Ten-man Latics cruelly lost 3-2 to a last-minute goal at Rotherham United who remain unbeaten in Sky Bet League 1.
It looked as though Latics, who had David Mellor (pictured) sent off in the opening half, would leave the New York Stadium with a deserved draw until Daniel Nardiello's last-gasp goal.
Latics, 1-0 behind to a Nardiello goal and down to 10 men, displayed plenty of grit and determination to take the lead through goals from Cristian Montano and Matteo Lanzoni.
However, they were unable to hold on as the Merry Millers snatched victory though goals from Lee Frecklington and Nardiello.
Lee Johnson was disappointed after seeing his side lose a fifth league match – each by a one-goal margin.
Latics' manager said: "I am frustrated and angry, but I also believe we can dig ourselves out of this and go on a run, thought it needs to be sooner rather than later.
"I feel deflated and demoralised because I feel we deserve a little bit more than we have, but we cannot keep saying the sob story.
"I thought we were poor in the first 20 minutes when we were dictated to and played into their hands. That is when the game was won and lost.
"Three or four things didn't go right for us and we didn’t get the breaks and decisions. On another day they go for you and the momentum is with you.
"For some reason we need a punch on the nose to get going. I thought we played more football with 10 men. We just need that little bit of luck whether it be a decision or scoring the first goal."
Johnson added that Mellor will be disciplined for his sending off explaining that he kicked out at an opponent in frustration saying the incident cost them the game.
Latics made three changes from the side which kicked off at Preston five days earlier, James Tarkowski and James Dayton enforced through injury.
New-signing Genseric Kusunga was handed his debut as he replaced Tarkowski while Montano was recalled on the left.
The third change saw Johnson prefer Mellor to James Wesolowski in the centre of midfield, something Johnson admitted in hindsight proved a mistake.
Latics believe they ought to have been awarded an early penalty for a challenge on Lanzoni.
Yet it was Rotherham who took the lead in the 21st minute from the penalty spot when referee Richard Clark ruled that Lanzoni blocked a cross from Ben Pringle with his arm. Former Latics' loanee Nardiello made no mistake from 12 yards.
Nardiello would have doubled Rotherham's lead but for a fabulous save from Mark Oxley to deny him when he was clean through.
Latics were reduced to 10 men when Mellor was shown a straight red card for an alleged kick at Alex Revell.
Oxley pulled off another superb save low to his left to deny Frecklington as Latics broke away to make it 1-1 moments later. Montano burst clear down the left and found the net with an unstoppable shot into the far corner.
Wesolowski was brought on for Danny Philliskirk just before the break as Johnson reinforced his side's midfield after losing Mellor.
It got even better for Latics who stunned the home fans by taking the lead early in the second half.
Adam Rooney's close-range header from Joseph Mills' free kick was parried by keeper Scott Shearer as right-back Lanzoni slotted home the loose ball.
Rotherham made it 2-2 just after the hour when Frecklington glanced a header from Pringle’s corner past Oxley.
Rooney made way for Jonson Clarke-Harris midway through the second period as Latics looked for fresh legs.
Latics were desperately unlucky not to regain the lead in the 80th minute when Clarke-Harris set up Montano whose shot looked destined for the top corner until Shearer pulled off an unbelievable save.
It was then Oxley's turn to excel as he pulled off a superb save to keep out a free header from Revell from six yards.
Latics looked set to leave the New York Stadium with a draw until Nardiello struck again in the 90th minute.
Oxley did well to keep out a shot from Frecklington only for Nardiello to react quickest to slot home the rebound for his fourth goal of the season.
Rotherham (4-4-2): Shearer; Brindley, Arnason, Davis (Mills 65), Skarz; Agard (Tubbs 79), Milsom, Frecklington, Pringle; Revell, Nardiello (Tidser 90+4). Subs (not used): Collin, Hylton, Bradley, Rowe.
Latics (4-4-2): Oxley; Lanzoni, Kusunga, Grounds, Mills; Schmeltz, Smith, Mellor, Montano (Rusnak 83); Philliskirk (Wesolowski 44), Rooney (Clarke-Harris 65). Subs (not used): Rachubka, MacDonald, Winchester, Rodgers.
The goals: Nardiello (21 pen, 90), Frecklington (62) for Rotherham. Montano (43), Lanzoni (52) for Latics.
Sending off: Mellor (40) for Latics.
Bookings: Montano (59), Oxley (71) for Latics.
Referee: Mr R Clark
Attendance: 8,306 (1,349 visitors)