David Wetherall threw a protective arm around Joe Colbeck but conceded that the winger's red card cost City a crucial victory.

Moses Ashikodi's stunning opener put Wetherall's side on course for their first home three points since December in the battle to beat the drop.

But Colbeck, who was already on a yellow card, was sent off for stupidly kicking the ball away and Oldham hit back with a late leveller through Luigi Glombard.

Wetherall said: "Nobody is more disappointed than Joe. He knows that had he stayed on the pitch, the odds are we would have got three points.

"I can't argue with the second booking and he deserved to get sent off. We all know it's a costly mistake.

"But I don't want this to shatter Joe's confidence. He's a young boy learning in the glare of the first-team spotlight and that's not an easy thing to do.

"He's been exceptionally good for us in a lot of games he's played. Even when things have not been going quite so well for him he never hides and always wants the ball.

"We're all obviously disappointed - we were looking red-hot favourites to win until the sending-off - but Joe has got to keep focused on what he has done over a period of weeks."

Wetherall, who will now consider recalling Ben Muirhead from his loan at Rochdale, admitted it was another crucial two points dropped.

"The two performances over the weekend have been very pleasing but we don't stay up on performances. We really needed the three points."

City have only four games left to survive but Wetherall added: "If we can play with that intensity and quality then it gives us a chance. I don't think we're playing like a team in our situation."

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