FIRST-HALF strikes from Peter Clarke and Chris O’Grady made it seven games unbeaten for Oldham Athletic and this was their best performance of the season so far – according to boss Frankie Bunn.

Clarke’s 30-yard cracker put the Latics in front after 17 minutes, before O’Grady’s neat turn and finish doubled their advantage five minutes before the break at Gresty Road.

The win takes Oldham up to 12th in League Two and Bunn admitted he could not have asked for any more from his side.

“It was the perfect performance. A clean sheet and we’ve won,” he said.

“It’s probably the best I’ve seen us, in that first half. In tough conditions, we played them well. We started on the front foot and that set the tempo for the game.

“I thought we were excellent. First half especially, we came out of the blocks, we pressed them high.

“We were energetic, we had quality and that was from the goalkeeper all the way through. The first 15 minutes of the second half was much the same and then we’ve seen it out and we got the job done in the second half.

“Consistency is the important thing now. We’ve set a standard over the last month where we’ve been very good. We’ve had a few draws but we’re unbeaten in seven now which is a great run and we just need to be consistent now throughout the season.”

The visitors nearly got off to a calamitous start. Clarke’s slack pass was intercepted by Callum Ainley, who tried to feed in Shaun Miller. The loose ball ricocheted back to Ainley, whose left-footed effort from 20 yards was blocked by the legs of Oldham keeper Dan Iversen.

Oldham quickly fashioned an opening of their own, with Mohamed Maouche’s low free kick from 25 yards forcing a save from Crewe’s Ben Garratt after seven minutes.

On 17 minutes, Oldham took the lead in spectacular fashion. Clarke picked the ball up inside the centre circle, drove forward and smacked a stunning right-footed shot into the top corner from 30 yards. It was Clarke’s fourth goal of the season, and his second in two matches.

“It reminded me of Ronald Koeman,” extolled Bunn.

“He struck it from about 25 yards and it just nestled in that top corner. It was a great strike. He was positive, he was on the front foot, he drove and got his rewards.”

The hosts, rocked by that opener, nearly responded within five minutes when Jordan Bowery set his strike partner Miller free, but the Crewe man was quickly closed down by Iversen, who kept out the effort with his legs.

Crewe began to show improvement and came close nine minutes before the break. Charlie Kirk played a near one-two with Harry Pickering down the left, before Kirk fired in a powerful effort which was blocked by Iversen.

But it was Oldham took control of the game five minutes before half time. A loose ball fell to O’Grady on the edge of the area. He turned and fired a left-footed shot past Garratt and into the bottom corner to double Oldham’s advantage. It was only his second league goal of the season, the first coming all the way back in August.

Early in the second half, the visitors nearly extended their lead further, with Garratt getting down low to save from Christopher Missilou’s header.

Sam Surridge also went close for Oldham after good work from Callum Lang, with Surridge shooting straight at Garratt.

On 65 minutes, Crewe made a triple change, and it nearly had an instant effect. Substitute Owen Dale’s first-time effort from 10 yards forced a smart save from Iversen.

But Oldham closed out the win, extending their unbeaten run to seven, and edging ever closer to the play-off places.