THERE has been no hiding from a tough start to the season for Oldham Athletic but victory in a local derby has to be the turning point for the Latics.

That was the assessment of Keith Curle, and the commitment on display at the Crown Oil Arena in Oldham’s 1-0 win against Rochdale will certainly give reasons for hope in what could be a tough battle to beat the drop.

Of course, it is still very early and the worry of relegation may be in the rear view mirror by the time the end of season rolls around. That will certainly be more likely with more performances like this, in which Davis Keillor-Dunn sealed a deserved three points.

And Curle, who has dealt with so much already in his short time in charge, clearly believes this is a performance that can mean much more than just three points.

He said: “This is a football club day because the players certainly needed it, the fans desperately needed it and desperately wanted it. I think you can tell by their reaction during the game, through the game and at the end of the game.

“They saw their team put in a performance that had all the ingredients that they’re looking for – commitment, desire, application, willingness and a little bit of skill as well. And I’ve got to say discipline. What I’ve always said to the players is if you show these supporters that, they will stand there and they will sing.”

The next step for the team has to be a home win. Rochdale might be just down the road, but the fans have been waiting a long time for a win at Boundary Park in the league.

Both victories so far have come on their travels, and next up is a clash with in-form Harrogate who are third in League Two.

But if Oldham can produce the sort of performance they managed here, and continue their improved defensive showing, then the fans might finally get the win they have been waiting for.