Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe singled out hat-trick hero Lewis Grabban for special praise after his team had overwhelmed Oldham 4-1 at the Goldsands Stadium.

Grabban scored three times in 18 second-half minutes after a goalless first half in which there was little incident at either end. Bournemouth are now eight matches unbeaten since Howe returned to the south coast from Burnley, while Oldham's latest setback was their third in succession to leave manager Paul Dickov seething.

Howe said: "Lewis has everything to be a top-class striker. He worked well with Lee Barnard and he deserved his goals."

Bournemouth went ahead in the 53rd minute when Grabban finished off a Harry Arter pass and Oldham were still reeling when Grabban got another seconds later, converting a right-wing centre from Simon Francis.

Grabban's third came in the 72nd minute in controversial circumstances after Bournemouth had been awarded a penalty when Arter was felled. Grabban wanted to take the spot kick but Arter, successful with his last penalty, won the argument to take it. Dean Bouzanis saved Arter's kick, but Grabban followed up to score from the rebound.

Howe said: "Lewis wanted to take it, which was understandable because he was on a hat-trick. But I'm pleased Arter took it because he had scored our last one. You have to think of the team in a situation like that and I'm glad their argument was civilised. I will have to think about who takes the next one.

"The lads were excellent in the second half. It is always good to get the first goal and we were mindful that Oldham had lost their last two. The good run continues, but we have a lot catching-up to do. We are keeping the momentum going and I'm happy we are still under the radar."

Charlie Daniel scored Bournemouth's fourth with an 81st-minute header before Matt Smith got an 86th-minute consolation in a rare Oldham attack. Dickov said: "The second half was embarrassing. To concede goals like that was embarrassing and we can't blame anyone but ourselves.

"I said to my players if you are mentally weak it does not matter how good a player you are. If they do not concentrate for 90 minutes they might as well not be there. I think they are all good players, but I have to question their mentality.

"I come out here to defend my players, but I look a bit stupid backing them after that."