Latics reserves's fightback came too late as they slipped to a 4-3 defeat at home to Bury in Central League, West Division.
It looked all over early in the second half when Bury moved 4-1 ahead after exploiting some charitable defending by Latics.
However, Paul Murray's side displayed grit and determination to mount a late comeback and so nearly snatched a draw.
Latics, who had trialists wingers Sam Baffour and Cherno Mendy in their line up, made an awful start and were 2-0 down after quarter of an hour.
A spectacular long-range strike from Valery Mezague and penalty by Jonson Clarke-Harris, after being hauled back by Tomos Jones, gave Bury the early initiative.
Kirk Millar (pictured) halved the deficit with a stunning shot from the edge of the box and then Cristian Montano, returning after a two month injury lay off, forced a brilliant save by Christian Dibble as Latics hit back.
Bury re-established a two-goal advantage in fortuitous circumstances as Joe Cooper's clearance struck Tom Pratt and diverted low past keeper Luke Simpson.
Clarke-Harris made it 4-1 soon after the restart with a brilliant shot from 25 yards which arrowed into the top corner of the net.
Baffour, who along with Mendy was at AFC Wimbledon until they recently disbanded their youth set up, helped set up Daniel Taylor who fired home Latics' second goal with 17 minutes left.
Simpson made a brilliant save to deny Pratt who raced through the centre and looked set to score a fifth goal for the visitors.
Moments later what could have been 5-2 became 4-3 when substitute Carlton McIntosh was fouled enabling Millar to score from the spot with 11 minutes left.
Latics pressed for an equaliser in the latter stages as they put the visiting goal under siege, but they were unable to find another route to goal.