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Johnson apology to fans

30 October 2013

Disappointing night for Latics

It was a night to forget for Latics who slipped to defeat at bottom-club Notts County in their rearranged Sky Bet League 1 match. 

Indeed, Lee Johnson apologised to Latics’ travelling fans following his side’s abject first-half display at Meadow Lane. 

It was so bad Latics' manager later revealed that he was tempted to make all three substitutions in the opening half hour, but couldn't risk doing so as several players were carrying niggles. 

Johnson, whose side had los t only once in its last five league and cup matches as fortunes had improved, said: "I want to apologise to the fans who travelled all this way because in the first half it simply wasn't good enough. 

"It was terrible and I don't know what was up with them. Nobody took to the game and we were second best to everything and we were so lucky to be 1-1 and could even have been 2-1 up at half time. 

"I was disappointed and angry and we didn't deserve to win the game after that first-half performance." 
Latics' manager added the consolation was they at least had a go in the second half, looked like scoring and were aggressive. 

"Overall I have no complaints apart than with my players. You realise how much you miss people at times, and it stood out like a sore thumb with James Tarkowski," he continued. 

David Mellor replaced the suspended Tarkowski, the one enforced change from Saturday's home win against Swindon Town. 

County, meanwhile, had Steve Hodge in temporary charge after Chris Kiwomya’s sacking on Sunday. And he shook up the side making four changes from the side which was beaten at home by Preston North End on Saturday. 

Danny Haynes, a former team mate of Johnson at Bristol City, put County ahead in the 19th minute having already had a couple of earlier goal attempts. 

He found the net with a near-post header into the roof of the net from Greg Tempest’s corner. 

Though Danny Philliskirk had a goal attempt blocked, County were in control and ought to have doubled their advantage, but Joss Labadie's header flashed just wide. 

Latics were so ineffective that Johnson made a change after only 35 minutes when Kirk Millar was replaced by Jonson Clarke-Harris who went close with a shot soon after making entrance. 

Labadie burst clean through on goal only for keeper Mark Oxley to somehow deflect his shot over the crossbar. 

Latics rode their luck only to finish the opening period on the front foot. 

They equalised in the 45th minute with a rare move of quality as Korey Smith burst forward and James Dayton provided a perfect cross for Adam Rooney to head home his fifth goal of the season. 

Keeper Bartosz  Bialkowski got to the ball and Jordan Holt attempted a goalline clearance, but a referee's assistant signalled the ball had crossed the line. 

Indeed, Smith could have given Latics the lead in stoppage time only to see his shot blocked.. 

Latics continued where they left off as they made a promising start to the second period in which Dayton had two good chances and Mellor made a dangerous break before seeing his shot deflected for a corner. 

Yet it was County who regained the lead on the hour with an unmarked far-post header from substitute Yoann Arquin who had only been on the field for six minutes. 

Oxley denied Callum McGregor with a brave block only for Haynes to shoot the rebound over. 

There was no escape midway through the half when County made it 3-1 with a well-worked goal. McGregor, on loan from Celtic, showed delightful footwork to make an opening before firing home from the edge of the box low to the left of Oxley. It was the wide man’s eighth goal of the season. 

Latics quickly reduced the deficit when Clarke-Harris walloped home a terrific free kick from 25 yards, his first goal for the club, and it was game back on. 

Clarke-Harris could have equalised not long after when he had a free header, but glanced it wide. 

Late on James Wesolowski fired into the side netting while in stoppage time substitute Sidney Schmeltz was convinced he was fouled and Latics ought to have been awarded a penalty. 

County held on and McGregor had a chance to add a fourth goal when he beat the offside trap, but shot over. 

County (4-4-1-1): Bialkowski;  C Thompson (M Smith 46), Holt, Liddle, Sheehan; McGregor, Labadie, Fotheringham, Tempest; Grealish (Arquin 54); Haynes (Haworth 74). Subs (not used) Spiess, Waite, Bennett, Dixon. 

Latics (4-2-2): Oxley; Winchester (Rodgers  71), Kusunga, Grounds, Mellor; Philliskirk, Smith, Wesolowski, Dayton (Schmeltz 79); Millar (Clarke-Harris 35), Rooney. Subs (not used): Rachubka, Montano, Joksts, Clarke. 

The goals: Haynes (19), Arquin (60),  McGregor (68) for County. Rooney (45), Clarke-Harris (70) for Latics. 

Bookings: Fotheringham (27) for County. Mellor (21) for Latics. 

Referee: Mr G Ward, 

Attendance: 3,385 

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