PACE and confidence.
Oldham have plenty of both, Town not much of either and oh, how it showed in this showdown.
Town were left shell-shocked as John Sheridan's in-form side made it four League I wins on the trot.
For Peter Jackson, it was a third defeat in four league games, the other of which was the 1-1 home draw with Scunthorpe, and a fourth loss in five matches in all competitions.
And if the Johnstone's Paint Trophy is included, Town have now lost four of their last five home games, two of them by 3-0 margins.
The statistics are worrying, as was the fact that once Chris Porter had put Oldham two up with 31 minutes still to play, Town seemed resigned to their fate.
Going behind in games is nothing new, but on previous occasions, particularly against Brentford, Tranmere and Port Vale, Town showed admirable battling spirit.
Not so on Saturday, when the best they could manage by way of a response were a trio of Luke Beckett half-chances.
Both Beckett and Andy Booth, who played alongside each other as Jackson reverted to two up front, are proven goalscorers, but Town are not creating nearly enough of the type of chances they thrive on.
Oldham, on the other hand, had opportunities aplenty, and could have ended with half a dozen goals as the home defence were once again stretched.
There was a warning sign after only three minutes when Oldham frontman Chris Porter, who had scored both goals in the previous week's 2-0 home win over Bradford, glanced a header just wide.
Beckett had a powerful shot blocked while Chris Brandon, playing wide left in place of Danny Schofield and looking Town's most lively performer early on, had a decent effort saved by Aussie stopper Les Pogliacomi.
But the Latics were looking sharp in attrack, and on 14 minutes, Gary McDonald fired a left footer just over before opening Oldham's account two minutes later.
Keeper Matt Glennon palmed away Paul Warne's floating cross from the left - perhaps he should have made sure and conceded a corner - and McDonald finished slickly from a narrow angle.
Booth's 18th-minute shot on the turn, after good work by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, was held before David Mirfin made a crucial penalty-area tackle on Chris Taylor.
Andy Liddell fired wide from distance before Taylor seized on a mis-hit Nathan Clarke ball to run 60 yards unchecked and curl a shot narrowly wide.
Then Richie Wellens shrugged off Jon Worthington's challenge only to drive his shot off target.
Hopes that the half-time break would give Town chance to regroup proved unfounded as Oldham took up where they had left off.
McDonald took a fresh-air shot at Wellens' inviting 52nd-minute cross, then had an effort parried, before, on 59 minutes, Taylor beat right-back Andy Holdsworth and crossed for Porter to sidefoot his 11th goal of the campaign.
Eight minutes later, the Latics were three up as Paul Warne got a touch to Liddell's 20-yard drive, leaving Glennon with no chance.
Porter headed wide from Marc Tierney's cross when it seemed easier to score while substitute Tomasz Cywka fired one effort narrowly past a post and another across the face of goal as the visitors turned the screw.
Chris Porter's sidefooted 59th-minute goal put Oldham two up and firmly extinguished hopes of a Town fightback. They forced a draw at Tranmere after being two adrift, but looked incapable of a repeat act on Saturday. The Latics underlined their domination with a third after 67 minutes and could have ended up with half a dozen.
How They Rated?:
Matt Glennon Not much he could do about the other two, but at fault for Oldham's opener, when he could only parry a cross. Rating: 3/10
Andy Holdsworth On his return from a one-match suspension, was given a testing afternoon by the lively Chris Taylor. Rating: 3/10
Joe Skarz Suffered from the malaise which afflicted most of the side, but that shouldn't detract from his recent impact. Rating: 3/10
David Mirfin While he will be disappointed at the concession of three goals, didn't do too much wrong himself. Rating: 4/10
Nathan Clarke Produced a mixed display before being forced off with a knee injury three minutes before half-time. Rating: 3/10
Gary T-Fletcher Struggled to make much impact against Town old by Simon Charlton and came off after 72 minutes. Rating: 3/10
Jon Worthington An unhappy return from a one-match ban and will be desperate to put things right at Millwall tomorrow week. Rating: 3/10
Mark Hudson Never managed to impose himself in the midfield battle and was brought off after 72 minutes. Rating: 3/10
Chris Brandon Preferred to Danny Schofield on the left and looked lively in the first half before going off the boil in the second. Rating: 3/10
Andy Booth Plenty of perspiration but little end-product as centre-backs Sean Gregan and Will Haining ruled the roost. Rating: 3/10
Luke Beckett 30th birthday boy was unable to celebrate against the side he played for on loan last season. Rating: 3/10
Spotlight on the Ref
Somerset's Steve Tanner, due to be fourth official at Aston Villa versus Middlesbrough but called in when Ray Lee, of Essex, withdrew injured, kept the game flowing but was a touch too lenient. He allowed Richie Wellens to get away with a foul from behind, then an immediate foot in the back of Jon Worthington, and later, an apparent elbow.
Pogliacomi, Eardley, Charlton, McDonald (Rocastle, 82mins), Haining, Gregan, Liddell, Wellens (Cywka, 82mins), Porter, Warne, Taylor (Tierney, 76mins). Subs not used: Hall, Legzdins (glk).