DINO Maamria was left downcast as Oldham suffered heartbreak against high-flying Crewe, conceding with practically the last kick of the game in a 2-1 defeat at Gresty Road.

Jonny Smith gave the Latics the advantage moments into the second half but Zeus de la Paz fumbled James Jones’ effort to bring the hosts level shortly after.

And as the spoils looked set to be shared, Charlie Kirk struck for promotion-chasing Crewe deep into injury time to end Oldham's six-match unbeaten run.

And Maamria was left wondering where it all went wrong, simply hoping that his charges can take the positives from a crushing finale.

“It hurts, but we’ll learn from it,” he said.

“We’ve got some young players there and I think we’ll learn from it.

“It’s a tough one to take to lose our unbeaten run in such a cruel way, but that’s football.

“I thought first half there was not much in it, both teams had a scrappy game.

“In the second half, we organised ourselves in the dressing room, we scored a fantastic goal and then there was a little bit of a delay in the game.

“We came back, and then we concede I think five minutes after with a really, really poor goal.

“The second one, the two goals we conceded on a technical and tactical part, they were really poor.”

Maamria made two changes from the side that beat Bradford, as Zak Mills replaced Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Mohammed Maouche came in to start for the injured Zak Dearnley.

Home skipper Perry Ng's teasing early cross just missed Chuma Anene as Oldham's de la Paz collected and Oliver Finney nodded on for Kirk whose lob before the quarter-hour evaded the target.

Harry Pickering’s low ball into the box was turned over by striker Anene as another Crewe half chance went by, while Tom Hamer broke forward and let fly a powerful effort which slammed not far wide from distance for Oldham.

Will Jaaskelainen calmly saved winger Smith’s effort on the half-hour, and Gevaro Nepomuceno’s shot did not trouble the Crewe stopper.

Kirk’s dangerous cross was missed by Anene and Carl Piergianni intervened, while Finney was closed down by David Wheater and snatched wide when he could have found the target as the encounter was goalless at the break.

Oldham took the lead not long after the restart when Nepomuceno found a free Smith and the Bristol City loanee slotted past Jaaskelainen as blue flares were ignited from the away supporters.

Piergianni cleared full-back Pickering’s low cross with Anene lurking, but Jones got the hosts on level terms when de la Paz misjudged his low 55th-minute effort and it trickled in off the goalkeeper’s gloves.

De la Paz got well behind Stephen Walker's 66th minute effort as the hosts sought to go ahead, while Pickering’s cross flew just over.

Latics stopper de la Paz parried Crewe substitute Callum Ainley’s dipping drive to safety as it appeared the honours would be even at the final whistle after seven minutes of added time.

But Crewe snatched all three points at the death when Kirk worked his way into the box to slot a 97th-minute winner past de la Paz and send the home fans into delirium as Oldham suffered a late defeat.

And Maamria says that the defeat was ultimately down to an inability to really force their authority on the match.

“I think there’s two things that we didn’t do today,” he continued.

“The first one was control the ball - we’ve been really good the last few games, especially at home and away from home as well, in terms of controlling the game.

“It’s something we worked on this week, we knew what Crewe’s strengths are and it’s frustrating,”

Crewe: (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen 6, Ng 6, Offord 7, Nottingham 7, Pickering 7, Wintle 7, Jones 7, Finney 7 (Ainley 84 5), Walker 6 (Dale 69 5), Anene 6 (Porter 58 5), Kirk 7. Subs not used: Richards, Green, Hunt, Griffiths

Oldham: (4-4-1-1): De la Paz 5, Hamer 6, Wheater 6, Piergianni 7, Mills 7 (Disereuvwe 90+9 n/a), Nepomuceno 6, Sylla 7, Missilou 6, Smith 7, Maouche 5 (Branger-Engone 81 5), Rowe 5. Subs not used: Allen, Wilson, Fage, N’Guessan, McCann

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Attendance: 5,271