Injury-time drama for Latics
Latics came within a whisker of snatching an unlikely point during a dramatic finale to their Sky Bet League 1 match at high-flying Peterborough where they lost 2-1.
They went into the four minutes of added time 2-0 down yet it was Posh who were hanging on at the end.
Substitute Charlie MacDonald halved the deficit while in the dying seconds James Tarkowski (pictured) just failed to get on the end of a Joseph Mills header which flashed across the face of goal.
It left Lee Johnson frustrated, though he was able to take plenty of positives from the performance at London Road.
Latics’ manager said: "How Tarky’s not put his foot on that one at the end I will never know. He will have nightmares about it.
"Territorially I thought we dominated the game pretty much from start to finish and the only disappointment was the two bad goals we conceded.
"I didn’t know what to do at the end because I was so pleased with the performance, but so down with the result.
"There’s a way to lose and last week wasn’t the way and this week was. And to sum it up, it was a fantastic performance and heartache we didn’t come away with at least one point as we could have nicked an equaliser at the end.
"Trust me if we continue to play like that, we will be fine."
After failing to find the net in their previous two matches, Johnson was pleased how his side looked a goal threat throughout against Posh.
"We didn’t want to go another game without a goal. We looked as though we were going to score which was a good sign," he explained.
Johnson described the performances of central midfield men Korey Smith and James Wesolowski as outstanding.
He was also pleased with the debut of left back Joseph Mills and Jonathan Grounds who switched to the centre of defence.
Johnson also believes Posh right-back Craig Alcock ought to have been sent off early in the second half saying claiming a reckless challenge ought to have been punished with a second yellow card.
He explained that such decision affect the outcome of games also pointing out Little was substituted by Darren Ferguson to avoid him being dismissed as he was treading on decidedly thin ice.
Johnson also praised the fans – almost 400 of them – saying they were unbelievable as they were singing from start to finish.
"We gave them something to shout about. I think they will go home appreciative that we gave it a good go and they can trust this team will keep going." he continued.
David Mellor was ruled out through injury and MacDonald not risked from the start due to a knock picked up against Walsall as Johnson made two changes from the side from the previous week.
New loan-signing Joseph Mills was handed his debut at left back – Jonathan Grounds switched to the centre in the absence of Mellor – while Wesolowski made his first start of campaign with Jose Baxter given a more advances striking role.
Latics made a lively start and more than matched their opponents. They would have taken an 11th minute lead but for an acrobatic save from Bobby Olejnik to turn over a header from Adam Rooney.
Posh went ahead against the run of play 11 minutes before the break following a wayward pass from Jose Baxter.
Britt Assombalonga, the striker Posh recently bought from Watford for a reported £1.2million, repaid a part of that investment with his third goal of the campaign.
He broke forward and unleashed a terrific drive from 30 yards which arrowed into the bottom corner of the net to the right of keeper Mark Oxley.
Both sides had chances before the game exploded to life in the latter stages when Posh doubled their lead following a short spell of sustained pressure.
Substitute Kirk Millar was dispossessed by Lee Tomlin who burst forward before firing narrowly wide.
Oxley made another athletic save to turn over a header from Tyrone Barnett while Tommy Rowe’s headed flashed into the side netting.
Posh doubled their advantage when they were awarded a penalty when Assombalonga burst clear and Oxley was adjudged to have brought him down on the far edge of the box, though the keeper later protested that he made contact with the ball before the player.
Tomlin scored from the spot with an emphatic finish as the home side must have thought they were home and dry – how mistaken they were.
Latics produced a grandstand finish which almost earned them a draw their performance merited.
Connor Brown provided the perfect delivery from the right and his far-post cross was headed home by MacDonald who ghosted in at the far post.
It got even better when in the fifth minute of stoppage time – the referee’s assistant had signalled four additional minutes – Latics came close to making in 2-2.
James Dayton’s corner was met by Mills whose header flashed across the face of goal and Tarkowski, lurking at the far post, failed to connect when he looked certain to equalise.
Latics again discovered the margins between success and failure can be agonisingly fine.
Peterborough (4-1-2-1-2): Olejnik; Alcock (Little 54), Zakuani, Bostwick, Ntlhe; McCann (Swanson 75); Kearns (Payne 54), Rowe; Tomlin; Assombalonga, Barnett. Subs (not used): Day, Sinclair, Anderson, Knight-Percival.
Latics (4-4-1-1): Oxley; Brown, Tarkowski, Grounds, Mills; Dayton, Wesolowski, Smith, Montano (Schmeltz 71); Baxter (Millar 67); Rooney (MacDonald 83). Subs (not used): Byrne, Rodgers, Belezika, Coleman.
The goals: Assombalonga (34), Tomlin (83 pen) for Peterborough. MacDonald (90+2) for Latics.
Bookings: Alcock (18) for Peterborough. Grounds (61) for Latics.
Referee: Mr T Harrington.