Latics v Bournemouth
It wasn’t the defeat, but the manner of Latics’ loss against AFC Bournemouth which upset Caretaker Manager Tony Philliskirk.
Brett Pitman’s first-half goal inflicted a 10th home defeat in npower League One to leave Latics in the relegation places on an afternoon when Jose Baxter missed a costly penalty.
Philliskirk (pictured) said: "It was unacceptable and I was embarrassed to be associated by what I saw in the opening half.
"I have been here 15 years and don’t think I have seen a worse 45 minutes. And if there has been a team that has come here in my time at Boundary Park and had an easier half, I have not seen it.
"It flabbergasts me that when the club is in the situation which it finds itself, and in a game of such magnitude, that the players can perform like they did in the first half.
"My message to the young players all the time is play big, don’t act big. We have a lot of players here who act big, but don’t play big.
"I told the players at half time that action speaks longer than words. They all talk a good game, but in the first half we were inept and second best to everything.
"There was no passion, drive and desire which should be a given as a professional footballer. To say we disappointed and annoyed at half time is an understatement.
"There were raised voices at half time, but they cannot defend themselves because the first half was abject."
Philliskirk admitted his players at least had a go in the second period and had Baxter not missed a penalty to equalise, they might have gone on and won the game.
He continued: "Had we won the game, it would not have masked that first 45 minutes which I was embarrassed to be associated with.
"At the end of the day the table doesn’t lie. After 36 games, we have 36 points which is not good enough.
"I have kept saying the players and the squad is better than the position suggests. May be they are as players, but attitude wise and their feeling for the club isn’t as strong as it should be. Is it hurting them as much as it is hurting me? I am not so sure."
Latics made one enforced change from last Saturday as Chris Iwelumo replaced the injured Matt Smith up front. New loan signing Korey Smith was on the bench.
Philliskirk explained that Smith was no used because the three substitutions were made because of the need to conjure a goal from somewhere adding he could easily have hauled off seven or eight players.
It was a measure as to the strength of the Bournemouth side they had £2million of talent on the bench in Matt Tubbs, Matt Ritchie, Tommy Elphick and Shaun MacDonald.
Pitman’s match winning goal, which came midway through the opening half, was the only chance of a dire period.
Ironically it came following a corner from Latics as the visitors broke away with Lewis Grabban, a former Boundary Park loan player, cutting the ball back from the byline for Pitman to convert from inside the six-yard box for his 12th goal of the season and third in the last four matches.
The match only sparked to life with little over half an hour remaining when Latics’ keeper Dean Bouzanis saved well to deny Pitman a second goal.
Visiting keeper Ryan Allsop was redundant for almost an hour, his first save to turn an angled shot from Jordan Obita around the post for a corner.
Latics made all three substitutions in an eight-minute spell as Lee Croft, Obita and Iwelumo were replaced by Kirk Millar, Cristian Montano and Robbie Simpson.
They were given an opportunity to equalise when Grabban handled in the area with 20 minutes remaining.
Bournemouth had done their homework as Baxter, not for the first time, tried a cheeky chip down the middle enabling Allsop to make a simple save.
Baxter had the chance to make amends not long after when Simpson was fouled just outside the penalty area. He bent his free kick around the defensive wall, but Allsop made a flying save low to his left to turn the ball to safety.
Allsop also made another super stop to keep out Montano’s deflected shot as Latics became more of a threat.
Bournemouth had a great chance to double their advantage with five minutes left when Steve Cook released Pitman who lobbed Bouzanis only to see the ball land on the roof of the net.
Late on there was the unusual sight of Cherries’ substitute Josh McQuoid being booked while warming up for unsporting behaviour after he kicked the ball away as it ran out of play.
Latics (4-4-2): Bouzanis; Brown, Tarkowski, M’voto, Grounds; Croft (Millar 61), Wesolowski, Baxter, Obita (Montano 67); Barnard, Iwelumo (Simpson 69). Subs (not used): Cisak, Taylor, K Smith, Winchester.
Bournemouth (4-4-2): Allsop; Francis, Cook, Seabourne, Daniels (Ritchie 73); Fogden, Arter, O’Kane, Pugh; Grabban (Hughes 73), Pitman. Subs (not used): Jalal, Tubbs, Elphick, McQuoid, MacDonald.
The goal: Pitman (22) for Bournemouth.
Bookings: Tarkowski (42) for Latics. Arter (63), Pitman (74), Francis (76), McQuoid (88) for Bournemouth.
Referee: Mr K Hill.
Attendance: 3,540 (194 visitors).