that.

"In the second half there was only one team in it. It was wave after wave of attacks from us, and that's what I'd asked for.

"Unfortunately that wasn't enough, so you have to give credit to Burton.

"You could that they're organised and solid, and they know what to do with and without the ball."

Oldham (4-5-1): De La Paz 6; Mills 6, Stott 7, Wheater 8, Iacovitti 7 (Wilson 86, 6); Morais 7, Missilou 4 (Maouche 30, 6), McCann 7, Hamer 7, Smith 8; Segbe-Azankpo 5 (Akpa-Akpro 78, 6).

Subs not used: Woods, Fage, Jones, Sylla.

Burton (4-3-3): O'Hara 8; Daniel 7, Buxton 6, O'Toole 6, Wallace 7; Edwards 7, Quinn 8, Sbarra 7 (Hutchinson 82, 5); Boyce 7, Akins 6, Templeton 7 (Fraser 74, 6).

Subs not used: Garratt, Brayford, Nartey, Anderson, Beardsley.

Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire).