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Baxter provides spark

23 July 2013

Jose goal earns friendly draw

Jose Baxter helped preserve Latics’ unbeaten run in pre-season friendlies which they stretched to four matches following their 1-1 draw at Accrington Stanley.

It was a terrific workout as the SkyBet League 2 side, now managed by former England striker James Beattie, provided robust opposition in what was a competitive and at times feisty encounter.

Lee Johnson, Latics’ manager, said: "You could say it was a proper league game which is why we planned it that way.

"It was a good, intense, high-pressure game and one which I enjoyed.

"We created a lot of good chances and how their keeper (Ian Dunbavin) saved that one at the end I never know. We should also have had a clear penalty."

Johnson thought his side played some slick football in the opening half but lacked potency in front of goal.

He added that there certain aspects of the second-half display which disappointed him.

"There are technical points which we need to go over and address because I felt we became frustrated for a 10-minute period. That is the time when you need leaders," explained Johnson who added he is pleased how his new-look side is evolving.

Johnson made two changes from the side which kicked off three days earlier against Huddersfield Town as Sidney Schmeltz and Adam Rooney started ahead of James Dayton and Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Latics fell behind in the 11th minute through a free kick from Luke Clark which took a deflection off the defensive wall as it flew low to the left of keeper Mark Oxley. James Tarkowski committed the foul as he tripped Piero Mingoia on the edge of the box

Cristian Montano, James Wesolowski and Baxter all had goal attempts saved by Dunbavin before Latics equalised in the 41st minute.

Montano's cross was flicked on by James Tarkowski  to Baxter who found the net with a shot into the ground which looped into the net.

The second half proved an enthralling end-to-end contest in which Accrington were the brighter as Oxley had to save superbly to deny Will Hatfield and Laurence Wilson while Marcus Carver and Peter Murphy also went close.

Latics also had their moments as Rooney glanced a header just wide, Clarke-Harris had a piledriver well beaten out by Dunbavin while there was a shout for what appeared a clear penalty.

In the dying minutes both sides had chances to snatch victory.

Oxley pulled off a superb save to keep out a point-blank effort from Hatfield while  Latics were denied by an extraordinary sequence of events in the 88th minute when they had three goal attempts in the same move as Dunbavin made another super stop while two follow-up efforts were each blocked by last-ditch challenges.

On reflection a draw was probably a fair result as it was a game both sides could have won or lost.

Latics (4-4-1-1): Oxley; Brown (Byrne 46), Tarkowski, Mellor, Grounds; Schmeltz (Dayton 63), Wesolowski (Rodgers 65), Smith, Montano (Clarke-Harris 65); Baxter; Rooney (MacDonald 65). Subs (not used): Millar, Simpson, Belezika, Truelove, Joksts.



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