Bristol Rovers 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Substitute Ryan Colclough popped up with a dramatic equaliser with 10 minutes remaining to rescue a point for below-par Wigan Athletic at Bristol Rovers.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 10:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 11:56 pm
Ryan Colclough celebrates his equalising goal at Bristol Rovers

And despite Blackburn’s win at Doncaster which secures them automatic promotion, Latics go into the last two games of the season with a one-point advantage at the top of League One.

A share of the spoils was probably harsh on a Rovers side who undoubtedly had the better of the game, took the lead through Liam Sercombe just before the half-hour mark, and hit the woodwork in either half.

Latics only really showed up in the final quarter, with the introduction off the bench of Colclough, Will Grigg and Devante Cole.

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But they could even have returned home with an undeserved three points with Cole finding the net with his first touch, only to be denied by an offside flag - which replays appeared to show was incorrect.

It was always going to be a tough ask for Latics to maintain the standards they showed at Fleetwood on Saturday - which secured them a place in the Championship - given the celebrations that followed in Wigan town centre.

To be fair to the visitors, though, they started the better and created the first chance of the game inside seven minutes.

Max Power released Nathan Byrne down the right, and his cross was slightly too high for James Vaughan, who couldn’t keep the header down.

At the other end, a lovely passing move from Rovers freed Ellis Harrison, who found himself clean through, only to drag his shot past the post.

Latics could and should have opened the scoring on 18 minutes when a deep corner from Gary Roberts found Chey Dunkley, whose free header was planted into the turf with the ball bouncing over the top.

And the visitors were made to pay just before the half-hour mark when a nice ball through the middle found Sercombe, who drilled hard and low past Christian Walton from the edge of the area.

It was almost 2-0 within four minutes, with Rovers slicing through the Latics backline, and only a brilliant sliding challenge from Byrne stopping Harrison getting a clean strike away.

Latics dodged another bullet when a curling effort from Kyle Bennett from the edge of the area beat the fingertips of Walton, only to come back off the far post.

And only a fantastic double save from Walton seconds before half-time ensured Latics got to the break on one goal in arrears.

If Paul Cook ripped into his side during the interval, the reaction wasn’t immediate in coming.

Only a superb cover tackle from Dan Burn denied Sercombe a free hit on goal after another incisive passing move.

And Cook elected to make a double change at the three-quarter mark, with Grigg and Colclough replacing Gavin Massey and Vaughan.

Another good chance followed for Rovers, with Byron Moore cutting inside from the right only to pull his shot past the near post.

But Colclough was making his presence felt down the left, and one one occasion he beat his man and cut it back to Roberts, who sliced wide with his right foot from 12 yards.

That was Roberts’ final contribution before giving way to Cole for the remaining 13 minutes.

And the new man thought he’d found a leveller with his first touch, bundling home from close range, only to turn and see the offside flag up on the far side.

Latics had the wind in their sails, however, and they eventually found the equaliser with 10 minutes to go.

Colclough it was who tried his luck from distance, and his low strike had too much pace and power for the goalkeeper, creeping in at the near post.

But there was very nearly a sting in the tale at the other end when, as the game entered stoppage-time, Lee Brown lined up a 35-yard free-kick, which skidded off the turf and back off the post.