Peter Taylor's first game in charge of Brighton since his sacking by Leicester could scarcely have finished up any better, but from the autumn Sussex sunshine there emerged the gloomy possibility of his losing his best player before too long.
Bobby Zamora, the club's prolific striker, has been linked with several Premiership clubs in the last year, but here yesterday a Liverpool scout was present yet again, and with one pass setting up a goal and a shot well saved, Zamora did not disappoint.
Taylor had the best possible start to his three-year deal. As he said: "I knew they would start like trains. I'm enjoying it already."
Three weeks since parting company with the Foxes, his Brighton boys, who started the day in third place, were three up well before half-time and rapidly consigning Taylor's miserable last months in the Midlands to the distant past.
Mind you, Taylor will not get too excited too soon given his contrasting fortunes of late. Just his last 12 months in the game offer enough material to make Brighton fans either rub their hands in glee at the prospect of what their new man could bring, or fear for the future.
This time last year, Taylor, newly arrived at Leicester after helping Gillingham to promotion to the First Division, had taken the Foxes to near the top of the Premiership. With a void in the England job too, he took charge for their friendly against Italy, in Turin, and was being touted as a possible full-time replacement for Kevin Keegan.
Fast-forward to the present day and, after his ejection from Leicester, he has ended up with what appears to be a soft landing in the shape of genuine Second Division promotion contenders. Brighton had won their last game under Micky Adams, who has now gone to Leic-ester, and Taylor has carried on his good work. Indeed, he noted: "I've just got to keep it going and not change things too much."
Against fourth-placed Oldham, playing more like they were in 24th place, Brighton took the lead through captain Paul Rogers following a goalmouth scramble after seven minutes, and Lee Steele doubled the lead from a tight angle after 14 minutes. The jewel in the club's crown, Zamora, helped Steele to a third just before the half-hour to seal the points.
But in the middle of the carnival atmosphere at Withdean, spare a thought for Andy Ritchie. The Oldham manager is a former Brighton player, and 21 years on is still the Seagulls' record signing, but there was as much danger of his getting on the pitch as there was of his getting one over his old side on this particular day.
Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Oldham Athletic 0
Rogers 7, Steele 14, 28
Half-time 3-0 Attendance: 6,793Reuse content