Bury manager Kevin Blackwell threw down the gauntlet to his improving side after they pulled off a 2-1 victory at Oldham.

It was the Shakers' second win in three league games - and their first on the road this season - but Blackwell insisted they face a tough task to climb away from the npower League One relegation zone.

The Bury boss said: "We looked a decent side and that's one defeat in our last six games. Hopefully it's the start of a good run, but I'm not kidding myself about where we are at the moment.

"I've only been at the club for a few weeks and I know we still have a lot of work in front of us. When I first came here I made some critical comments about the players, so I'm pleased that they are throwing them back at me.

"We have to make sure we are competitive home and away so that we can keep ourselves ticking over. There were times when you could see we haven't been winning a lot of games, but we got the job done."

Bury dominated the first half and deserved their 34th-minute breakthrough when Matt Doherty crossed from the right and Cliff Byrne's defensive header hit Oldham team-mate James Tarkowski before going in for an own goal.

Oldham responded after the break, but Robbie Simpson, Jonathan Grounds and Jose Baxter were unable to convert chances. Bury doubled their lead on 86 minutes, Steven Schumacher slamming in a penalty after Tarkowski brought down David Worrall, before Oldham snatched a consolation goal in injury time through Simpson's deflected header.

Latics manager Paul Dickov slammed his team for their sluggish start to a local derby clash, saying: "We were really poor in the first half and it was Bury who showed more energy. We have been doing ever so well recently, but we looked a different side compared to the last few weeks.

"Bury were better than us in the first half and you can't afford to start games in the way we did. It makes me feel sick that we've lost the game and it's very frustrating that we let our standards drop.

"We should have had two stonewall penalties, but I'm not using that as an excuse. We had a go in the second half, but that's the least we could do after the first 45 minutes."