KEITH Curle has encouraged Latics to play out the rest of the season without fear.

And he feels a hard-earned win over promotion chasing Exeter City can give them the confidence needed to carry out his instructions.

Latics came under pressure from a Grecians side not only chasing a top seven spot but also desperate to bounce back from back-the-back defeats for only the second time in League Two this season.

But Oldham showed a resilience that they have lacked at times this term and withstood everything Exeter had to throw at them to capitalise on breaks and set pieces and secure Curle’s first win in charge.

It was all the more significant that it came at home. Teams throughout football have found it more difficult to use home advantage with games being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, and no supporters to get behind them, but results have been particularly hard to come by Boundary Park this season.

Tuesday's win was only Latics' fifth at home. But Curle is hoping they can use the result - and the manner of it - as a springboard to a strong end to the season, with players boosted by how their gameplan came to fruition against a well-drilled Exeter.

"With all teams that we play against we are very respectful of the opposition but we're not fearful," said the Latics head coach ahead of this afternoon's game at Leyton Orient.

"I try to give the players as much information as I feel is relevant for them about the opposition and then likewise I always make sure I give them enough information of where I think they can hurt the opposition. It's getting that borderline right, being respectful but not fearful.

"In possession of the ball it wasn't the prettiest of games (against Exeter) but we knew we were playing against a good team that have got a good foundation that year in, year out, they're always up in and around the play-offs and they know what the formula is to be competing to get out of this division. We knew we were going to be for a test, even more so with them being on the back of two defeats. We knew they were going to be determined to break their run, so we had to be right in everything that we did, in possession and out of possession.

"I think the emphasis on us being in the right place at the right time out of possession paid dividends.

"We'll have a gameplan (for Leyton Orient) out of possession and a gameplan in possession where we pick holes in where we think we can exploit them. Sometimes that's with overloads, sometimes that can be through just raw pace or clever movement, or even set pieces."

Latics' midweek goals came from set piece routines they had worked on in the build-up, and Curle added: "The players' attention might last a little bit longer on the training ground when we're doing set pieces because the rewards are there."