Chances squandered in defeat at Crawley
Sadly it was the all-too-familiar story of Latics’ early season as they lost 1-0 at Crawley Town in Sky Bet League 1.
It was another disappointing day as for the eighth time in nine league matches, Latics found themselves trailing and chasing the game after conceding another avoidable goal.
While not at their best, Latics still had enough chances to claw their way back into the game, Charlie MacDonald hitting both the upright and crossbar.
"We had four really good chances and on another day we could be stood here talking about a 4-2 win and a whole different run of events," declared Lee Johnson.
Latics' manager did not emerge from the changing room until over an hour after the final whistle.
He said: "We are not far off, but there is something missing, whether it is one or two players or one or two wins, only time will tell.
"We need to work out as a group why we are dominating games, switching off for one minute and not winning.
"We had four or five really good chances – in fairness they also had a couple – but we have come away without at least one point.
"The most important statistic is the goal tally and I don’t know what I can do to Philly (Daniel Philliskirk) when he missed from two yards, Charlie missed a one on one and another from two yards."
Johnson made two changes from the previous week’s game against Crewe as Jonson Clarke-Harris won a recall and Anton Rodgers handed a first league start. Adam Rooney and Sidney Schmeltz were the two players to stand down.
There was also a change of system with Rodgers becoming a third central midfield man, Clarke-Harris operating on the right wing and MacDonald the lone front man.
Latics could not have made a worse start falling behind in the sixth minute when they failed to clear a corner and centre-back Joe Walsh was left free inside the six-yard box to shoot high into the roof of the net.
Crawley had other openings and it was not until midway through the half that Latics began to inch their way back into the game.
Korey Smith released MacDonald who, clean through on goal, was denied by the legs of keeper Paul Jones.
MacDonald then headed Jonathan Grounds' cross back across goal only for it to clip the far upright. Quite conceivably Latics could have been 2-1 ahead in the 34th minute.
Yet Crawley could have finished 2-0 ahead when new striker Emile Sinclair burst through on goal and rounded keeper Mark Oxley only to shoot against the upright from a tight angle.
Schmeltz replaced Rodgers at the restart as Johnson reverted to 4-4-2.
And not long afterwards, MacDonald was denied by the frame of the goal for a second time. Jones failed to gather a cross and McDonald, with the goal gaping, headed against the crossbar from no more than three yards out.
Latics made two further changes throwing on strikers Rooney and Philliskirk for Clarke-Harris and James Dayton in pursuit of an equaliser.
Both sides had chances without seriously looking like finding a route to goal.
Latics had one further chance to draw level in the dying minutes when Philliskirk contrived to miss from a couple of yards as he was thwarted by Jones .
Crawley could have made it 2-0 in the last minute following a breakaway as substitute Sergio Torres squared the ball to Nicky Adams who found himself free in front of goal only for keeper Mark Oxley to make a brilliant block with his legs.
Crawley (4-4-2): P Jones; M Jones, McFadzean, Walsh, Sadler; Adams, Bulman, Drury (Hurst 81), Simpson; Clarke (Torres 86), Sinclair (Proctor 65). Subs (not used): Connolly, Esam, L Rooney, Maddison.
Latics (4-5-1): Oxley; Lanzoni, Tarkowski, Grounds, Mills; Clarke-Harris (Rooney 63), Rodgers (Schmeltz 46), Smith, Wesolowski, Dayton (Philliskirk 72); MacDonald. Subs (not used): Rachubka, Winchester, Millar, Joksts,
The goal: Walsh (6) for Crawley.
Bookings: Walsh (53) for Crawley. Rodgers (25), Tarkowski (29), Lanzoni (90+1) for Latics.
Referee: Mr A Davies.
Attendance: 3,142 (317 visitors)