Report: Bolton 1-1 Wigan
Adam Bogdan was to be the hero for Wanderers as he saved Jordi Gomez’s 94th minute penalty kick and in turn secured a point in a 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic at the Reebok Stadium.
Lukas Jutkiewicz’s sixth goal for the club had the Whites seemingly on their way to victory, but Nick Powell’s 88th minute strike drew the Latics level.
The drama wasn’t to end there however with Alex Baptiste upending Callum McManaman in the area with 60 seconds remaining, but Bogdan denied Gomez from 12 yards to ensure that the clash ended all square.
Liam Trotter, Rob Hall and Chung-Yong Lee were drafted into the Bolton starting line-up, while there were places on the bench for under-21 regulars Oscar Threlkeld, Andrew Kellett and loanee Andrew Robinson who joined on from Southampton this week.
Wanderers started brightly, with Rob Hall’s looping effort inside 30 seconds almost eluding Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi, but the former Bolton shot stopper was able to collect the ball at the second attempt.
Having almost made the perfect start to proceedings, the Whites enjoyed another glorious opportunity as Trotter played the ball into the path of Lukas Jutkiewicz, but Al-Habsi was on hand to pull off a superb reflex save to deny him what would have been an impressive goal.
After finding themselves penned into their own area for much of the opening stages of the clash, Emmerson Boyce looked certain to hand the visitors the lead after Martyn Waghorn had played a lethal ball across the face of goal, but David Wheater was on hand to clear Wanderers’ lines.
The chance appeared to breathe confidence into Wigan with Marc Antoine Fortune’s effort deflecting narrowly past the upright, but the hosts were back on the attack soon after as Chung-Yong Lee found himself one on one with Al-Habsi but the winger was unable to capitalise.
Trotter was on the move once again soon after, with his determined attitude almost leading to the opening goal as he fed Jutkiewicz whose final ball narrowly eluded the advancing Chung-Yong Lee.
Following such a sprightly start to the game, a goal seemed to be imminent and it finally arrived with 14 minutes of the half remaining as Hall, a thorn in Wigan’s side throughout the first period, delivered a perfectly executed free-kick into the area with Jutkiewicz given the simple task of poking the ball beyond Al-Habsi.
A goal which was undoubtedly deserved on Wanderers’ part, it was almost two five minutes later as Hall turned his man and attempted an audacious effort from just inside the box, but the young winger’s effort flew narrowly over the crossbar.
As the clock ran down to the half time whistle, the Whites did enjoy half chances to extend their lead but the advantage remained at just one at the break.
The visitors started the second period with gusto, but substitute Callum McManaman’s ambitious effort failed to trouble Adam Bogdan in the Bolton goal.
No sooner had Wigan enjoyed a chance however, Wanderers were back on the attack with Hall forcing Al-Habsi into a smart save from close range after good work from Jutkiewicz while Chung-Yong Lee’s venomous effort was deflected away by David Wheater.
The Reebok faithful were left calling for the dismissal of Leon Barnett as he hauled down Trotter with the midfielder in on goal, but the referee brandished only a yellow to the displeasure of the home supporters.
With the pressure building and the atmosphere growing alongside it, Jay Spearing and Wheater tested Al-Habsi in quick succession, with the former’s drilled long range effort being denied by the fingertips of the Oman international.
Moments later Tim Ream looked to have extended Wanderers’ lead with an angled drive from the corner of the box, but the keeper was on his guard to push the ball around the post.
Having been denied once, the defender was trying his luck once again with 22 minutes remaining as he powered to the edge of the area before curling an effort goalbound, only to be denied yet again by Al-Habsi’s fingertips.
Chasing the game, Wigan introduced Jack Collison and Nick Powell into the mix in a bid to snatch an equalising goal and the decision to do so lead to a period of pressure from the visitors but limited clear cut opportunities.
Dougie Freedman introduced Andre Moritz and Alex Baptiste into the fold inside the latter stages of the clash with the former almost putting the result beyond doubt with six minutes remaining with a ferocious effort which was blocked at the death by Barnett.
With four minutes remaining, Jutkiewicz received a standing ovation from three sides of the Reebok Stadium with Jermaine Beckford coming on in the frontman’s place.
As the clock ran down and with Wanderers seemingly heading for all three points, Powell was to break Bolton hearts with two minutes left as he fired past Bogdan to bring Wigan back on level terms.
With five minutes of added time indicated, it was clear to see that neither side were settling for a point and the visitors were handed the opportunity to steal all three points in the dying seconds as Baptiste conceded a penalty kick with less than 60 seconds remaining.
A dagger in the heart of all associated with Wanderers, Bogdan was to be the hero as he denied Jordi Gomez from 12 yards to ensure that the Whites secured a well-deserved point.