Oldham boss Keith Curle says his team are “still a work in progress” after his team won the Sky Bet League Two derby at Rochdale 1-0 on Saturday – and made a cheeky plea to one of his former clubs.
The jeers against owner Abdallah Lemsagam were drowned out by the cheers as Davis Keillor-Dunn’s spectacular winner earned only a second victory of the season for the Latics.
Although Oldham remain bottom of table, Curle was delighted by the reaction to the midweek 7-0 loss at Premier League Brentford in the Carabao Cup.
He said: “It was a great day for the football club. It is still work in progress, but we are going in the right direction.
“We have not made the best of starts, which has been well documented. We have to keep focused and if we keep working hard you have seen we are capable of winning games.
Curle, who revealed “there was a skirmish in the tunnel at the end, a typical derby game” pointed to having 15 players missing in midweek – including summer signing Harrison McGahey, who made his debut against Dale after the centre back’s long-running contractual issues were resolved.
Curle also gave a league debut to 17-year-old Portuguese wing-back Benny Couto, who was given 45 minutes at Brentford in midweek.
The Oldham manager admitted it was the perfect day as they inflicted a first league defeat on Rochdale in six matches.
“At the start of the day, Manchester City won, Manchester United lost and one final thing was needed,” said Curle, who had an illustrious playing career with City.
“I am a City fan, and always want them to win. Maybe they will give us a couple of their players,” he added.
It was a disappointing day for Dale, who had been unbeaten in seven league and cup games before their midweek cup defeat at Premier League Burnley.
Manager Robbie Stockdale said: “It hurts more being a derby, but we must use the pain to go on another run.
“We didn’t play well enough in key moments in the game. Oldham came and did a good job on us.
“We dominated the stats, hit the post and bar. We huffed and puffed but struggled to break them down.”
Rochdale failed to muster a goal attempt in the opening half and the visitors made the breakthrough just short of the hour when Keillor-Dunn bent an exquisite shot past former Oldham goalkeeper Joel Coleman.
The hosts were far more of a threat in the second period as Aaron Morley hit an upright and in the closing minutes Eoghan O’Connell struck the crossbar.
In stoppage time, O’Connell forced a fine flying save from goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler as Oldham weathered a storm in the seven minutes of stoppage time to record their second win on their league travels following their success at Sutton a fortnight ago.
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