DINO Maamria hailed his side’s newfound defensive solidity after Oldham Athletic came from behind to salvage a point against Carlisle United at Boundary Park. 

Byron Webster gave the Cumbrians the advantage against the run of play, before Jonny Smith levelled for the Latics before the break to ensure the spoils were shared.

And Maamria, whose team now sit 18th in the League Two table and seven points clear of relegation, says a point on home soil was nothing more than his resilient players deserved.

“We conceded nine goals in three games recently, so what was important for me after conceding those was to make sure we got our house in order first,” said Maamria.

“We had to make sure we defended properly, and make sure we did the ugly side and the basic side of the game.

“I thought we defended really well overall. Going forward, I think everybody can see what Danny Rowe can offer us - I thought he was fantastic today.

“To be fair, it was a good game of football, it was end to end in the second half with both teams going for it. 

“I’m disappointed with the first half because I thought we were brilliant and probably played some of the best football we’ve played this season.”

Maamria made two changes from the team that drew against Stevenage, with Zeus De La Paz replacing the injured Gary Woods and a debut being handed to new forward Rowe, who signed from National League side AFC Fylde.

Desire Segbe Azankpo finished coolly after five minutes following great work from Mohammad Maouche but the goal was chalked off for offside.

Maouche then slipped in Christopher Missilou on 10 minutes who forced visiting goalkeeper Adam Collin to parry to safety as Oldham’s bright start continued.

Collin was forced into action again before the quarter hour to deny Maouche from distance.

But the Cumbrians took the lead on 25 minutes when Nathan Thomas darted into the box and Webster nodded home emphatically.

The Boundary Park faithful thought Carl Piergianni might have headed in the equaliser after catching Collin off his line from a free kick but the ball sailed across goal.

De La Paz denied Harry McKirdy before a Latics counter ended with Smith bending an effort just wide five minutes before the break.

But Smith had his reward moments later after getting the better of Gethin Jones and firing a deflected effort past a wrong-footed Collin to level.

And the Latics nearly went in front in stoppage time when Aaron Hayden’s poor clearance rebounded off Maouche and Collin was alert to keep it out.

De La Paz produced a fabulous fingertip stop to deny Hallam Hope’s thunderbolt moments after the restart, later stopping Thomas’ effort with his feet before the hour.

Brilliant work from Thomas on the right flank for the Cumbrians went unrewarded as McKirdy blasted well over in a let off for Oldham.

A Carlisle free kick was squared for Stefan Scougall and De La Paz again came to Oldham’s aid with a 66th minute block and McKirdy headed the rebound over.

Referee Rob Lewis was not interested in a Latics penalty appeal when Piergianni appeared to go down under Jones’ challenge with 15 minutes left.

Mohamed Sylla then crossed in from the left 10 ten minutes remaining for fellow substitute Zach Dearnley, whose effort crept agonisingly off target. 

“We didn’t take our chances and then we gifted them a silly, silly goal the first time they got in our attacking third, they scored from it, and that took the wind out of us a little bit,” Maamria added.

“We got back at half-time – we emphasised the point about staying on the front foot and trying to get that second goal as early as possible to make the game easier for us, but to be fair as well, they are a decent team.”

Oldham: (4-4-2): De La Paz 7, Hamer 6, Wheater 5, Piergianni 6, Mills 6, Smith 8, Missilou 6 (Sylla 66 6), N’Guessan 6, Maouche 7, Segbe Azankpo 5 (Wilson 30 6 (Dearnley 72 6)), Rowe 6

Substitutes not used: Allen, Iacovitti, Nepomuceno, Branger-Endone

Carlisle: (4-3-3): Collin 6, Hayden 4, Webster 6, Hunt 6, G Jones 5, Watt 6 (Kayode 53 6), M Jones 5, Scougall 6, Thomas 7 (Loft 89 N/A), Hope 6, McKirdy 4 (Charters 86 N/A)

Substitutes not used: Gray, Iredale, Sagaf, Anderton

Referee: Robert Lewis

Attendance: 3,977