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Match Report


Posted Wed 27 Nov 13 at 00:32 AM

Latics keep on winning


Four straight victories, a feat last achieved seven years ago, and three away wins in a week.

It doesn't get much better for Latics than the events of the last fortnight culminating in a 2-1 victory at Shrewsbury Town in Sky Bet League 1.

And Latics' manager Lee Johnson admitted the winning run vindicated the decision to postpone the recent league game against Milton Keynes Dons saying that would have been one game too many in a hectic spell.

Ironically, the success at Greenhous Meadow followed one of Latics' least convincing displays of the season.

Johnson conceded Latics were far from their best as they came from behind to grind out a hard-earned victory.

Striker Gozie Ugwu, who is on loan from Reading, fired Shrewsbury ahead before goals from Charlie MacDonald and Danny Philliskirk saw Latics snatch victory.

"We won ugly and that is an art as well," admitted Latics' manager.

Latics’ manager confessed to being disappointed by his side's first-half display which saw new-loan signing Mike Petrasso substituted after only half an hour, though he admitted it could have been one of a number of players.

 He said: "We didn't get going and I was disappointed and upset by our first-half performance. I had to make the change that early to try and make something happen as I was embarrassed by what was happening.

"It was nothing against little Mikey, but we needed a platform and physical presence. To be fair when Jonson Clarke-Harris came on, he put himself about straight away and had a couple of good chances.

"We were off it, but the boys showed good character. There have been times when we have dominated games and not come out with anything.

"Although we didn't dominate, we still had the better chances. They will be aggrieved to have come away with zero points, but I think we have earned our luck with our performances over the course of the season.

"There have been times when we have played well and it has not gone our way. Today we have been average and come out wining the game."

Latics managed only 38-per-cent possession in the match, a contrast to about 60-per-cent in many recent matches.  After 15 minutes, though, it was a meagre 25-per-cent as Shrewsbury were in control.

Johnson made four changes from the side which won at Gillingham last Saturday, though two were enforced as Genseric Kusunga was suspended while Joseph Mills had returned to Burnley. James Wesolowski and Clarke-Harris stood down to the bench.

There was a new full-back pairing of Matteo Lanzoni and David Mellor, Anton Rodgers was recalled in midfield and MacDonald was restored to the front line following his recovery from injury.

It was a laboured display from Latics in the early stages and no surprise when the Shrews took a 16th minute lead following a defensive mix up as James Tarkowski was caught out.

The 20-year-old Ugwu capitalised, though it was not a clean strike. He struck the ball into the ground and it looped over the head of keeper Mark Oxley.

It was clear that something was needed to kick start Latics and that came little over half an hour into the match when Clarke-Harris was thrust into the fray.

And he immediately sparked Latics to life striking the upright and from the rebound Danny Philliskirk had a shot cleared off the line by Tamika Mkandawire and Korey Smith’s follow-up effort was blocked.

Latics were suddenly a threat and the equaliser could not have been better timed arriving on the stroke of half time.

The Shrews' defence was split by a slide-rule pass from Rodgers which released MacDonald who sprinted through the centre before slotting a low shot past keeper Chris Weale.

Latics made their last two changes after 60 and 66 minutes as Rodgers and the injured James Dayton made way for Wesolowski and Sidney Schmeltz.

The winning goal came after 75 minutes when MacDonald turned provider playing a low ball from the left for Philliskirk to produce a great turn before he fired home a low shot, his eighth of the season.

Shrewsbury produced a flurry as substitute Tom Bradshaw forced a fine fingertip save from Oxley who also had to be alert to keep out a header from Connor Goldson.

And home fans were cheering after believing a sensational 30-yard volley from Dave McAllister had found the net, but it fooled them as it went into the side netting.

MacDonald and Clarke-Harris had chances to extend Latics' lead in the latter stages. Each produced venomous shots which Weale did well to beat out.

Shrewsbury Town (4-4-2): Weale; Goldson, Jones, Mkandawire, Jacobson (McAllister 26); Parry, Wroe, Summerfield, Reach; Ugwu, McAlinden (Bradshaw 80). Subs (not used):  Anyon, Winfield, McQuade, Marsden.

Latics (4-4-2): Oxley; Lanzoni, Tarkowski, Grounds, Mellor; Petrasso (Clarke-Harris 33), Smith, Rodgers (Wesolowski 60), Dayton (Schmeltz 66); MacDonald, Philliskirk. Subs (not used): Rachubka, Rooney, Winchester, Belezika.

The goals: Ugwu (16) for Shrewsbury. MacDonald (44), Philliskirk (75) for Latics.

Bookings: McAllister (63), Summerfield (64) for Shrewsbury.

Referee: Mr J Adcock.

Attendance: 4,563 (286 visitors).



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