Carlisle United v Latics
Paul Dickov apologised to the travelling fans as below-par Latics saw their unbeaten run in npower League One come to an end following a 3-1 defeat at Carlisle United.
Latics’ manager admitted his side had let down the 249 supporters who made their way to Brunton Park with hope in their hearts after collecting 10 points from a possible 12.
"I am really disappointed and we got what we deserved - nothing. We didn’t turn up,” was Dickov’s candid assessment of his side’s performance.
"I would like to apologise to the fans because, for a Tuesday night, there was a really good turnout and they didn’t see a performance."
Latics’ manager added his players failed to match the standards they have set in their four match unbeaten run.
And he thought it might have been a case of going into the match over confident, saying as a group they went out expecting to win the game.
He continued: "There is nothing wrong with that. Our recent good performances have seen us play good football with a good attitude and desire without the ball. We didn’t see that tonight,
"The players know how I feel and not a lot of them have come out with a lot of credit, but give Carlisle credit as they played well and they showed the effort and endeavour we have been doing."
Dickov exempted 17-year-old Chris Sutherland and Matt Smith saying both substitutes made an impact.
It was yet another occasion when the footballing form book went out of the window as everything pointed towards an away victory.
* Latics had collected 10 points from a possible 12.
* Carlisle had won only one of their previous six matches.
* Carlisle had won only once in six previous home league games.
* The Cumbrians had failed to score in their previous four home league games. Five would have created an unwanted club record.
Dean Furman returned as captain for Robbie Simpson, the one change from the team which kicked off against Leyton Orient last Saturday.
Cristian Montano had recovered from an eye infection to retain his place on the left flank.
It was clear from the start it was going to be a difficult night as Latics' play lacked its usual high tempo as the game meandered along through an eminently forgettable opening period.
Latics’ best chance fell to centre-half Jean-Yves M’voto who glanced a header narrowly wide from a Jose Baxter free kick.
Liam Noble had a decent effort deflected just wide and that was about as good as it got in a lack-lustre opening half.
The only other incident of note saw both teams temporarily reduced to 10 men when M’voto and Joe Garner both needed treatment for cuts following a nasty clash of heads. Both returned with heads bandaged.
Latics lost Matt Derbyshire at the break with a rib injury as he was replaced by Smith at the restart.
Carlisle made the all important breakthrough in the 57th minute when Cliff Byrne became hero turned villain.
Byrne first made a brilliant block to deflect Noble’s shot for a corner after keeper Dean Bouzanis failed to claim James Berrett’s free kick.
Moments later Byrne’s wayward ball out of defence was intercepted and Noble crossed from the right for Garner to head home at the far post.
Carlisle’s second goal in the 74th minute also came down the left as Matty Robson delivered a cross to the far post which Garner again met with his head to give Bouzanis no chance.
By this point Latics had already introduced Sutherland for Montano while immediately after the goal Simpson replaced Byrne as Latics went with three at the back as fortune would have to favour the brave if they were to get back into the match.
It so nearly worked as moments later Baxter crashed a terrific drive against the upright. Had that gone in, who knows what might have happened in the last 14 minutes?
Carlisle added a third goal in the 82nd minute when Berrett played the ball in low from the left and Robson, lurking at the far post, fired high into the roof of the net.
Latics got onto the scoresheet two minutes later, but it was no more than a consolation.
Smith was flattened in the penalty area and Baxter stepped up to score with the cheekiest of chips after sending keeper Mark Gillespie the wrong way from the spot.
Carlisle (4-3-3): Gillespie; Simek, Murphy (Livesey 70), Edwards, Chantler; Noble, Thirlwell, Berrett; Cadamarteri, Garner, Robson. Subs (not used): Collin, Welsh, Potts, Beck, Symington, Higginbotham.
Latics (4-4-2): Bouzanis; Wabara, Byrne (Simpson 75), M’voto, Grounds; Croft, Furman, Wesolowski, Montano (Sutherland 68); Derbyshire (Smith 46), Baxter. Subs (not used: Cisak, Brown, Tarkowski, M’Changama.
The goals: Garner (57, 74), Robson (82) for Carlisle. Baxter (84 pen ) for Latics.
Bookings: Furman (42), M’voto (45+1), Wabara (58), Grounds (78).
Referee: Mr M Russell
Attendance: 3,310 (249 visitors)