Oldham boss Paul Dickov was proud of his stretched squad after they ended a four-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory at Hartlepool.
The Latics were missing 11 players at Victoria Park, nine of whom Dickov claimed would have started. However an eighth minute goal from Jean Yves M'Voto proved to be enough to secure victory.
The defender turned in a free-kick from Chris Taylor from close range and then played his part at the other end in keeping Pools out.
"I asked him what was more pleasing - a clean sheet or scoring? He said both, so I'll take that," said Dickov. "It's pleasing with so many injuries and players out. We had kids involved and I thought every one of them out there was fantastic.
"I think this was comfortable as we defended well but with the ball we are better than that. It's strange but we have played better in the last four games we have lost.
"We beat Sheffield United and people spoke about the play-offs, we lose a few and it's talk of relegation, but we move on and look forward."
Pools' defeat was only their first in six at Victoria Park, but worryingly they have not scored in their last four games.
Loan signing Ryan Noble and defender Peter Hartley both went close, and boss Neale Cooper admitted: "It was so frustrating, the most frustrated I have been in a while.
"Their goal it's freakish, it's hit his shins without him knowing much about it. Sometimes players need to be mentally strong, you have to offer a lift - can one of two do that? I don't know.
"We had to turn their defence, that's Ryan's game - get in behind and run at people. It was frustrating and I feel one to two have to show better and show bottle."