Latics held in cup tie
Lee Johnson admitted Latics were well below par as they were held at home by League Two side Mansfield Town in the second round of the FA Cup with Budweiser.
"It was flat and reminiscent of a reserve game, and I blame that on our players because we didn’t have any spark in the match apart from Korey Smith with the wonderful goal he scored," explained Latics' manager.
Johnson continued: "We are lucky to get out of it, though they (Mansfield) didn’t have any real chances, but we were poor on the day.
"I thought we were comfortable as they didn’t have too many shots. The disappointing thing was how flat we were.
"We live to fight another day, are still in the hat and the good thing is that I am sure we will go there for the second game and can't be that bad again.
"If we turn up like that again on Tuesday (for the Northern Area Semi Final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Chesterfield) we will get beaten."
Johnson added that the absence of James Wesolowski, ruled out through a hamstring strain, was a blow.
He continued: "It was disappointing because we missed the spark he gives us and that Gattuso-like aggression that sometimes whips up the crowd.
"We are still in the cup and our unbeaten run continues and we can learn from it. We are a young group and it is going to be a spiral and we just dipped on that spiral. Hopefully we will produce a better performance on Tuesday.
"I feel bad for the crowd because we have had a good run and I am keen to enhance the reputation of both the club and the players.
"I could feel the grumbles and could understand the grumbles. I would have been grumbling as well had I been a fan."
The positives were that Latics extended their unbeaten run to eight games while Smith scored a spectacular solo strike, his first goal for the club in his 35th appearance.
Johnson brought in Anton Rodgers for Wesolowski while Adam Rooney was preferred to Jonson Clarke-Harris up front, the second change from the side which kicked off against Bradford City lasy Saturday.
Both sides had chances to open the scoring before the breakthrough came in the 27th minute.
Rodgers had a 30-yard effort deflected just wide while Smith forced a diving save from keeper Alan Marriott.
Mansfield's top scorer Sam Clucas failed to hit the target with two headers while Ross Dyer pulled a shot wide when well placed.
A spark was needed to break the stalemate and Smith provided that with a fabulous solo effort.
Smith picked up the ball on the half-way line and burst down the left before cutting in and curling a shot into the top corner off the crossbar. The two photos are of Smith celebrating his goal.
Stags' centre-half John Dempster headed narrowly wide from a corner before Mansfield drew level on the stroke of half time.
Sidney Schmeltz committed a foul 25 yards out and Clucas rifled home the free kick, aided by a deflection off Rodgers who was in the defensive wall. It was his 11th goal of the season.
Dempster, a danger at set pieces, headed just over from an Adam Murray corner early in the second half.
Johnson made a double changes just short of the hour as Schmeltz and James Dayton made way for Jonson Clarke-Harris and Michael Petrasso as Latics looked for that missing spark.
In fairness, Latics were brighter in the last half hour, but still lacked a cutting edge.
Rooney had a great chance, but headed straight to Marriott, Rodgers and Philliskirk saw drives flash just wide while Clarke-Harris brought a save from the Stags' keeper.
And right at the death in stoppage time, Latics had two further half chances to win the tie.
Clarke-Harris, on the left of the box, saw his drive parried by Marriott. Then Petrasso fired over from the edge of the box after a poor punched clearance from the keeper following Jonathan Grounds’ free kick.
It was not to be as it proved a frustrating afternoon for Latics who, at least, live to fight another day and they are still in the FA Cup.
Latics (4-4-2): Oxley; Lanzoni, Tarkowski, Grounds, Plummer; Schmeltz (Petrasso 57), Smith, Rodgers, Dayton (Clarke-Harris 57); Rooney, Philliskirk. Subs (not used): Brown, Mellor, Winchester, Belezika, Rachubka.
Mansfield (4-4-1-1): Marriott; Westlake, Dempster, Riley, Daniel; Meikle (Palmer 78), Murray (Hutchinson 80), Clucas; Howell; Dyer. Subs (not used): Black, Rhead, Tafazollo, Beevers, Deakin.
The goals: Smith (27) for Latics. Clucas (45) for Mansfield.
Bookings: Smith (7) for Latics. Clucas (38), Murray (62), Daniel (90+3) for Mansfield.
Referee: Mr I Williamson.
Attendance: 3,429 (379 visitors).