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Match Reports

Match Report : 01/04/2013

1 April 2013

Latics v Colchester United


Latics inched their way out of the relegation places in npower League One following their 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Colchester United at Boundary Park. 

Jose Baxter salvaged a valuable point for Latics with a goal, his 14th of the season, midway through the second half. 

It cancelled out the strike from Drey Wright which followed a mistake by keeper Dean Bouzanis and which had given The U's a first-half lead as Lee Johnson extended his unbeaten run to three matches since becoming manager. 

Johnson described it as a good point in the circumstances after Latics had fallen behind against a Colchester side which stretched its unbeaten away run to five games. 

He said: "I am sure the relegation scrap is going to go to the wire as there are a lot of big games still to come. We have to keep chipping away and picking up points. 

"More importantly we need good performances and, barring the mistake, it was a decent one. Had that mistake not happened, I think we might have gone on and won comfortably." 

Looking back on the game, Johnson continued: "I was reasonably pleased because it was a tough game played in horrible conditions. I thought we created the better chances and were the side which wanted to win it. 

"The players and the fans have to understand there is going to be a bobble every now and again. 

"We understand that and it is a case of getting on with it, be brave and keep wanting the ball whatever the pitch. 

"We want to pass the ball and the pitch in not conducive to that, but next season we will get that right." 

Johnson added there were some gallant performances saying James Tarkowski and Robbie Simpson were fantastic while Lee Croft also put in a good shift. 

"Everybody worked hard which is the minimum requirement. If we can add that bit of quality now and again in the final third, we will be a force to be reckoned with," he said. 

Johnson was pleased with the spirit shown after falling behind and also by the way the players rallied round keeper Dean Bouzanis whose mistake handed The U's the lead. 

He said: "Dean was distraught and there was no doubt it was a bad error. 

"I told the boys at half time that he (Bouzanis) dug you out at Swindon with a great save and you have to now dig him out. 

"And when Baxter scored, the players were really keen to say it was for him which is good team spirit. You could see in their attitude and ethic that they wanted to dig him out." 

Johnson fielded an unchanged line up from Good Friday – he has named the same side for each of his three games in charge. 

Latics made a bright start in which Croft’s cross grazed the crossbar, Lee Barnard fired into the side netting and Simpson glanced a header just wide. 

Then against the run of play, Colchester snatched a 20th minute lead when Bouzanis failed to gather a harmless looking cross-cum-shot from Andy Bond as the ball bounced off the keeper to present an easy chance for Wright to fire into the roof of the net. 

Latics came back fighting as Baxter, Barnard and Simpson all peppered the visiting goal without troubling keeper Sam Walker. 

Colchester also had chances as Jabo Ibehre shot just over while Wright forced a diving save from Bouzanis. 

It was a lukewarm start to the second period and it took time for Latics to get into their stride. 

Croft eventually set up James Wesolowski whose goalbound shot was superbly blocked by Magnus Okuonghae. 

Latics made a double substitution midway through the half when Connor Brown and Barnard were replaced by Bobby Reid and Jordan Obita. 

And within three minutes Latics were on level terms when Croft crossed from the right and Baxter  found the net with a far-post header which went in off the underside of the crossbar. 

Late on, Latics and Colchester both had chances to win the game. 

Colchester's best moments came when Bryan Wilson’s free kick was pushed round the post by Bouzanis. And from the resulting corner, Ibehre’s header struck the crossbar. 

Latics had chances to win when Tarkowski weaved his way clear in the box only to lose his footing only six yards from goal which enabled his shot to be blocked (pictured). 

Tarkowsk's free kick was headed on to Baxter who volleyed over from seven yards with the goal inviting as Colchester drew at Boundary Park for a fourth visit in a row. 

Latics (4-2-3-1): Bouzanis; Brown (Reid 65), Tarkowski, M’voto, Grounds; Wesolowski, K Smith; Croft, Baxter, Simpson; Barnard (Obita 64). Subs (not used): Cisak, Iwelumo, Montano, Byrne, Millar. 

Colchester (4-2-3-1): Walker; Wilson, Okounghae, Thompson, White; Bond, David Wright; Massey (Garmston 65), M Smith (Bean 69), Drey Wright (Morrison 89); Ibehre. Subs (not used): Cousins, Heath, Clifford, Compton. 

The goals: Baxter (68) for Latics. Drey Wright (20) for Colchester. 

Bookings: Simpson (60), Tarkowski (74) for Latics. Wilson (47), Ibehre (77) for Colchester. 

Referee: Mr M Haywood. 

Attendance: 4,244 (189 visitors).


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