KEITH Curle rued two costly errors as Latics slipped back into the League Two relegation zone with defeat at Exeter City.

Oldham started brightly against the high flying Grecians, who went into the game with a club record unbeaten run of 13.

But, after Jamie Bowden had an effort flicked over from a corner and Benny Couto went close, they were the architects of their own downfall in Devon.

First Carl Piergianni slipped on the six-yard line, allowing Matt Jay to control the ball unchallenged and bury it beyond Jayson Leutwiler in the 17th minute.

Then, after Latics got through the remainder of the half unscathed and were looking to make attacking changes, Couto got in a muddle in the box and, instead of clearing a left wing cross, effectively laid it off for Jevani Brown to finish five minutes into the second half.

Jamie Bowden scored his first league goal - a stunning dipping effort from distance - six minutes from time. But Latics could not follow it up, and dropped back into the bottom two courtesy of Carlisle United's draw with neighbouring Barrow.

"Their goals are gifts. We gifted them two goals," said head coac Curle.

"It's a long way to come to get beat by a slip in the box, and not being able to sort your feet out in the box.

"Probably on the balance of play we put more balls into their box from wide areas. But they are where they are because they don't make silly mistakes, and we're where we are because we're making those silly mistakes, but we'll change it.

"We started very well, and then you get smacked with a gift of a goal. How do you legislate for somebody slipping over? It's difficult to deal with.

"The second one we don't stop a cross coming into the box. Little Benny loses the flight of it and then has to make a decision. I think he lost the flight of it then lost track of where he was and then he's had to make an instant decision and just tried to block it. It fell straight to their lad who taps it in. We don't get that do we? We don't get people in the box. We've got too many people who want to play outside of the box.

"I said at half-time we can have one going short but we've got to get somebody else running in behind and that's that willingness and desire to run in behind.

And Curle is concerned about his side's lack of attacking conviction.

"Come the end I think we've had about three or four balls that have been put into the box and we've got too many people on the outside of the box. We're all stood there wanting a knockdown," he said.

"We need to create that bravery by entering the box because there are goals to be had.

"They got their first goal by being prepared to get into the box for the eventuality of somebody slipping. He's in there, has a good touch, great finish. We'd have still been on the edge of the box."

The return of three injured players was, however, a plus. Nicky Adams, who made his comeback at Ipswich in the FA Cup last weekend, started his first game since August and completed the full 90 minutes, while Jamie Hopcutt, Jack Stobbs and Ouss Cisse were named on the bench, with Hopcutt and Stobbs both coming on around the hour mark.

"It's good for Nicky to get 90 minutes under his belt, good to see Jamie Hopcutt come back in as well," said Curle. "He had a little bit of a snapshot and you're thinking 'give it another week-10 days he'll bury that.

"Cisse was available, which is good. We've got Sam Hart coming back, Danny (Rogers) coming back as well and it's timely because we need that competitive edge and that competition for places as well."