Bristol City 2 Wigan Athletic 1

Will Grigg
Will Grigg

Wigan Athletic suffered last-gasp disappointment on their return to the Championship despite leading at the break through Alex Gilbey.

The midfielder marked his debut with a fine goal on 32 minutes after great work down the left from Yanic Wildschut.

But Latics were pushed further and further back in an utterly one-sided second period and can have no complaints whatsoever at going home with nothing.

The long-overdue equaliser arrived with nine minutes remaining when substitute Tammy Abraham bundled the ball home from close range following a corner.

And fellow replacement Bobby Reid won it for the Robins with 90 minutes on the clock, with a deflected effort that looped over the grounded Adam Bogdan.

Latics had no time to muster anything resembling a reply, and boss Gary Caldwell’s attention will immediately switch to the job of adding ‘a few’ new players to his squad before the transfer deadline.

City had started by far the stronger, with Latics content to play on the counter using the lightning pace of Wildschut.

A mistake from David Perkins allowed City their first sight of goal, but Jonathan Kodjia’s effort was well wide of the mark.

Callum O’Dowda had another chance within a couple of minutes, but his shot flew wide of Bogdan’s far post.

Latics showed for the first time on 14 minutes, with Gilbey doing well to win a corner on the far side.

The delivery from Max Power picked out Craig Morgan, but the header lacked any kind of pace and was easily snaffled by ex-Latics stopper Rich O’Donnell.

Gilbey did well again moments later, racing into a great position after good work from Wildschut and Stephen Warnock.

However, his right-foot shot was always rising and fizzed inches past the upright.

A mistake from Dan Burn played Latics into trouble midway through the half, although the big centre-back just about got back to concede the corner, which was cleared.

Star striker Will Grigg made his presence felt on the 25-minute mark, powering into the box and seeing a shot deflected just wide.

But Latics were looking more and more of a threat, and eventually did take the lead just after the half-hour.

Wildschut’s pace caused all the problems down the left, and he picked the perfect moment to look up and see Gilbey racing up in support.

The 21-year-old took on the shot first time, and saw it fly off his foot and into the top corner.

Credit City for their response, and the home side were almost level six minutes before the break.

A corner from the left picked out Marlon Pack, who could only heads inches wide from eight yards when he really should have hit the target.

The home side would have felt slightly aggrieved to have been behind at the halfway mark, and they threw everything at Latics at the start of the second stanza.

Kodjia got the better of Morgan only for the Latics skipper to get a timely block in at the expense of a corner.

From the resultant corner, Luke Burke on debut did ever so well to head it away under immense pressure.

Another set-piece was half-cleared to Hordur Magnusson, and the defender’s shot was only just wide with Bogdan at full stretch.

Kodjia dragged another shot wide just before the hour mark, with Joe Bryan then turning Burke inside out only to see his effort tipped wide by Bogdan.

Wigan counters were becoming less and less frequent but, from one, twinkle-toes from Wildschut saw him beat two men, only for him to be dispossessed in the act of shooting.

Grigg gave way to Michael Jacobs with 20 minutes to go, with Donervon Daniels also taking over from Burke, who’d enjoyed an impressive introduction to the big time.

Latics were hanging on more and more, and Burn and Perkins were booked within the space of a minute as the home side raised the ante further.

And it was no surprise when City did eventually find a leveller, with nine minutes left on the clock.

The corner came in from the left, and England Under-19 striker Abraham - signed on loan on Friday morning from Chelsea - forced it home from close range, with Bogdan having no chance.

Kodjia was looking dangerous every time he got the ball, and Latics were desperately hanging on at this point for a draw.

But the defence cracked again in the very last minute, and it was no more than City had deserved.

The home side had half a shout for a penalty waved away for a trip in the area, but play continued and Bogdan needed to make a stunning save to keep Latics level.

However, the ball fell invitingly for City, with Reid left celebrating after his effort looped agonisingly into the net with Bogdan helpless.