Keith Curle challenges Oldham to establish a standard in run-in for next season

Keith Curle on the touchline
Keith Curle on the touchline (PA Wire)
21:57pm, Tue 20 Apr 2021
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Keith Curle has challenged his Oldham players to establish a standard for next season in their final three games of the 2020/21 League Two campaign.

The Latics ended any mathematical threat of relegation with a 3-0 triumph at Harrogate following goals from Alfie McCalmont, Dylan Bahamboula and George Blackwood.

It was a victory that took Oldham’s tally to 15 goals from their last four matches – and they continue to lead the fourth-tier scoring charts with 70 – but Curle was also pleased with his side’s response from Saturday’s 4-3 loss at Morecambe.

He said: “The mentality within the group was very good. I put demands on the players after Morecambe and it was a good response.

“If you get your mentality wrong at Harrogate, it can cause you problems. The surface is not the best because it’s a new pitch which lends itself to percentage football but we wanted to play and we stuck to that.

“Their man of the match was their keeper. He made two great saves in the first half and a very good one off George Blackwood in a one-on-one and, if the home keeper is getting man of the match, it shows you are doing something right.

“Now the important thing in the next three games is to start an upward curve for next season and make the club an attractive place for players to come to.

“We want to play expansive football and back it up with results and we need to be proud of our performances between now and the end of the season.

“The players also need to showcase their ability for potential suitors, whether that’s to stay with us or to go elsewhere.”

Harrogate boss Simon Weaver, whose team secured their League Two status for another season at the weekend, admitted the margin of defeat for the hosts could have been heavier.

He said: “The scoreline wasn’t a positive for us but, in terms of the performance between the boxes, we showed an intensity and a style of play that was pleasing at times.

“But we were beaten by a 20-yard goal from someone who was left alone at a set-piece and some sloppy play straight after half-time in terms of our organisation from a throw-in.

“Then the game got stretched and a mistake cost us the third goal. Our keeper (Joe Cracknell) has held his hand up for that, but he was kept too busy on the night and kept us in the game because they could have scored a lot more.

“We also did not benefit from the chances we created and did not test their keeper enough, even though their record suggests they are a team with a leaky defence as well as one that scores lots of goals.

“We were causing them problems but lacked that bit of quality.”

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