Rovers’ winless run at home was stretched to three games this season as former Doncaster loanee Jonathan Forte gave ex-Oldham boss Paul Dickov a reunion to forget.
Dickov brought on all the attacking power he could muster in a bid to restore parity following Jonson Clarke-Harris’s fourth minute opener.
But as Richie Wellens, Harry Forrester and Theo Robinson all came on for Dean Furman, Marc De Val and Kyle Bennett, seconds later a challenge from Luke McCullough on Danny Philliskirk was punished as the referee pointed to the spot.
Forte stepped up to coolly convert the penalty - nestling the ball into Jed Steer’s left-hand corner with the Rovers’ number one diving the other way.
Forte’s strike complemented Clarke-Harris’s early opener after the striker managed to bundle home a Mike Jones free-kick, stunning the hosts early doors.
Dickov had made just one first team change, the returning Rob Jones in for Liam Wakefield, from the starting XI’s Capital One cup heroics against Watford on Tuesday night.
But it was Lee Johnson’s unchanged men who burst out of the blocks and Rovers failed to respond.
As Clarke-Harris netted his first goal of the season, the Latics could have made it two when the impressive Forte unleashed an effort from distance - only to see Steer tip the ball to safety for a corner.
Paul Keegan then offered up a potential equaliser in the 17th minute which came as the Irishman delicately guided Kyle Bennett’s corner goalwards, only for Latics shot-stopper Paul Rachubka to get down quickly and gather to his right.
Reece Wabara then had his head in his hands inside the half hour mark as he broke free of Oldham’s offside trap to latch onto a throughball and powered down the right flank. However, the pacy defender dragged his effort across goal.
A good spell of possession from the hosts saw ex-Oldham man Dean Furman try his luck from 25 yards when the ball sat up nicely. But the South African midfielder’s long range effort sailed the wrong side of the post.
Kyle Bennett’s drive suffered the same fate just seconds later as Doncaster tried in vain to restore parity and Oldham kept their lead intact at the Keepmoat.
Both sides struggled to get into the game after the break as Dickov made a triple change - bringing on Robinson, Forrester and Wellens for Furman, Bennett and De Val respectively.
The biggest cheer from the Keepmoat faithful came after Wellens’ introduction in the 55th minute too.
However, disaster struck in the 56th minute when McCullough felled Philliskirk in the area with the referee pointing to the spot straight away.
Forte nestled Oldham’s second in the 59th minute.
Having returned from a three-game ban, Forrester had his first taste of the action in the 64th minute when he cut inside and blasted a powerful effort on goal. However, his effort sailed off target.
Forte thought he had struck his second for the club when Oldham intercepted a Wellens pass and Clarke-Harris fed in the Latics’ number 11.
However, as he rounded ‘keeper Steer and let fly, Jones was on hand to offer a last-ditch tackle to clear from the line and keep the scoreline down as the game entered the final 20 minutes.
Nathan Tyson cut a frustrated figure as he had a penalty appeal waved away before looping a hopeful header over the bar.
Tensions rose as George Elokobi and Jones both went down under a robust challenge, with fears growing particularly for the previously injured Rovers captain.
However, both players rose to their feet as the game entered the final six minutes of normal time.
The visitors should have killed off the game in the 87th minute, however, Aston Villa’s loan star Steer denied Athletic’s Philliskirk from making it three.
Oldham finished the game the stronger side as Forte powered a strike wide from the outside of his boot following good play from Carl Winchester.
And despite seven minutes of injury time taking place, Oldham kept their cool and retained possession well as the final whistle brought frustration to the forefront at the Keepmoat.
Rovers (4-4-1-1): Steer, Evina, Furman, Jones, McCullough, Tyson, Keegan, De Val, Wabara, Bennett, Coppinger. Subs: Marosi, McCombe, Robinson, Forrester, Wakefield, Wellens, Peterson.
Oldham (4-4-2): Rachubka, Mills, Elokobi, Kelly, Jones, Philliskirk, Forte, Clarke-Harris, Winchester, J.Wilson, B.Wilson. Subs: Coleman, Brown, Dieng, Dayton, Noble, Kusunga, Morgan-Smith.