Wigan Athletic 2 Millwall 2

Chris McCann
Chris McCann

WILL Grigg appeared off the bench to save Wigan Athletic’s bacon - and a precious point - in the nick of time against Millwall.

The £1million man - still finding his feet after a freak elbow injury - scored his first Latics goal in open play with a deadly finish in the first of six added minutes.

In a match they again dominated, Latics were once more frustratingly unable to convert their possession and territory into more tangible rewards.

They finally managed to break through thanks to Michael Jacobs’ clever left-foot finish eight minutes after the restart.

But the visitors turned the game on its head with two goals in the space of five minutes just after the three-quarter mark.

Substitute Fred Onyedinma slotted home from close range after Reece James had initially got in a great goalsaving block.

And Latics were trailing on 74 minutes when Mark Beevers forced the ball home at the third time of asking after the Latics defence and then goalkeeper Rich O’Donnell had managed to clear off the line.

It looked like that would be that when substitute Sanmi Odelusi headed straight at Lions stopper Jordan Archer in the closing stages from bang in front.

But there was to be a final twist in the tail as they game entered injury time - a hefty amount given the visitors’ time-wasting efforts in the final quarter - when Grigg smashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Despite the pre-match call from their manager to show a more clinical side, Latics were again struggling to find a cutting edge for much of the first half.

David Perkins was his typical busy self in the engine room, with wing-backs Tim Chow and Reece James getting forward at every opportunity to support the attack.

However, when the first real chance of the game arrived midway through the half, it was the visitors who were holding their heads in their hands.

Striker Lee Gregory came up with a neat turn, and his left-footed strike rolled inches wide of the far post.

Shortly after, the Lions again came within inches of opening the scoring when Gregory’s cross was nodded wide by Aiden O’Brien.

Wigan were clearly rattled, with a quick goal-kick from O’Donnell selling Chris McCann hopelessly short.

Gregory nipped in, and his cross looked dangerous until Max Power got back to mop up.

More hesitancy down the right-hand flank allowed Millwall in again, with stand-in skipper Leon Barnett this time getting the ball away.

Latics briefly threatened when great feet by Jordy Hiwula inside the box created a half-chance.

But the on-loan Huddersfield striker’s shot was deflected just over the crossbar.

A very uncharacteristic error from Perkins surrendered possession again, but Millwall were unable to take advantage.

Perkins immediately made amends when he got to the byline and pulled the ball back for James, who couldn’t keep his shot down.

Wigan’s discomfort was shown by them making a change at the interval, Sean Murray giving way for the returning Francisco Junior.

And the on-loan Everton man made an immediate difference, injecting much-needed quality at both ends of the park.

Indeed, the new-boy was involved in Latics breaking the deadlock on 53 minutes, supplying Jacobs who found the net with a cool finish.

Jacobs was putting in his typical effervescent shift, and an attempted break from the winger was only curtailed by a horribly cynical foul by Mark Beevers at the expense of an obvious yellow card.

However, the visitors were offering more and more of a threat and, aided by a double substitution just after the hour mark, they not only levelled the scores but had the cheek to go in front.

First, Onyedinma was on hand to apply the finishing touch after James had done extremely well to block the initial shot.

Latics managed to dodge a bullet when a Millwall free-kick was half-cleared to O’Brien, whose volley only just cleared the bar.

But the respite only temporary with the Lions then winning a corner from which they fashioned a second goal.

After the Latics defence and O’Donnell had put off the inevitable, Beevers made it third time lucky by bundling home the ball off the underside of the bar.

Latics were denied an immediate response when Jacobs’ run and shot forced a fantastic tip over from Archer.

That was the signal for Grigg to take over from Power, but it was almost game over before the new man had touched the ball.

Millwall’s own striking sub Steve Morison’s left-foot shot forced a fabulous save from O’Donnell at full stretch.

Latics looked to have blown their hopes of a point when Odelusi sent a free header straight at the Lions goalkeeper from close range.

But Grigg got his pal out of jail with a classy finish from inside the area to the delight - and relief - of most inside the DW Stadium.

Latics: O’Donnell; Daniels, Barnett, McCann; Chow, Power, Perkins, Murray, James; Jacobs; Hiwula.

Subs: Jaaskelainen, Kellett, Morgan, Hendry, Francisco (for Murray, 46), Odelusi (for James, 85), Grigg (for Power, 77).

Millwall: Archer; Edwards, Craig, Beevers, Webster; Williams, Upson, Abdou, Ferguson; O’Brien, Gregory.

Subs: Forde, J Martin, L Martin, Morison (for Ferguson, 63), Thompson (for O’Brien, 82), Marquis, Onyedinma (for Upson, 63).

Star Man: Michael Jacobs