Latics v Leyton OrientLatics displayed patience and poise as they continued their climb up npower League One with a hard-fought victory against Leyton Orient.
Goals in the last 13 minutes from Matt Derbyshire and Jose Baxter secured a win which made it 10 points from a possible 12.
It was a battling display from Latics who produced a terrific all-round team performance to climb up to 13th place.
Latics kept their third clean sheet in the last four matches after another terrific showing from the lads at the back.
There was plenty of industry and endeavour from the midfield while creating an abundance of chances and, on another day, might have won by a wider margin.
Manager Paul Dickov described it as an ever better result than the win against Preston in their previous home game and the draw at Sheffield United last Saturday.
He explained: "I told the boys it is easy to get up for the Preston game and Sheffield United but, for me, this was an even better performance and result.
"I had people coming up to me all week saying how easy it would be and sometimes that can translate to the players.
"The attitude and professionalism to keep going and to get the three points was fantastic."
Dickov added that Orient attempted to "stifle" them by playing five in midfield which made it all the more important to show patience saying it was a game they possibly might have lost last season.
Latics' manager says he will not get carried away reminding everybody that three weeks ago they were in the bottom four and the talk was of being relegated.
"We have to keep the lid on things, keep them playing good football and keep the players believing how good they can be," he said.
Latics’ manager explained that leaving out captain Dean Furman was influenced by the player’s exhausting travel commitments of the previous week with South Africa while he also wanted to keep faith with those who performed stoically at Sheffield United.
Dickov fielded the same starting line up which kicked off at Sheffield United last Saturday which meant Furman, back from international duty, had to be content with a place on the bench.
Baxter could have scored a hat trick in the opening 12 minutes as the former Everton striker made an electrifying start.
First he forced a terrific save from Ryan Allsop, a free kick deflected off the defensive wall flying narrowly wide and finally a downward header looped just over the crossbar.
Baxter, Lee Croft and Jean-Yves M’voto, with a free header, could also have found the net in the opening period.
Orient made the livelier start to the second period and had two decent chances to steal ahead.
Moses Odubajo stole behind the defence to meet a left-wing cross but, stretching, lifted the ball over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.
Martin Rowlands also went close with a quickly taken free kick which almost caught Latics napping.
Midway through the second period, centre-half M’voto became Latics’ most potent attacking threat with three headed chances in a four-minute period.
Dickov made a double switch with 19 minutes left as Robbie Simpson and Cristian Montano were replaced by Matt Smith and Chris Sutherland.
The breakthrough came in the 77th minute as Latics’ patience was finally rewarded.
James Wesolowski’s rasping spot was turned behind by Allsop for a corner. Croft took the dead ball, Cliff Byrne headed it on and Derbyshire (pictured celebrating) swept it home at the far post, his fourth goal of his loan spell from Nottingham Forest.
Latics sealed victory with seven minutes left through a wonder strike from Baxter, the third goal since he signed for the club.
Baxter won the ball outside the penalty area, produced a delightful turn and curled an exquisite shot into the top corner.
Latics might have scored a third goal late on when Smith’s header forced a stretching save from Allsop.
Latics (4-4-2): Bouzanis; Wabara, Byrne, Grounds; Croft, Wesolowski, Simpson (Smith 71), Montano (Sutherland 71); Baxter, Derbyshire. Subs (not used): Cisak, Brown, Tarkowski, Furman, M’Changama.
Leyton Orient (4-5-1): Allsop; McSweeney, Chorley, Clarke, Swayer; Odubajo (Cox 67), Smith, Rowlands, Griffith, Wagstaff; Brunt (Symes 74). Subs (not used): Jones, Baudry, Laird, James, Mooney.
The goals: Derbyshire (77), Baxter (83) for Latics.
Bookings: Derbyshire (58), Wabara (79) for Latics. McSweeney (33) for Orient.
Referee: Mr S Duncan.
Attendance: 3,919 (171 visitors)