Latics v Swindon Town
Paul Dickov pulled no punches describing Latics’ 2-0 home power League One defeat by Swindon Town as unacceptable.
Latics’ manager was highly critical of his players as their improved fortunes – four wins from their previous five games – came to a juddering halt as they crashed to a fifth home league defeat of the campaign.
Dickov said: "What I saw in the first half was a lack of pride in their individual performances, a lack of desire and a lack of professionalism in what we have worked on all week.
"We spoke about being on a good run and this is when we are at our worst. Yet again they have shown me they cannot put performances in on a consistent basis.
"You cannot afford to do that against a good team like Swindon or, in fact, against bad teams. If we don’t have work rate, effort, desire and personal pride, and there was laziness in some cases, you are never going to win a game."
Latics’ manager added he had been warning his players about complacency and maintaining standards saying his team failed to match Swindon’s work rate.
Dickov was annoyed after identifying Swindon’s threat from out wide that they failed to cut out crosses which brought about their opponent’s two goals.
"Without us playing well, and Swindon being on top, it should have been a scrappy 0-0 at half time,” he continued.
Latics’ manager also pointed out that his side keeps putting pressure on itself to get results.
He said: "You cannot just get results when the pressure is on. There ought to be pressure to get results all the time.
"I am hurting because it was as poor a performance as we have had for a long time and the people here today didn’t deserve it.
"The players know exactly how I feel – it was unacceptable. They will be in tomorrow and all week working to put things thing."
Cliff Byrne won a recall to Lattices’ starting line up at the expense of Connor Brown, the one change from the side which kicked off last Saturday at Colchester United.
But it was a short-lived return as Byrne limped off in the 16th minute as Brown was introduced into the action sooner than expected.
Swindon made the livelier start and ought to have taken the lead in the 14th minute when top scorer Matt Ritchie inexplicably fired over from almost on the goal line.
It was to only be a temporary reprieve as Swindon sealed victory with two goals in three second-half minutes from Italian Rafaela De Vita.
Ritchie was the provider for the 27th minute opener with a low cross from the right which was not cleared as De Vita threaded home a shot.
Swindon doubled their lead on the half hour when Latics again failed to deal with a cross from the right, this time from Nathan Thompson. De Vita’s shot took a wicked deflection as it trickled over the line in slow motion.
After failing to find the net in his previous six matches, De Vita struck twice in quick succession to make it six for the season.
It could have been an even bigger half-time deficit as Chris Martin’s goal bound shot was deflected into the side netting by Brown. And from the resulting corner, Joe Devers had a free header which cleared the crossbar.
Latics had to wait until the 48th minute before registering their first goalbound attempt which flew straight to keeper Wes Foderingham.
There was drama when referee’s assistant Danny Markham limped off with a groin-muscle injury and there was a stoppage until fourth official Kevin Mattocks took over line duties.
Latics huffed and puffed in the second half, but never troubled Foderingham.
And Latics’ troubles increased when they were reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes remaining. Having made all three substitutions, they lost keeper Alex Cisak with a serious facial injury.
Swindon striker Andy Williams got the better of Reece Wabara and was clean through when he collided with Cisak when the keeper dived bravely at his feet.
Head of sports medicine Jon Guy dashed on to the pitch and was quickly followed by club doctor Rob Bearsdell and stewards carrying a stretcher.
Fortunately Cisak was able to walk from the pitch with a towel helping stem the flow of blood to his forehead.
Robbie Simpson took over in goal for the final stages which included seven minutes of stoppages as Latics were unable to find a way back into the game.
Latics (4-4-2): Cisak; Wabara, M’voto, Byrne (Brown 16), Grounds; Croft, Furman, Wesolowski (Smith 55), Montano (Simpson 69); Baxter, Derbyshire. Subs (not used): Jacob, Tarkowski, Taylor, M’Changama.
Swindon Town (4-4-2): Foderingham; Thompson, Devera, Ward, McCormack; Ritchie, Ferry (Miller 82), Hollands, De Vita (Roberts 68); Williams, Martin (Collins 73). Subs (not used): Bedwell, Archibald-Henville, Rooney, Bostock.
Goals: De Vita (27,30) for Swindon.
Booking: Martin (73) for Swindon.
Referee: Mr C Boyeson.
Attendance: 3,345 (287 visitors).