There was a tinge of disappointment from Paul Dickov that 10-man Latics didn’t leave npower League One high-flyers Crawley Town victorious from their first-ever visit to Broadfield Stadium.
"Rightly or wrongly I am disappointed we didn’t take three points and it took a deflected equaliser for Crawley to get back into the game," explained Latics’ manager.
Dickov was referring to Kyle McFazdean’s goal 11 minutes from time which cancelled out the strike from Jose Baxter which had given Latics the lead midway through the second period.
Latics’ manager was fulsome in his praise of his side which played 79 minutes – when injury time was also taken into account – with 10 men following Jean-Yves M’voto’s early sending off.
He said: "You have to give the players a lot of credit as for the majority of the match they were down to 10 men. They absolutely worked their socks off.
"It wasn’t pretty at times but when you go away sometimes it is going to be that way. It was an all-round very good team performance and our application was top class."
Dickov had no complaints about the sending off adding that it could even have helped his side.
"If anything it gave us an impetus to prove a point," he added.
Latics’ manager said that when his players give that effort, desire and workrate they proved they are a good team and they will pick up a lot points.
"When we work our socks off as we did here, against Preston and against other teams, we are a good team not many teams can live with us," he continued.
Dickov reverted to the starting line up which kicked off last Saturday against Leyton Orient as Robbie Simpson was restored to the centre of midfield at the expense of club captain Dean Furman who stood down to the bench.
Crawley, with six wins from their previous seven games, made the livelier start without ever looking like scoring.
Latics received a massive blow with only 20 minutes played when M’voto was sent off.
The centre-half reacted angrily raising his hands to the face of Kyle McFadzean who time and time blocked him as he made runs to meet a corner. M’voto also repeated his action when another Crawley player intervened leaving referee Gavin Ward no option to produce a red card.
Cristian Montano was immediately withdrawn to make way for James Tarkowski to slot into defence as Latics effectively reverted to 4-4-1.
Latics survived comfortably to the break with Bouzanis only having to make one save of note to block an angled shot from Nicky Adams with his feet.
Towards the end of the half Latics were temporarily reduced to nine men after Simpson went off for treatment following a clash of heads.
Crawley began the second half brightly as Billy Clarke’s goalbound shot was superbly blocked by Jonathan Grounds while Adams’ inswinging corner was clawed out by Bouzanis from under the crossbar.
The numbers were evened up just after the hour mark when Crawley had midfield man Hope Akpan shown a straight red card for a challenge on Simpson.
Latics took the lead five minutes later when Lee Croft cut the ball back from the right and Baxter’s shot was deflected high past keeper Paul Jones. He is pictured celebrating with Croft.
Matt Derbyshire had a great chance to seal victory in the 72nd minute after latching on to a bad back pass from McFadzean. He rounded Jones only for the keeper to manage to deflect his effort round the post for a corner.
Crawley equalised in the 79th minute following a period of sustained pressure.
Tarkowski cleared Jonathan Forte’s header off the goalline while Josh Simpson’s goal attempt was brilliantly turned round the post by Bouzanis.
There was no escape from the corner, though, as the ball was played to McFadzean whose drive took a deflection low to the right of Bouzanis.
Dickov brought on Furman for Baxter with nine minutes left to steady the ship and provide more solidity in midfield.
Latics lived dangerously in the dying minutes as Gary Alexander contrived to stab the ball just wide from inside the six-yard box and then see a header superbly turned away from man-of-the-match Bouzanis.
Claude Davis also had a header over the bar as Latics were forced to defend for their lives, but which they did magnificently to pick up a valuable away point.
Crawley (4-4-2): Jones; Byrne (Ajose 77), McFadzean, Davis, Sadler; Adams, Akpan, J Simpson, Jones (Forte 69); Clarke (Torres 64), Alexander. Subs (not used): Connolly, Hunt, Bulman, Kuipers.
Latics (4-4-2): Bouzanis; Wabara, Byrne, M’voto, Grounds; Croft, Wesolowski, Simpson, Montano (Tarkowski 21); Baxter (Furman 81), Derbyshire (Smith 90). Subs (not used): Cisak, Brown, M’Changama, Sutherland.
The goals: McFadzean (79) for Crawley. Baxter (67) for Latics.
Sendings off: Akpan (62) for Crawley. M’voto (20) for Latics.
Bookings: Davis (37) for Crawley. R Simpson (58), Wesolowski (77) for Latics.
Referee: Mr G Ward.
Attendance: 3,375 (350 visitors).