Micky Mellon said his Oldham Athletic side gave themselves too big a mountain to climb with the first half goals shipped in their home defeat to AFC Fylde.

Latics trailed 3-1 at the break to a team that put three past them in the reverse fixture in October.

But Mellon felt it was the timing of the first goal in particularly, in the ninth minute, that was particularly detrimental.

Oldham ended the game with 10 men after an ill-judged second half sending off for substitute Mike Fondop, which the club are set to appeal ahead of the Easter Monday trip to Altrincham.

But the Latics boss felt the damage had already been done.

"The goals we gave away were really, really poor and it makes it doubly difficult for us.

"Then we don't really get going, but they maybe sit back and we get into it a wee bit more.

"The sending off is a disgrace. Fondop plays the ball and the guy wipes him out, it's as clear as day. I feel sorry for Michael on that one, he's got a really sore shin.

"But we didn't defend well enough, we gave away too many cheap goals and we gave ourselves a mountain to climb. And then when you create that environment by the way you give goals away and you find yourself in a really difficult place, it's always going to be tough.

"The goals killed us."

Mellon added: "They came right through the middle of us, we were diving in and the back four's getting too stretched, they're getting down the side of us, and it's crazy. Then we lose two goals from set plays, one really avoidable one where the ball gets played into the near post, we have a big massive swipe at it and completely miss it. It could be dealt with better than that. And then the other one's just a free kick into the 18-yard box. We've got enough big lads in there to defend that much better than that if we're going to be successful. So we find ourselves in a really difficult position by giving away crap, poor goals."

Latics have dropped worryingly off the play-off pace with just one win from their last nine games.

The one consolation today was that Solihull, Aldershot and Halifax - all teams above them - dropped points, meaning the gap to the play-offs remains at four points ahead of Monday's crucial game at Altrincham (kick-off 3pm).