Latics’ development squad lost their first pre-season friendly of the 2014/15 campaign 2-0 at the hands of Conference Premier side Southport at the Merseyrail Community Stadium.
A first-half penalty from Richard Brodie gave the hosts the advantage before Luke George headed home a second in the early stages of the second-half.
It was a tough evening for the young Latics with the experienced hosts fielding a side full of players with Football League experience.
The hosts went closest to opening the scoring inside the first ten minutes as Paul Rutherford’s cross nearly deceived Latics’ trialist keeper who did well to back-pedal and tip over.
The Sandgrounders didn’t have to wait long for their advantage, though as Brodie was tripped by Latics’ trialist stopper inside the area before picking himself up to convert the spot-kick into the keeper’s top left-hand corner.
Brodie had two chances to double the advantage five minutes later, first he was played in by Southport’s only starting trialist only to be denied by a smart save from the Latics stopper before he headed straight at the keeper from six yards from the resulting corner.
Latics struggled to take control of the game with a mazy run from Joey Johnson that forced a good last-ditch challenge from Luke Foster as close as the young side came in the opening half hour.
Rutherford continued to prove a threat for the hosts as he curled narrowly of the top left-hand corner from 25 yards as the first-half entered the final ten minutes.
Jordan Flores’ set-piece was nearly headed into Danny Lloyd-Weston’s bottom right-hand corner as Joe Parkinson’s side probed for an equaliser in the latter stages of the first half.
Grant Holt featured in the first 45 minutes and it was the former Norwich City man who denied Southport a second in the final move of the half as he headed Rutherford's dangerous set-piece safely behind.
Rutherford was close to doubling the advantage again just two minutes into the second-half as he picked up a loose ball before driving into the area and firing narrowly wide.
Jordan Flores had a good chance to level for Latics as the hour mark approached but his shot was blocked following good play from last season’s Michael Millett award winner Matty Hamilton.
Southport did make it 2-0 on the hour mark as George rose highest from a corner to head towards goal and, despite an attempt at a goal-line clearance, referee Peter Bankes adjudged the ball to have crossed the line.
Substitute Sean Harrison almost forced an immediate comeback for Latics as his 40-yard punt almost lobbed Lloyd-Weston who did well to parry over.
Johnson fired narrowly wide from 25 yards as the game entered the final 15 minutes with the young Latics struggling to find a way through the experienced Sandgrounders backline.
Second-half substitute Louis Robles was played in by Johnson in the final five minutes but he dragged his effort wide of Lloyd-Weston’s right-hand post.
Latics: Trialist, Trialist, Lambert, Poole (Purzycki, 65), Wilson (Harrison, 45), McNally (Balogun, 65), Johnson, Cvetkovic (Barrigan, 65), Holt (Robles, 45), Hamilton, Flores.
Subs not used: Keane