Oldham Athletic v Stevenage
Latics’ disappointing start to the season continued as they lost 1-0 at home to Stevenage in npower League One.
Paul Dickov admitted his side must improve having collected only one point from its first three matches after a Lucas Akins penalty proved their undoing.
Latics’ manager said: "We need to start picking up points, and picking them up soon. I know that and am not stupid to think otherwise.
"I know the fans won’t be happy and will be frustrated. We will roll up our sleeves and go again.
"Yes we are three games in and haven’t as many points as we would like, but we will put it right."
Dickov thought his side had a really good go at Stevenage in the second half and deserved some reward for their endeavours.
He admitted, though, when you are down on your luck the breaks invariably don’t go your way.
"I thought we had two stone well penalties for fouls on Matt Smith and Robbie Simpson," he said.
Latics’ manager thought his players were "nervy" at the start adding he wants them to relax and play good football.
He continued: "We were really tentative in possession as though the players didn’t want to make any individual mistakes.
"It looked as though they wanted to give the ball to somebody else very quickly which is what we don’t want."
Dickov had one enforced change as on-loan striker Jordan Slew was ruled out through a back problem. Carl Winchester was drafted into midfield as Latics went with a 4-5-1 formation with the idea that midfield men broke forward to support lone front man Robbie Simpson.
Stevenage had three former Latics’ players in their side – Filipe Morais, Chris Day and Anthony Grant.
There was a lukewarm start to the game in which Jean-Yves M’voto headed straight at Day while at the opposite end Marcus Haber flashed a header narrowly wide.
The decisive moment in the match came in the 33rd minute when James Tarkowski’s header back to Alex Cisak fell short of the keeper who brought down Haber just inside the box and Akins scored from the spot.
Cristiano Montano had an angled shot diverted by Day into the side netting while Simpson headed at the keeper as Latics looked for a leveller.
It was a case of Latics looking for a new impetus as striker Matt Smith replaced midfield man Winchester at the break as Dickov reverted to 4-4-2.
Stevenage, though, created the better chances early in the second period as left-back Darius Charles and Akins both shot narrowly wide when they could easily have doubled their side’s advantage.
Montano had a decent effort for Latics, but it cleared the crossbar by a couple of feet.
Connor Brown and Connor Hughes took over from Tarkowski and Montano as Dickov had made all three of his permitted changes by just after the hour mark.
Freeman had a great long-range shot, but Cisak pulled off a terrific save to his left to prevent Stevenage scoring a second.
Smith made a nuisance of himself and was unlucky not to connect better with a Dean Furman free kick as his glanced header failed to trouble Day.
Furman also had a great chance to equalise with nine minutes left but his goalbound drive was deflected just wide of the upright.
Stevenage held the ball well in the latter stages to take the sting out of the game and they could conceivably have scored a second late on when substitute Greg Tansey’s chip went over the crossbar as opposed to under it.
Latics (4-5-1): Cisak; Byrne, Tarkowski (Brown 55), M’voto, Grounds; Croft, Winchester (Smith 46), Furman, M’Changama, Montano (Hughes 63); Simpson. Subs (not used): Bouzanis, Taylor, Millar, Mellor.
Stevenage (4-2-3-1): Day; Gray, Ashton, Roberts, Charles; Grant, Dunne; Akins, Freeman (Tansey 73), Morais (Rogers 79); Haber. Subs (not used): Arnold, Ball, Thalassitis, N’Gala, Shroot.
The goal: Akins (33 pen).
Bookings: Furman (76), Byrne (84) for Latics. Grant (19), Dunne (53), Akins (90+1) for Stevenage.
Referee: Mr M Naylor
Attendance: 3,142 (111 visitors).