DINO Maamria blamed a packed Christmas schedule for Oldham’s dismal 3-0 defeat at Cheltenham.

Latics have not won since Boxing Day and, with the injuries piling up, Maamria says the Latics have lost all confidence following an inept display.

Max Sheaf, Alfie May and Ryan Broom all scored at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, leaving Oldham 20th in the League Two table, and the manager admits his team look totally different from earlier this month.

“We had a settled team, playing a certain way and then you get the mad period over Christmas with four games in two weeks, which stretched our team and I have three or four key players missing,” said Maamria, who handed a start to Gevaro Nepomuceno on his return from his loan spell at Chesterfield.

“I have one or two coming back from long term injuries. Before then we looked resilient, hard to beat, scoring goals and now we look a totally different team.

“A week is definitely a long time in football. I actually knew this period was going to be quite testing for us because we had a very good run of eight games, winning four, drawing three and losing one.

“We look like we can’t defend or score goals. That’s due to the change in personnel and injuries we’ve suffered.

“It’s always going to be difficult. It’s a shame as we worked hard this week to bring players in. We only clearance to bring Christian (N’Guessan) in today from Burnley.

“We were supposed to bring another centre-back in but it couldn’t happen. We only have one fit centre-back, who is David Wheater. 

“We know we need to strengthen, but it was good to see (Christopher) Missilou back and I thought he was our best player, showing commitment and desire after two months out.”

Oldham made a bright enough start at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, with David Jones shooting straight at Scott Flinders after a misplaced pass from Ben Tozer in the seventh minute.

Cheltenham then began to threaten, with Tahvon Campbell’s shot half-blocked and Sheaf trying to follow up, but his effort dropped wide of Zeus de la Paz’s right post in the 12th minute.

Campbell then provided the assist for Sheaf’s first Football League goal with a cut back from the left that was well finished by the Hull City loan midfielder.

A punch clear from Flinders after Nepomuceno’s cross then fell to Zak Mills, but he thumped an effort over the bar from close range in the 34th minute.

Cheltenham thought they had scored again five minutes before the break when May reached the ball before De la Paz and tapped into an empty net, but referee Brett Huxtable spotted a handball and it was disallowed.

Cheltenham started the second half on top, with Sheaf close to a second and De la Paz blocking well from Campbell, who had run through one-on-one after Sheaf’s pass.

The home side lost Flinders after a collision with Scott Wilson following a pass from Missilou in the 57th minute, with the experienced goalkeeper carried off on a stretcher and replaced by young understudy Rhys Lovett.

Oldham briefly looked capable of finding a leveller, with Jones’ effort well blocked by Jacob Greaves, but Cheltenham doubled their lead in the 76th minute.

Campbell provided the assist again, this time teeing up May who scored at the second attempt.

Lovett then made a fingertip save to deny substitute Chris Eagles 10 minutes from the end, but a comeback never looked likely.

Cheltenham nearly scored a third when Ryan Broom’s low cross was met by Campbell, but De la Paz denied him.

The hosts weren’t to be denied with Broom converting deep into stoppage time after Sean Long's pass. 

Cheltenham Town (3-5-2): Scott Flinders 6 (Rhys Lovett 62); Charlie Raglan 7, Ben Tozer 7, Jacob Greaves 7; Ryan Broom 7, Chris Clements 7, Conor Thomas 6, Max Sheaf 8 (Sean Long 85 6), Chris Hussey 7; Alfie May 7, Tahvon Campbell 8 (George Lloyd 89).

Subs not used: Rohan Ince, Josh Debayo, Wil Boyle, Gavin Reilly.

Oldham Athletic (3-5-2): Zeus de la Paz 5; Tom Hamer 5, David Wheater 6, Alex Iacovitti 5 (Chris Eagles 67 6); Zak Mills 5, David Jones 6 (Mohamed Maouche 73 6), Mohamed Sylla 5, Christopher Missilou 5 (Johan Branger-Engone 80 6), Gevaro Nepomuceno 5; Scott Wilson 5, Desire Azankpo 5.

Subs not used: Gary Woods, Dylan Fage, Christian N'Guessan, Jean-Louis Akpa-Akpro.

Referee: Brett Huxtable.

Attendance:  3,029 (216).