Latics discovered how cruel football can be as they lost 4-1 at Yeovil Town in npower League One.
The scoreline was far from a true reflection of the game as Yeovil were grimly clinging on to a slender 2-1 advantage with 13 minutes left as Latics laid siege to the home goal.
Latics were unable to turn possession and territorial advantage into goals before Yeovil sealed victory with two late goals.
And a bad day got a whole lot worse when Robbie Simpson’s sending off will result in a costly three-match suspension
It left Latics’ manager Paul Dickov to reflect on a "frustrating" afternoon as he said: "We started the second half ever so well and I was standing watching thinking we would not only equalise but probably go on to win the game.
"We had chances and balls cleared off the line and then one break and before we know it we were 3-1 behind and straight after that down to 10 men.
"It may seem stupid after you have been beaten 4-1, but I feel we ought to have taken something from the game.
"We created enough chances to have won the game and were slightly unlucky. But, you cannot call yourself unlucky when you have lost 4-1."
Latics’ manager was unhappy with his side’s defending saying the defending for all four of Yeovil’s goals was poor.
And looking ahead to the festive programme, Dickov continued: "The best thing we have is a game coming very soon and another after that.
"What we have to do is to dig ourselves out of the hole that we have now put ourselves back into."
Latics made two changes from the side which was beaten at home by Swindon Town as Dean Bouzanis returned in goal and Matt Smith won a starting spot up front following Matt Derbyshire’s return to Nottingham Forest.
They could not have wished for a better start taking the lead with less than three minutes played when Jose Baxter (pictured celebrating) headed home a terrific cross from Reece Wabara, his ninth goal of the campaign.
Cristian Montano fired narrowly over and Latics had a couple of other goal attempts in a bright opening.
Latics restricted Yeovil to a handful of half chances, though there was one let off just short of the half hour when Paddy Madden had a goal chalked out for offside.
Yeovil took control of the game scoring twice in a six-minute spell shortly before half time.
Latics had defended heroically blocking a number of shots before the ball ran free and Jean-Yves M’voto tripped substitute Dominic Blizzard who had only replaced Sam Foley minutes earlier.
Gavin Williams stepped forward to score from the spot with a splendidly executed kick.
It was a measure of the fine lines and margins that moments after Matt Smith’s header forced a brilliant save from Marek Stech, Yeovil broke away to take the lead.
Williams, who had only scored one goal all season, made it two in six minutes with a screamer from 30 yards into the top corner of the net. It was unstoppable.
In a dramatic finish to the half, Baxter curled a delightful effort towards the top corner. It had goal written all over it until Stech pulled off a wonder save.
Then deep into stoppage time, Madden broke away and set up James Hayter who forced a super stop from Bouzanis. The ball ran free to Ed Upson whose shot was cleared off the line by Jonathan Grounds.
Latics replaced Montano with Youssouf M’Changama at the break while Simpson came on for James Wesolowski midway through the second period.
They were enjoying their best spell of the match, in which they had Yeovil penned in their own half, when disaster struck.
Simpson knocked the ball past Stech before colliding with the keeper with the ball cleared off the line as it trickled towards goal. Baxter had a goalbound shot blocked and Smith’s excellent shot on the turn flew just wide.
Yeovil then broke clear completely against the run of play as Upson released Hayter who ran through the centre to coolly slot the ball low past Bouzanis for his ninth goal of the campaign.
Latics were then reduced to 10 men when Simpson, who raced on to a long through ball, was shown a red card for his challenge on the keeper.
Yeovil took advantage of their extra man and could easily have added more than one further goal which came in the 88th minute following a catalogue of errors.
Cliff Byrne’s weak back pass resulted in Bouzanis having to race outside his box to clear. He completely missed as his air kick left Madden with an empty net as he placed his shot with perfection from 25 yards for his eighth of the season.
Yes, it was a cruel finish as 4-1 was no way a true reflection of the game.
Yeovil Town (4-4-2): Stech; Ayling, Hinds, Webster, McAllister; Williams (Reid 64), Upson, Edwards, Foley (Blizzard 28); Hayter, Madden. Subs (not used): Marsh-Brown, Steward, Ugwu, Brundle.
Latics (4-4-2): Bouzanis; Wabara, Byrne, M’voto, Grounds; Croft, Furman, Wesolowski (Simpson 66), Montano (M’Changama 46); Baxter, Smith. Subs (not used): Cisak, Brown, Taylor, Hughes, Winchester.
The goals: Williams (38 pen, 44), Hayter (77), Madden (88) for Yeovil. Baxter (3) for Latics.
Sending off: Simpson (81) for Latics.
Bookings: Edwards (78), Hinds (90+!) for Yeovil.
Referee: Mr P Gibbs.
Attendance: 3,492 (95 visitors).