ROTHERHAM UNITED 3 - 2 LATICS
A gutsy second half display was not enough to salvage anything from a game in which Latics suffered a first half blitz that saw them three down at the break.
Yanic Wildschut’s superb curling shot after 51 minutes set the tone and inspired Latics to a half of near total domination.
Jordi Gomez then added a second with a low finish on 79 minutes and although Latics had the ball in the back of the net in injury time from a Gomez corner, the referee judged Michael Jacobs to have hand-balled the ball in to goal and booked him.
Latics also had a first half effort ruled out for offside from Craig Davies.
Latics were still missing Shaun MacDonald, Nick Powell, David Perkins, Craig Morgan and Luke Garbutt, meaning a first start of the season for Davies, while the bench had a decidedly inexperienced look about it.
Latics simply had no answer to the home side in the first half. From a Joe Newell corner, Lee Frecklington shot back across the face of goal and Belaid poked it over the line from close range.
Latics tried to immediately hit back but Wildschut blasted over from the edge of the box as he cut in from the left hand side. Latics probed to find a way through but were stunned just after the half hour mark when a Joe Mattock shot from 20 yards hit took a deflection, fell at the feet of Danny Ward near the penalty spot and his shot wrong-footed Jussi Jaaskelainen after another deflection.
Unfortunate but Latics looked to hit back straightaway, Craig Davies firing low past Lewis Price but he was ruled to have started his run from an off-side position. It looked close.
Latics were then shell-shocked by a third in injury time as Ward picked up the ball on the left, his shot was brilliantly saved by Jaaskelainen at full-stretch but the ball bounced off the unfortunate Burn who could do nothing about the ball crossing the line.
Latics did perform much better after the break and got their rewards when Steve Warnock’s ball in from the left fell to Gomez on the edge of the box. He set up Wildschut, who took a touch and curled the ball superbly beyond Lewis Price into the far corner.
When Gomez smashed home Andy Kellett’s pass on 79 minutes, belief shot through Latics’ veins. Max Power’s thunderbolt free-kick was blocked when it looked goal-bound then a moment of late drama as Gomez swung in his corner. Latics celebrated but rather than pointing to the centre-circle, the referee reached for his pocket and brandished a yellow card towards Jacobs.