ALFIE McCalmont returned to Yorkshire with a bang to fire Latics to Football League safety.

The Thirsk-born midfielder, on loan from Leeds United, got Keith Curle's men on the front foot with his 10th goal of the season - a stunning strike from the edge of the box that crashed in off the underside of the bar.

Latics were even faster out of the traps in the second half, doubling their advantage inside the opening 30 seconds thanks to a cool and composed Dylan Bahamboula, before substitute George Blackwood marked his return to action with the third.

And to top off the win, Laurie Walker overcame a back injury to keep a sought-after clean sheet.

It was the response Curle was looking for after the disappointment of shipping four in defeat at Morecambe on Saturday.

The goals at Harrogate, who Oldham leapfrogged in the table to climb to 15th, have set a new club record, with 40 the most away goals ever scored by the club.

Had home form been replicated, Latics would be challenging at the top end, instead of mingling in the middle. They are fifth in the away standings.

But with their League Two status rubber-stamped now is the time for the owners to start making plans for future and building on the progress made under Curle, with Curle surely at the forefront of their thoughts.

The Latics head coach, who as things stands has three games left in charge, made one change to the weekend line-up but crucially he changed the back three to a back five.

Having been exposed against Morecambe, who got forward in numbers, Curle added defensive reinforcements to combat Harrogate's aerial bombardment.

Callum Whelan and Alfie McCalmont sat deeper in midfield, with Bahamboula and Conor McAleny further up in support of Davis Keillor-Dunn to effectively form a front three when deep in the opposition's half.

Nicky Adams returned to the line-up for the first time since the Good Friday defeat at home to Stevenage to fill the wing back role but his presence was most significantly felt at set pieces with his corner deliveries causing problems for the home side.

Despite safety in numbers at the back, Latics had to survive an early scare when a defensive slip-up straight from Latics' kick-off led to a chance for Josh McPake. Walker looked to have it covered but Harry Clarke made certain with an emphatic clearance behind for a corner. The corner came to nothing, Latics regrouped and took the lead just a few minutes later.

An Adams corner was headed by Cameron Borthwick-Jackson at the far right post but Harrogate scrambled it clear.

Latics got forward again quickly and Bahamboula and Keillor-Dunn combined effectively in the box to force another corner.

Adams' delivery was half cleared with a flicked head and landed at the feet of McCalmont on the edge of the box, and the midfielder hit double figures for the season with a stunning shot in off the underside of the bar.

From there Latics had to manage a brief spell of pressure from the home side, who had Jon Stead up front.

But it wasn't long before they were back on the front foot and Borthwick-Jackson met an Adams corner with a thumping header that the keeper knew nothing about but managed to keep out, before Bahamboula fired into the side netting, then McAleny was somehow thwarted by Joe Cracknell too.

Bahamboula showed better composure in the first minute of the second half as, after Harry Clarke's fierce effort was parried, Congo international Bahamboula controlled the rebound and coolly left the keeper on his backside by shifting the ball between his feet before bulging the net.

Fit-again Blackwood marked his second game back with a goal from the bench to seal the victory, and was unlucky not to add a second in a one-on-one with the keeper, while Marcus Barnes got in a similar position after coming off the bench for his first appearance since February.

As it was, three goals and three points equals safety. The question now is, will it lead to stability with Curle? It certainly should.