OLDHAM assistant boss Alan Maybury praised Zak Dearnley as his fine form continued in the win at Southend despite a knock preventing him from starting at Roots Hall.

The striker netted for the fourth successive game in the final minute to hand Latics a 2-1 victory over League Two’s bottom side.

It’s a happy habit the former Manchester United trainee is developing after scoring late goals in the win at Bolton Wanderers and the draw against Carlisle.

Dearnley was not fully fit for the trip to Essex however and only entered the fray as a 68th-minute replacement for Davis Keillor-Dunn, one of six changes from the defeat against Port Vale on Saturday.

Maybury said: “He was 50/50 with a knock and he certainly wasn’t fit enough to play 90 minutes. But he’s come on and contributed again, just like he has in the last few weeks.

“It was a great finish and it’s won us the game.”

The win leaves Latics 20th in the standings and piled more misery on the bottom-of-the-table Shrimpers who have yet to win this season.

But Maybury – who took charge of the team again with manager Harry Kewell absent after testing positive for coronavirus last week – felt his side were worthy winners.

“We got the goal and were on top in the second half,” said Maybury. “We hit the post, we felt comfortable and should have scored more.

“But fair to their boy, he’s put it right in the top corner from the free-kick and it’s shaken us up a bit.

“We showed good character and fitness to get a goal at the end though and it’s a good win which I felt we deserved.”

After an uneventful first half, the Latics took the lead just four minutes into the second period when a left-wing cross from Cameron Borthwick-Jackson picked out Bobby Grant, who fired home from close range.

Southend equalised in the 76th minute with left-back Tom Clifford scoring the first senior goal of his career as he fired home a 25-yard free-kick via the inside of the right post.

Brandon Goodship then sent a free-kick against the crossbar for the hosts and Oldham made the most of the let off with substitute Dearnley rounding an advancing Mark Oxley before firing into an unguarded goal.