Rooney and Dayton open goal accounts
Latics returned to winning ways in style with a 3-1 victory against Port Vale in Sky Bet League 1.
It was the quality of the performance which delighted Lee Johnson as his side produced a highly entertaining display in which they created an impressive 20 attempts at goal.
And for two-goal Adam Rooney and James Dayton, who also found the net, both players opened their goalscoring accounts for Latics.
Latics' manager said: "The game had a bit of everything. It was high tempo, a lot of balls in the box and some good football was played at times. There were shots, chances and a penalty saved.
"I don't think you could ask for more – perhaps we should charge extra."
Johnson was especially pleased for Rooney and Dayton to get off the mark.
He said: "It was nice for Rooney. It was a great header for the first goal and he was in the right area for the second one.
"He gave a good interview earlier in the week saying he had confidence in himself always to score goals.
"I have been waiting for Dayton to hit that one because he does it every day in training and also saw it every day at Kilmarnock. He has that quality when he cuts in."
Johnson added it had been a terrible time losing to Derby, Walsall and Peterborough in successive matches, but was delighted with the character shown by his players.
He explained: "It had been a horrible two weeks not winning, but we can now go round with a smile on our faces.
"I was proud of my lads in what was a must-win game. It was a good day and there were a lot of good performances.
"I think we deserved our win and to a man we performed well."
Johnson added he was pleased with the way his side stood up to the physical challenge of playing against the Valiants.
"We had talked about winners all week and, to a man, we were winners. We stood up well in a difficult game because Port Vale aren’t easy to play against," he continued.
Johnson added it is important his team builds on the victory.
"We need to keep doing the right things. The table is looking healthier after this victory so let’s kick on," he concluded.
Johnson made one change from the side which kicked off at Peterborough as the fit-again Jonson Clarke-Harris was preferred to Jose Baxter.
Latics' manager explained the decision was influenced by Baxter being troubled by a slight groin strain which he believed affected his mobility at Peterborough. And he thought Latics needed an extra big man because of the size of the Vale side.
Latics made a tentative start as keeper Mark Oxley spilled a shot in the first minute from Jennison Myrie-Williams and Chris Lines fired a free kick narrowly over.
It was not long before Latics began to apply a stranglehold as Rooney had three chances in as many minutes before finding his net with his fourth goal attempt of the game after only quarter of an hour.
Cristian Montano supplied a delightful ball from the left and Rooney glanced home a header from six yards low to the left of keeper Chris Neal.
Vale equalised after half an hour when Myrie-Williams cut in from the right before bending in a terrific shot into the far corner of the net.
That goal lifted Vale who suddenly seized the initiative and could have taken the lead six minutes later when they won a penalty after former player Lee Hughes went down in the box from a challenge by Jonathan Grounds.
It was the referee's assistant who signalled for the spot kick by raising his flag to his chest. Hughes stepped forward only to be denied by the legs of Oxley.
In the remainder of the half, both sides had chances. Oxley saved well to keep out a header from Chris Robertson while Tom Pope headed over with the goal at his mercy.
As for Latics, James Tarkowski had a header well saved by Neal while Montano blazed over when clean through as the surprise was that the opening period yielded only two goals.
Tarkowski, always a threat at set pieces, headed over from six yards from Dayton’s free kick early in the second period.
Latics regained the lead again in the 56th minutes as Rooney, without a goal in his first four games for the club, struck again.
This time Tarkowski played in Clarke-Harris whose shot was blocked but the rebound fell invitingly for Rooney to slot into the empty net from close range.
Vale remained a threat as they had a penalty appeal waved away for handball while Doug Loft’s drive flashed into the side netting.
Latics reimposed their authority in the final quarter of the match and had chances to extend their lead when Korey Smith’s drive was inches over and Montano burst through but, lacking confidence to shoot with his right, cut back on to his left peg and saw his weakly-hit shot easily saved.
The third goal duly arrived in the 76th minute when Dayton cut in from the right and curled in an exquisite bender high into the far top corner of the net.
Baxter was introduced to the fray in the 81st minute and in stoppage time almost added a fourth goal. His drive from 25 yards was destined for the top corner until Neal pulled off a magnificent save.
Latics (4-4-2): Oxley; Brown (Byrne 68), Tarkowski, Grounds, Mills; Dayton (Schmeltz 90+2), Wesolowski, Smith, Montano; Clarke-Harris (Baxter 81), Rooney. Subs (not used): Rodgers, Millar, Philliskirk, Coleman.
Port Vale (4-4-2): Neal; Yates, Robertson, Dickinson, Jones; Myrie-Williams (Shuker 77), Loft, Lines, Mohamed (Dodds 70); Pope, Hughes (Williamson 64). Subs (not used): Chilvers, Griffith, Duffy, Birchall.
The goals: Rooney (15, 56), Dayton (76) for Latics. Myrie-Williams (30) for Vale.
Bookings: Brown (22) for Latics. Hughes (22), Dickinson (42), Robertson (45) for Vale.
Referee: Mr C Sarginson.
Attendance: 4,788 (1,118 visitors).