Back-to-back wins provide perfect tonic for poor start.
- Latics end 2015 with back-to-back away wins at Barnsley and Fleetwood.
- Andy Kellett shines in both victories with goals in consecutive matches.
- Victories the perfect remedy for JPT exit and home defeat to Blackpool.
League form - W2 D0 L1
Position - 5th
Unfortunately for Latics, December kicked off in the same style November had finished as their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy campaign was ended by Barnsley at the DW Stadium.
A Tykes side containing Reece Wabara, who signed for Gary Caldwell’s men a month later, edging the Northern Area semi-final on penalties after Will Grigg had twice cancelled out efforts from Adam Hammill and Ivan Toney.
Former Tykes Craig Davies and David Perkins missed from the spot, though, with Lee Johnson’s side successfully converting all four of their takes to progress to the area final of a competition they eventually won at Wembley Stadium.
Wembley dreams ended at the hands of Barnsley.
The disappointment continued when struggling Blackpool took all three points home from the DW Stadium with Tom Aldred’s first-half header enough to earn the win for the Seasiders with Caldwell’s side dropping to sixth in the table, ten points behind leaders Burton.
Latics had revenge on their mind for a trip to Barnsley in Sky Bet League One, the Tykes having taken a chance of a trip to Wembley away from Latics just a fortnight earlier. Caldwell shuffled his pack, handing Andy Kellett a first league start in an advanced role. The move paid off, the former Bolton Wanderers man curling home the opener at Oakwell before Yanic Wildschut made sure of the win in the second-half as he caused havoc in the Barnsley backline to slot into an empty net.
Keen to follow that win up on their own patch, Latics were disappointed to lose a bumper Boxing Day crowd as Sheffield United’s visit to the DW Stadium was washed out along with many games across the country after the Christmas downpour took its toll on the playing surface and surrounding areas.
That meant Latics would close out the year with a first-ever Football League meeting with Fleetwood Town at the Highbury Stadium.
A sell-out following of over 1,300 saw Kellett score for the second consecutive game before Antoni Sarcevic levelled from the spot for the Cod Army. However, late goals from substitute Jordy Hiwula and Michael Jacobs secured a 3-1 victory to move Latics back up to fifth, although the gap to Walsall and Burton remained at eight points.
Max Power, Jordy Hiwula and Michael Jacobs celebrate the late double at Fleetwood.