Latics struggled to capitalise on their chances as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Reading at the DW Stadium.
The hosts were without Gavin Massey, Michael Jacobs, Chey Dunkley and Antonee Robinson due to injury although striker Will Grigg returned to the bench after five weeks out.
Latics had the majority of the opportunities with Josh Windass, Nick Powell, Nathan Byrne, Cedric Kipre and Joe Garner all going close, but they were unable to take advantage in a dour encounter.
Nick Powell might have given Latics the lead but he had a close range headed goal disallowed for offside following a short corner.
The Royals best chance came in the second half when Yakou Meite’s close range effort was turned away by Christan Walton.
Latics drop a place to 17th in the Championship table while Reading remain in 20th place just outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
Paul Cook’s team made the early running with Dan Burn heading wide from a Gary Roberts cross before Cedric Kipre missed a great chance heading over when he got on the end of Kal Naismith’s flick-on.
Powell then forced Royals keeper Anssi Jaakkola to tip over his 25-yard drive.
From the resulting corner, Powell looked to have given Latics the lead when he headed home at the near post but James was adjudged to have been offside when he played a one-two with Gary Roberts.
Kipre couldn’t capitalise on another good opportunity in the penalty area before Nathan Byrne had an even better chance heading wide at the back post with the goal at his mercy.
Josh Windass then forced another good save from Jaakkola from Naismith’s low cross into the area.
Early in the second half Roberts cut inside his marker and saw another shot saved by Jakkola before Windass missed the target from the rebound.
Latics were missing a clinical finisher and it was somewhat surprising that Will Grigg wasn’t introduced until the 71st minute.
Winger Callum McManaman remained on the bench and it was a little disappointing that Cook didn’t utilise his attacking threat. However, after four defeats the manager didn’t want to risk losing the game and seemed relieved to get a point on the board.
Despite lacking their early season continuity and cohesion Latics had still managed to create plenty of opportunities but had been profligate in front of goal.
Substitute Joe Garner had the hosts final opening from a James corner but his effort was blocked on the line and the points were shared.
If Latics are to get back to winning ways in the upcoming fixtures against Blackburn and Bolton they will need to improve in the final third, they cannot continue to waste opportunities if they are to thrive in the Championship. Forwards Grigg and McManaman must surely start against Blackburn on Wednesday night at the DW Stadium.