Grimsby Town 1 Wigan Athletic1
A Grimsby equaliser with literally the last kick of the game prevented Wigan Athletic rounding off their pre-season programme in winning style on the east coast.
Latics had led for almost all of the game thanks to Callum Lang’s predatory strike with only five minutes gone.
But Paul Cook’s men were caught napping right at the death when Jordan Flores found himself isolated against Town’s last man Tom Bolarinwa, and ended up bringing him to the ground with a textbook rugby tackle.
Referee Mr Haines had no option but to point to the spot - and surely would have brandished red had this been a competitive fixture - which allowed Ben Davies to beat Christian Walton from 12 yards.
Both sides had decent chances during the 90 minutes to add further goals only to fluff their lines, leaving Latics with three draws and a win from their four warm-up matches.
After a tumultuous week - which included the revelation that Max Power, Omar Bogle and Jack Byrne had been banished to train with the academy at Christopher Park - Latics boss Cook would have been pleased to get back to the real business.
And he couldn’t have wished for a better start from his men.
Michael Jacobs threaded a lovely ball over the top into the path of Gavin Massey, who raced clean through on goal.
The summer signing could probably have scored himself, but instead he played a slide-rule pass into the path of Lang, who had an open goal to tap into from 10 yards.
Credit the home side for the way they responded, and Scott Vernon might have done better with a free shot from a right-wing corner, only to send his effort straight at Walton.
At the other end, a deep cross from Flores - again filling in at left-back - found Lang at the far post, and his header brought a good save from James McKeown.
McKeown almost undid that good work shortly after, however, when he flapped at a routine cross which handed Alex Gilbey a gilt-edged opportunity.
However, his shot was hacked off the line by a covering defender, and the goalkeeper’s blushes were spared.
Gilbey came close again moments later when he got his head to a Jacobs free-kick, only to direct the ball just wide of the upright.
There followed a really unsavoury clash of heads in centre-field between Chey Dunkley and James Berrett.
While the Latics man remained on his feet, he was clearly in a bit of trouble, with the Town man pole-axed on the ground.
It was no surprise to see both men immediately substituted, with Craig Morgan replacing Dunkley at the heart of the Wigan defence.
And Morgan was quickly in the game to bail out goalkeeper Walton, who fumbled a cross from Zak Mills.
Latics pushed forward with menace as the interval approached, with a shot from Massey gathered at the second attempt by McKeown with Lang sniffing around for scraps.
Luke Summerfield fired just wide for Grimsby on the stroke of half-time, but Latics were decent value for their lead.
There were a couple more changes at the break, with lang and Massey replaced by Will Grigg and Nick Powell, for their first run-outs of pre-season.
Both men showed a couple of nice early touches, but Latics were almost rocked when Summerfield’s shot forced a great one-handed save from Walton.
That was the signal for Gilbey to be replaced by Ryan Colclough, and the new man ought to have done better when he led a four-on-two break, only to run down a blind alley after ignoring Grigg, Powell and Jacobs.
Grigg almost marked his return with an acrobatic volley from a deep cross, and came closer still moments later when, after McKeown denied Jacobs, the Town goalkeeper made a stunning save at point-blank range to somehow keep out the Northern Ireland striker’s follow-up.
It looked as though Latics would hang on to their narrow advantage but, with seconds remaining, Town made the most of their final chance to deny the 83 Latics fans in the crowd of 1,449 a winning send-off heading into next weekend’s trip to MK Dons.