Gary Caldwell reckoned Stephen Warnock’s ‘outstanding’ debut was ‘the only positive’ of Wigan Athletic’s disappointing trip to Colchester.
Latics twice led the rock-bottom U’s, thanks to first-half goals from Yanic Wildschut and Ryan Colclough.
But twice the home side fought back through Alex Gilbey and Elliot Lee, and they took the lead on the hour mark when Reece Wabara was penalised for a foul in the area and George Moncur converted from the spot.
Latics would have suffered their first defeat in 15 games had in-form Will Grigg not equalised in the last minute.
But even that wasn’t enough to put a smile on the manager’s face, after seeing two precious points slip away.
“It was too little, too late,” Caldwell told the Evening Post.
“I’ve told all the strikers that we can’t squander chances like we did today.
“They’re not going to keep coming.
“In football you have to take the chances when they come along.
“We squandered too many today.”
Indeed Caldwell was struggling to find any encouragement, apart from the performance of his newest signing from Derby County - who started at left-back, which became left wing-back after a formation switch, and then centre-back following a late attacking substitution.
“I thought Stephen was outstanding - he played three different positions in his first game,” Caldwell gushed.
“He’s come from the Championship, and he’s showed how you play football.
“He played like a man, he won tackles, he won headers, he passed the ball, and he showed his energy despite not playing for three weeks.
“I was delighted with his performance.”
Latics have now drawn their last three matches, ahead of next weekend’s visit of resurgent Bradford.
“That’ll be another difficult game,” Caldwell added.
“I saw them beat Burton, who are top of the league, quite convincingly in the week.
“Like every game in this league, as we keep saying, it will be very difficult.”