Fans saw Latics at their best and also their worst as they extended their unbeaten run in npower League One to three matches following a 1-1 draw against Scunthorpe United at Boundary Park.
Paul Dickov admitted the Iron looked like the home side as they dominated much of the opening period.
Once Latics got into their stride, though, Latics’ manager believed there was only going to be one winner.
And Latics thought they had won deep into stoppage time when they had a goal controversially disallowed following a challenge on visiting keeper Sam Slocombe.
"I have seen it again and their keeper came out and dropped the ball on Robbie’s (Simpson) head and then fell over him," he explained.
Latics’ manager pointed to the fine lines in football and also citing the injury-time goal that was ruled out on Saturday which would have won the game against Notts County.
Dickov said: "I am disappointed we have not won the game just as I was on Saturday and we are unlucky that we are not here talking about six points.
"Starting off with the negatives, I thought for the first 30 minutes we weren’t at the races. We played too deep and let their forwards dictate. I am not going to mask over the fact we were not good enough.
"We were better in the last 15 minutes of the half and in the second half I thought we played some of the best football since I have been here.
"The boys were magnificent and deserved to win the game."
Dickov made two changes from Saturday as Dean Bouzanis and Matt Smith won call-ups at the expense of Alex Cisak and Robbie Simpson who dropped down to the bench. Latics’ manager explained that Simpson has been carrying a couple of knocks and he thought the time was right to take him out of the firing line.
Latics could not have made a worse start as they fell behind in the third minute when former Latics’ loanee Leon Clarke found the net.
The big striker, with whom Latics were recently linked, scored his third goal in three appearances since completing a loan move from Charlton Athletic.
Mark Duffy chipped the ball into Clarke who produced a deft turn to create the space before firing home.
Latics were lucky not to fall further behind as the Iron created a succession of chances in the opening half hour.
Jimmy Ryan had a couple of gilt-edged chances, Karl Hawley shot just wide and then brought a fine flying save from Bouzanis while Tom Newey’s chip narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Latics had a couple of sniffs at goal as Matt Derbyshire forced a diving save from Slocombe while Smith headed over when well placed.
The equaliser in the 40th minute came out of nothing as Jonathan Grounds made a break down the left and fired over a low cross which Derbyshire converted at the near post. It was two goals in two games for the player who is on loan from Nottingham Forest.
Both sides could have taken the lead in the dying minutes of the half.
Hawley was denied by a great block by Bouzanis while for Latics Smith’s well-placed header was well diverted round the post by Slocombe diving low to his right.
Dave Mirfin had two great chances in quick succession for the visitors early in the second half.
Gradually Latics began to impose themselves on the game as they began to carve their way through the visitors’ defence with Dickov pinpointing the introductions of Simpson and Jose Baxter midway through the second period as being instrumental in their strong finish.
Cristian Montano brought a fine save from Slocombe who also foiled Baxter and Lee Croft.
Latics thought they had scored the winner in the second of three minutes of added time.
Simpson rose to meet Montano’s free kick and, as the ball rolled towards goal, Derbyshire applied the finishing touch.
However, referee Geoff Eltringham ruled out the effort for Simpson’s challenge on Slocombe as Latics were left to reflect on what might have been for a second successive match.
Latics (4-4-2): Bouzanis; Wabara, M’voto, Byrne, Grounds; Croft, Furman, Wesolowski (Baxter 64), Montano; Smith (Simpson 64), Derbyshire. Subs (not used): Cisak, Tarkowski, M’Changama, Winchester, Sutherland.
Scunthorpe (4-4-2): Slocombe; Ribeiro, Mirfin, Canavan, Newey; Duffy (Barcham 75), Walker, Prutton, Ryan (Sedgewick 89); Clarke, Hawley (Grella 88). Subs (not used): Jennings, Severn, Gibbons, Keegan.
The goals: Derbyshire (40) for Latics. Clarke (3) for Scunthorpe.
Booking: Wesolowski (53) for Latics.
Referee: Mr G Eltringham.
Attendance: 2,969 (178 visitors).