WREXHAM halted a run of four defeats on the trot at Boundary Park last night, thanks to Hector Sam's second goal in successive matches to earn a point that was fully justified by an all-round gutsy and hard- working performance.
But it was backs-to-the-wall stuff for the Dragons, who were forced to defend in depth for long periods against Brian Talbot's rejuvenated side.
Visting goalkeeper Mike Ingham made several key interventions but the defenders in front of him also showed great resolve as they withstood wave after wave of attacks from the home side.
Oldham, needing a point to ensure their safety, started confidently as was to be expected after their 4-1 mauling of Second Division leaders Plymouth Argyle at the weekend.
And the Dragons, with 18-year-old Simon Spender making his first start in place of the injured Carlos Edwards, had to defend desperately at times. Paul Edwards, back after suspension, was booked after just nine minutes for a foul on John Eyre, and from the subsequent free-kick Danny Hall headed wide from six yards.
But it was Wrexham who took the lead in the 19th minute from an excellent build-up involving several players, before Darren Ferguson slipped the ball forward for Hector Sam to roll off his marker and stroke a left-footed shot beyond the outstretched Les Pogliacomi.
Although the goal came completely aginst the run of play it was just reward for Sam's lively performance, but the home side's continued pressure saw Dean Holden volley an excellent chance over the bar before Paul Murray's close-range effort struck a post, the ball rebounding into the arms of Mike Ingham.
The visitors were struggling to win and keep the ball and Ingham twice showed bravery to deny David Eyres and Jermaine Johnson, while Edwards did well to block another effort from Johnson.
But the home side got back on terms in added time at the end of the first half through a freakish effort when Holden stuck out a foot to meet Johnson's wildy off-target shot and converted what would have been a throw-in into an equaliser.
Oldham had the ball in the net again within a minute of the re-start but Murray's effort was ruled out for offside and Ingham came to Wrexham's rescue again five minutes later, holding a snatched effort from Eyre.
The Dragons' chief priority was to get the ball forward at the earliest opportunity and use the pace of Sam to test the Latics' back four but their efforts to mix it up by playing through the middle rarely produced results and merely resulted in more pressure from their opponents.
As the home side pushed on in search of the lead, a massive kick from Ingham fell nicely for Sam, whose looping header had the beating of Pogliacomi but bounced just wide and the Trinidad international then turned superbly but narrowly failed to pick out the unmarked Chris Llewellyn.
The visitors were showing greater composure at the back but the three central defenders were constantly kept on their mettle by the raiding of Eyres and Johnson and Holden went close from 30 yards, his low shot skidding inches wide.
Oldham boss Brian Talbot threw on two substitutes in a bid to inject new impetus but it was Wrexham, with Paul Barrett on for Matt Crowell, who went for the victory as Llewellyn made a superb run with just minutes remaining but was robbed by Will Haining.