Report: Wigan 1-1 Bolton
Wanderers were denied all three points at the death against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Following a goalless first period, Bolton opened the scoring with 20 minutes remaining through academy graduate Tom Walker whose deflected shot eluded a stranded Ali Al Habsi in the Wigan goal.
The Latics threw men forward inside the closing stages however and were rewarded deep into stoppage time as Martyn Waghorn’s overhead kick found the back of the net.
There were five changes for Wanderers from the side who turned out against Ipswich in midweek, with Emile Heskey, Paddy McCarthy, Liam Feeney, Barry Bannan and Adam Le Fondre all coming in from the off.
Wanderers started brightly, with Le Fondre seeing his cross-cum-shot fly narrowly wide of Ali Al Habsi’s far post inside the first two minutes.
With the Whites’ healthy travelling support in full voice early on, Rochinha fed the on-loan Cardiff man with a perfect ball shortly after on the edge of the box, only for Le Fondre to be deemed offside.
Rochinha, as he had done against Ipswich on Tuesday, was proving himself a handful for the Latics early on as he won free-kicks and whipped a number of balls across the face of goal.
Having rarely threatened, Wigan almost snatched the lead in the 15th minute as James Perch unleashed from distance, with his effort bouncing off the crossbar to the relief of Wanderers.
A chance which appeared to give the home side confidence, Harry Maguire saw his half volley from a tight angle clear the goalmouth moments later while Marc-Antione Fortune saw his cross blocked at the death.
Wanderers pushed forward themselves however, with Liam Feeney’s cross finding the head of Tom Walker at the far post while the academy graduate saw his poked effort trickle inches wide of the far post moments later.
Rochinha was again in the thick of the action shortly before the half hour mark as he shrugged off the challenge of numerous Wigan defender before firing goalbound, only to see Al Habsi comfortably save his effort.
Heskey almost had a goal against his former employers as he thundered a header towards goal from Rochinha’s corner, but the frontman saw his effort take a slight deflection and fly agonisingly wide of the mark.
Fortune looked certain to break the deadlock with eight minutes of the half remaining as he found himself unmarked a matter of yards away from goal, but a superb reflex save by Ben Amos denied the Wigan frontman.
As the half drew to its conclusion, Wigan thought that they had finally broken the Bolton rearguard as Leon Clarke poked the ball home from close range after collecting Pennant’s header, but the offside flag denied the Latics striker a goal with first period ending all square.
Wigan began the second period with gusto, winning a free-kick just outside of the penalty area with less than a minute on the clock with Pennant’s strike smashing against the post with the home side unable to turn the rebound home through a crowded six yard box.
Bolton responded soon after though as Le Fondre broke free on the right hand flank before whipping the ball into the path of Heskey, only to see his cross prove just a little too strong for the latter.
Pennant was again in the mix in the 54th minute as he found space half way inside the Bolton box, but yet again Amos was called upon to get down low and deny the experienced midfielder.
The game then fell into an end-to-end encounter, although Wigan were the side who enjoyed the more notable goalmouth action with the home crowd growing in noise with each passing attack.
Bolton were soon back on the attack themselves however, with a succession of corners ultimately proving fruitless following good work by Walker.
Josh Murphy had three sides of the DW Stadium on their feet in the 66th minute as he drilled the ball from distance, but his shot cleared the crossbar by a matter of inches.
Having withstood tirades of Wigan pressure, the Whites proceeded to open the scoring with 20 minutes remaining as Walker found space on the edge of the area and saw his shot deflect beyond a stranded Al Habsi to the delight of the travelling Bolton fans behind the goal.
A goal which visibly stunned the home team and supporters, Wigan proceeded to throw Martyn Waghorn and William Kvist into the mix with 12 minutes remaining as the Latics poured forward in their numbers to force an equalising goal.
With the game heading into its final ten minutes, Wigan saw a free-kick from Gaetan Bong fly harmlessly over the crossbar while up the other end Craig Davies, a second half substitute for Bolton, saw his shot from just inside the box blocked by
Sheyi Ojo forced yet another smart save out of Amos with two minutes remaining as the keeper had to be on his guard to push his low drive around the post, while the home side saw another effort crash off the crossbar moments later.
With five minutes of added time indicated, Wigan threw everything forward and were rewarded three minutes in as Waghorn acrobatically finished from close range to earn the home side a share of the spoils.