Wigan Athletic boss Warren Joyce criticised his side’s ‘composure in both boxes’ after the 1-0 home loss to Sheffield Wednesday.
Latics gave as good as they got for the majority of a tight encounter, but Ross Wallace’s 43rd-minute goal - which looped over Jakob Haugaard after a massive deflection off Jake Buxton - proved decisive.
The home side did have chances to respond after the break, but didn’t really test Owls goalkeeper Keiren Westwood enough to warrant a point.
“It’s just the final decision-making again, it’s composure in both boxes that’s cost us,” mused Joyce.
“There was a tremendous amount of effort - you couldn’t fault the lads for that.
“The drive, the willingness to run, the trying to make it happen with runs and endeavour, was all there.
“It’s just the final ball, the quality, was weighty, it wasn’t quite there.
“In saying that I thought we created the best two or three chances of the second half.
“But one of those has got to end up in the back of the net if we’re going to win games.”
The goal was virtually the only moment of note in a first half desperately short on quality and excitement, with Latics made to pay for switching off just before the interval.
“It was a disappointing goal, a poor goal to concede,” Joyce acknowledged.
“I thought there was a of effort, a lot of thought, a lot of commitment in the game.
“But we just lost our way for five or 10 minutes in the game just before half-time.
“I think the goal was avoidable, if you trace it back.
“We have a free-kick ourselves on the halfway line, and it’s not one where you even have to lump it long into their box.
“In those positions we would normally get it down and play, run the back four, and maybe get our breath back because they’ve just had a spell with the ball.
“We have to recognise that the Sheffield Wednesdays, the Newcastles, the Huddersfields of this league are going to have little bits of play, and we have to be on our mettle.
“We have to make sure we don’t concede at vital times like that - and we’ve conceded too many goals either late in games or just before half-time.”
Latics dominated the second period, taking advantage of five days’ rest against an opponent that had to cope with a long-haul trip to Bristol City in midweek.
But substitute James Weir was narrowly unable to crown his debut with a goal, heading inches over the top shortly after seeing a Michael Jacobs through ball roll just in front of him, while Callum Connolly saw an ‘equaliser’ controversially ruled out for a borderline offside call.
“It would have been a good introduction for James to have headed that one in, and there was another one where the pass in to him was a bit weighty,” added Joyce.
“I don’t know whether the Callum one was offside or not, I’ve not seen it, but that was another example of clever play.”