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Glass half full for Latics

21 September 2013

Johnson on draw against Crewe


Lee Johnson's glass was half full following Latics' 1-1 draw at home to Crewe Alexandra.

Latics' manager focused on the positives after his side arrested its recent slide following three successive defeats in Sky Bet League 1.

Johnson was pleased with the character and resilience shown by his side after it yet again fell behind to hand the initiative to their opponents.

Charlie MacDonald, back in the starting line up after injury, scored Latics' equaliser with the manager saying hopefully he can now have a run in the side.

He said: "I am happy with a point after conceding first again. We didn't look great in the first half when you cannot carry four or five who are having really poor games.

"I had to do something and changed the shape of the side in the second half. I put James Dayton in the hole and he started to become dangerous."

Though Johnson admitted Latics were far from their best, he believes they could have won the game.

He continued:  "We had four or five really good chances when you look at Joseph Mills’ s effort which flashed across the box, Charlie hit the post and Rooney should have scored when he went through and Dayton had a couple of long shots.

"It was okay, but disappointing as I thought we could have won the game. However, we stopped the rot and it is good to get a point which we can build on."

Latics made four changes from the defeat at Rotherham, though three were enforced as David Mellor was suspended, Cristian Montano and Genseric Kusunga were injured while Danny Philliskirk dropped down to the bench.

James Tarkowski and Dayton returned after injury while James Wesolowski and MacDonald were restored to the starting line up.

Dayton had an early shot well beaten out by keeper Steve Phillips before Crewe snatched a 12th minute lead.

Oliver Turton's initial shot was blocked, but the rebound came back to him as he found the net with a low drive from the edge of the box which wrong-footed keeper Mark Oxley, possibly with the aid of a deflection.

It might have been even worse moments later when Crewe struck the crossbar twice in the same move.

Max Clayton's shot was deflected and looked to be looping in until Oxley tipped the ball on to the crossbar. The ball rebounded to Byron Moore whose follow-up header also hit the bar.

Latics had two great chances to equalise before the break when MacDonald's close-range effort struck an upright after Crewe failed to clear Sidney Schmeltz's low cross while Dayton released Rooney who burst through on goal only to see Phillips keep out his shot with his legs.

Jonson Clarke-Harris replaced Rooney at the break and played on the left as Dayton switched into the hole behind MacDonald.

The equaliser came in the 54th minute when Dayton lofted a delightful ball over the Crewe defence. MacDonald eluded the offside trap to shoot low past Phillips. The joyous celebrations are pictured. 

Dayton came within a whisker of giving Latics the lead on the hour when he cut in from the left and unleashed a terrific shot which Phillips did well to turn away.

Crewe remained a threat and Oxley saved Latics twice in the latter stages with important saves.

First he made a great stop low to his right to keep out a shot from Clayton who produced a delightful turn in the box and secondly he turned away a goalbound volley from substitute Ryan Colclough.

Latics brought on Philliskirk and Kirk Millar in the last 20 minutes to provide fresh legs in pursuit of a winner, but they were unable to help conjure that elusive second goal.

Latics (4-4-2): Oxley; Lanzoni, Tarkowski, Grounds, Mills; Schmeltz, Smith, Wesolowski, Dayton (Philliskirk 71); Rooney (Clarke-Harris 46), MacDonald (Millar 75). Subs (not used): Rachubka, Winchester, Rodgers, Joksts.

Crewe (4-4-2): Phillips; Tootle, Davis, Ellis, Guthrie (Mellor 80), Moore, Osman, Turton (Nolan 79), Inman; Clayton, Leitch-Smith (Colclough75). Subs (not used): Garrett, Ray, Molyneux, Aneke.

The goals: MacDonald (54) for Latics. Turton (12) for Crewe.

Bookings: MacDonald (46) for Latics. Inman (16) for Crewe.

Referee: Mr C Boyeson

Attendance: 4,273 (298 visitors)


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