Bury 2 Wigan Athletic 2

Yanic Wildschut
Yanic Wildschut
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WIGAN Athletic came back from the dead to secure a 2-2 draw with north-west neighbours Bury in an absolute thriller at Gigg Lane.

Despite again dominating possession and territory, Latics had to rely on a grandstand finish to earn their point.

Nathan Cameron headed the Shakers ahead from Chris Hussey’s corner in the early stages.

And it looked game over on the hour mark when substitute Tom Pope doubled the lead on the hour with a clinical finish.

But the visitors were given a lifeline when Hussey was given a second yellow card for a foul on Michael Jacobs with 12 minutes to go.

Latics pulled one back with five minutes remaining as Cameron - under pressure from Grant Holt - went from hero to zero by heading Jacobs’ through his own goal.

And skipper Craig Morgan levelled the scores in the last minute by smashing the ball into the bottom corner after another Jacobs cross had only been half-cleared.

There was only one team trying to win it at this stage and, inside the five added minutes, Latics almost sneaked a famous win.

Tim Chow ghosted in at the far post and saw his shot parried by goalkeeper Rob Lainton.

The ball hit the post and trickled along the goalline, before being cleared by a desperate home defender.

In a frenzied finale Latics goalkeeping coach Mike Pollitt was also sent to the stands, under the watchful eye of his close pal - and Bury boss - David Flitcroft.

For most of the game it had been a familiar tale of Latics enjoying the lion’s share of possession and territory, only to struggle to convert it into superiority on the scoreboard.

They’d earlier suffered the worst possible start by falling behind with only five minutes gone.

Hussey floated over a corner from the right wing, and Cameron rose highest to plant his header into the top corner of Jussi Jaaskelainen’s net.

Latics were frustrated in their attempts at a quick response, with David Perkins fizzing a shot past the post and Yanic Wildschut pulling an effort well wide of the mark.

The visitors received a huge let-off when, from another Hussey corner, Jaaskelainen completely missed his punch and Peter Clarke headed towards goal.

Thankfully for Latics, Chris McCann was on hand to clear off the line.

At the other end, the visitors won a succession of corners but failed to do anything with any of them.

They did have the ball in the net eight minutes before half-time, but the offside flag had long-since gone up against Jordy Hiwula.

Wildschut was looking dangerous every time he got the ball, and one real change of pace saw him embark on an incisive run that was only ended when he had his shirt pulled.

Amazingly the official failed to brandish a yellow, although Hussey was not so fortunate moments later when he felled Jacobs - which was to prove significant in the final quarter.

After Wildschut’s swerving shot was parried away by the Bury goalkeeper, McCann took a ridiculously theatrical tumble in the area after little or minimal contact, which failed to impress the official or the home fans.

Latics picked up where they left off when the action resumed, asking most of the questions, which provoked a double change from Bury to try to stem the tide.

One of the changes, ex-Port Vale striker Pope, made an immediate difference with the Latics defence struggling to keep tabs on his movement.

A lovely left-wing cross from Hussey required a marvellous clearing header from Morgan to prevent the new man doubling the lead at the far post.

But the respite was only temporary, as a cross from the opposite flank found Pope unmarked and able to plant his header past Jaaskelainen.

Having fallen 2-0 behind for the fifth time in six away league matches this term, Latics went all in and sent on Holt for his first league outing for the club since Boxing Day 2013 - for Reece James, which saw a system switch to 4-4-2.

Latics were further boosted by the sending-off of Hussey with 13 minutes to go for a second unnecessary foul on Jacobs.

Francisco Junior took over from the tiring Hiwula, and from then on it was attack-against-defence as Latics threw everything at their hosts.

McCann’s shot forced a great save from the goalkeeper, who was grateful to pouch the follow-up from Jacobs.

The visitors pulled one back with five minutes to go when the unfortunate Cameron converted Jacobs’ cross with the precision of a deadly marksman.

And it was all-square in the last minute when Morgan was on hand to slam the ball home from the edge of the area - to the delight of the 1,700-strong travelling army behind the goal.

Five minutes of added time - thanks partly to a couple of skirmishes on the near touchline, one of which saw Max Power booked and the other seeing goalkeeping coach Pollitt receive his marching orders - gave Latics real hope they could go on and win the game.

And they very nearly did it with McCann seeing a shot brilliantly saved, Power sending a free-kick inches over and then, with virtually the last kick, substitute Chow hitting the post and seeing the ball roll along the goalline before being hacked away.

Bury: Lainton; Riley, Cameron, P Clarke, Hussey; Jones, Soares, Pugh, Mellis; Erwin, L Clarke.

Subs: Hope, Pope (for Erwin, 53), Sedgwick, Burgess, Dudley, Rose, Brown (for Mellis, 53).

Latics: Jaaskelainen 6; Barnett 7, Morgan 8, McCann 7; Daniels 7, Power 7, Perkins 8, James 6; Jacobs 7, Wildschut 7; Hiwula 6.

Subs: O’Donnell, Hendry, Chow (for Daniels, 86), Cowie, Junior (for Hiwula, 80), Odelusi, Holt (for James, 65).