IT was Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army who always had the mantra “Don’t panic,” even in moments of real peril for the Walmington on Sea Home Guard.

As Oldham suffered yet another defeat on the road the post-match phone-ins seemed intent on pushing the button and ejecting Keith Curle from the managerial hot seat at Boundary Park.

Latics’ league position suggests all is not well, but there are positives to suggest that Curle and his players can turn things around. The main problems for Oldham are elsewhere.

In Exeter they came up against a team unbeaten in 16 games in all competitions, a team with promotion ambitions, and a club where there appears to be a real unity both on and off the field.

Oldham lost this because of two individual errors, errors from two of their normally most reliable players.

In the 17th minute Carl Piergianni slipped as a cross came in from the left and that allowed Matt Jay, the divisions leading scorer, the easiest of chances to score his 10th league goal of the season. Then at the start of the second half, with the Devon skies darkening, Benny Couto misjudged the flight of high cross from the left, and the ball bounced off his foot straight into the path of Jevani Brown, who couldn’t miss.

Curle agreed afterwards that it was these two incidents which cost his team. “They were game-changers,” he admitted. “We started well and finished well.” Indeed Jamie Bowden could have given Latics the lead as early as the fifth minute, only to see Exeter goalkeeper Cameron Dawson turn his flick from a Nicky Adams cross over the bar.

Adams was starting his first league game since September and proved a constant threat on the right of midfield. Frustratingly he often found himself in space, calling for an early ball which never came, but his return to fitness is a plus for the Oldham head coach.

Jamie Hopcutt came on as a second half substitute, and Ousse Cisse was on the bench. Neither had appeared since August so gradually the squad options are improving.

Bowden almost scored with that flick in the fifth minute. Six minutes from time he scored his first goal for the club, a dipping volley from the edge of the penalty area which Dawson could do nothing to stop.

Curle said the display had both positives and negatives.

“There were bits and pieces I like, others I know we can improve on,” he said after the game.

The biggest improvement needed is surely to have people in the penalty area who can finish. It’s true that Exeter scored from a couple of Oldham mistakes, but at least they had players on the spot to exploit those. Latics didn’t.

Hallam Hope chased all afternoon but with little end product. Dylan Bahamboula had a strangely ineffective game before being substituted, and even Davis Keillor-Dunn was unable to fashion the sort of chance which has brought him success already this season. With increased competition for places it will be interesting to see what choices the manager makes.

Which brings us back to Curle and those calling for him to go. When asked about panic his reply was straightforward. “I’ve been here before and it’s not nice, but there are enough encouraging signs that I know we’ll get out of it.”

Those demanding change would do well to remember that Oldham Athletic succeed when there’s managerial stability.

Jimmy Frizzell and Joe Royle each stayed for 12 years. Since Lee Johnson left in February 2015, Latics have had 15 managers, none has lasted a year. That sort of revolving door policy inevitably leads to failure.

As Corporal Jones would say; “Don’t panic.”