Three wins, three draws and six more unbeaten.
- Latics end March one point from the Sky Bet League One summit.
- Title hopes building as Latics make it 18 games unbeaten.
- Three draws followed by three wins to tighten grip on Burton Albion.
League form - W3 D3 L0
Position - 2nd
A busy March began with a rare trip to the capital as Latics went down to play-off chasing Millwall with a four-point cushion above third place Gillingham. And, marshalled by defenders Jason Pearce and Craig Morgan, Latics managed to battle through for a point in a 0-0 draw at the Den after playing over an hour with ten men following Sam Morsy’s first-half dismissal.
281 Latics supporters show their appreciation for a battling display at the Den.
Looking to get back to winning ways when out of form Peterborough United visited the DW Stadium, Latics looked to be on their way when Will Grigg continued his fine run in the calendar year to give his side a 71st minute lead. However, Lee Nicholls, in for a first appearance of the season following Jussi Jaaskelainen’s injury, could do little to prevent Marcus Maddison’s swerving free-kick nestling in his left corner to level for 1-1.
Struggling Colchester United were up next and, having defeated the U’s 5-0 earlier in the campaign, Latics travelled to Essex in buoyant mood that they could get back to winning ways. However, Kevin Keen’s side put up a valiant fight and it was Latics who were pleased to salvage a point after goals from Alex Gilbey, Elliot Lee and George Moncur gave the U’s the lead after Yanic Wildschut and Ryan Colclough had twice given Caldwell’s side the lead.
It was man of the moment Grigg who got the 90th minute leveller, a goal that extended the unbeaten run to 15 games with a 3-3 draw.
Despite remaining unbeaten, Latics were three without a win and the pressure from the chasing pack was intense. Bradford City came to the DW Stadium hoping to close their own deficit on Latics with their automatic promotion bid still alive.
Despite the best efforts of Grigg, Wildschut, Colclough and co. it looked as if Caldwell’s side wouldn’t get through the Bantams’ solid backline. But Haris Vuckic popped up with a moment of quality to earn a first win in March that kept them above Walsall on goal difference, though they still trailed Burton Albion by six points despite the 1-0 victory.
Latics celebrate Vuckic's crucial winner against the Bantams.
The talk around the Easter weekend was that the two games in such a short period could be crucial to the outcome of the season.
Chairman David Sharpe put on free coaches to get the fans behind the players in Wiltshire and it proved to be an inspired mood as Latics took the lead through Grigg before they blew the Robins away in the second-half with Max Power and Morsy adding to another striker from the Northern Ireland international to secure a 4-0 lead with just six second-half minutes played. Only Nicky Ajose, Grigg's rival for the Sky Bet League One Golden Boot, could muster anything for the hosts with his late consolation.
Another tough home fixture followed as play-off chasing Rochdale visited the DW on Easter Monday. Keith Hill’s side lost Ian Henderson early on after he lashed out at Pearce, and Latics made the man advantage eventually count when Conor McAleny bundled the ball home from close range to secure a narrow win that made it six points from six on the Easter weekend.
Latics celebrate another narrow victory after McAleny's goal against Rochdale.