Colchester United v Latics
Latics produced one of their most complete performances of the campaign registering a 2-0 npower League One victory at Colchester United.
Goals from Jean-Yves M’voto and Matt Derbyshire didn’t do justice to dominant Latics who triumphed for the first time in eight visits to the Essex club.
The first win at Colchester since 2002 was fully merited as manager Paul Dickov explained: "At times our attacking play was devastating and we could have won by more but for their goalkeeper who gave a really good performance and was probably their man of the match.
"As well as the front four did - at times they were unplayable - the rest of the team had to do their jobs properly. And as good as we played, they worked their socks off. For an away performance, it was fantastic and I am absolutely delighted."
Dickov added that it important they build on the good form, which has yielded four wins from the last five games, at home to Swindon Town next Saturday.
Latics’ manager says the players ought to take confidence and belief from their performances of the last three weeks.
"We showed against Doncaster we can win playing football, but at Hartlepool and against Shrewsbury by playing ugly if we have to," he said.
After the cup success against Doncaster, it was hardly surprising Dickov named an unchanged starting line up, even though Cliff Byrne was back after suspension.
Latics made a tentative start before they finally clicked into gear and carve out chances against opponents who looked low on confidence after recording only one win in their previous seven games.
Jonathan Grounds, overlapping on the left, was the first to test home keeper Mark Cousins after half an hour.
Latics made the breakthrough in the 33rd minute when M’voto powered home a terrific header from a Lee Croft corner. It was the centre back’s second goal of the campaign, an unstoppable effort which went in off the underside of the crossbar.
They were unlucky not to finish the half with a bigger advantage.
Cristian Montano cut the ball back from the left for James Wesolowski, ghosting into the box from deep, to shoot wide when it looked as though he could not miss. Jose Baxter then had a goalbound shot blocked by Magnus Okuonghae.
Latics took off Connor Brown at the break for tactical reason. He had been booked for persistent fouling and Dickov admitted he was concerned he might be shown a red card.
Byrne came on as Reece Wabara switched to right back to take over from Brown.
Montano had a chance soon after the restart to increase Latics’ lead, but scuffed his shot wide.
Latics then had to endure a brief Colchester fightback as Andy Bond’s deflected effort struck an upright and Dan Potts’ cross was turned over by Alex Cisak from under the crossbar, but referee Ian Williamson mysteriously awarded a goal kick.
Montano forced a decent save from Cousins before the second goal came just after the hour.
Croft released Derbyshire with a delightful pass. He burst clear on the right and saw his shot partially blocked by Cousins before trickling over the line.
There was some doubt as to whether Jose Baxter got the final touch, but Derbyshire made it clear he was claiming his seventh goal of the campaign.
Latics could have won by a wider margin as they had a number of other decent chances.
Croft and Montano both forced brilliant saves from Cousins while in stoppage time Latics ought to have won a penalty.
Baxter was clearly pulled back as he burst into the box and, to the amazement of everyone at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, Mr Williamson waved play on.
Colchester also created chances, notably two which fell to on-loan striker Jabo Ibehre.
The first was a free header directed straight at Cisak and the second saw him, rather than the ball, end up in the net as he lunged at the far post to try and connect with a Freddie Sears’ cross.
They were only fleeting moments when Colchester threatened as Latics dominated to such a degree they could have been mistaken for being the home side.
Colchester (4-1-2-3): Cousins; Wilson, Eastman, Okounghae, Potts; Bean (Wright 57) ; Bond (Gilbey 70), Wordworth; Henderson (Morrison 80), Ibehre, Sears. Subs (not used): Rose, O’Toole, Pentney, Thompson.
Latics (4-4-2): Cisak; Brown (Byrne 46), M’voto, Wabara, Griunds; Croft (Simpson 90+2), Wesolowski, Furman, Montano (M’Changama 90+2); Derbyshire, Baxter. Subs (not used): Jacob, Tarkowski, Smith, Sutherland.
The goals: M’voto (33), Derbyshire (61).
Bookings: Okounghae (26), Bean (32) for Colchester, Brown (31), Cisak (90+3), M’Changama (90+3) for Latics.
Referee: Mr I Williamson.
Attendance: 2,997 (142 visitors).