Bolton Wanderers 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Will Grigg celebrates scoring at Bolton
Will Grigg celebrates scoring at Bolton

Will Grigg celebrated his return to the starting XI with a goal but Wigan Athletic had to be satisfied with a 1-1 draw at local rivals Bolton.

The home side had overcome off-field strife in the lead-up to the derby to take a seventh-minute lead, with Will Buckley showing smart feet at the far post before slotting past Christian Walton.

But Latics were level on 25 minutes, when Grigg was taken down in the area by Jack Hobbs, before picking himself up and converting from 12 yards.

Both sides had decent chances to win it, with Josh Windass missing a golden opportunity for Latics and Christian Doidge having to clear off the Bolton line as Lee Evans readied himself for a tap-in.

But honours ended even and ensures Latics come away from a hectic week with five points from three matches played.

The result leaves Paul Cook’s men 15th in the Championship, with a seven-point buffer between themselves and third-bottom Bolton.

Any fears the Trotters players wouldn’t have their minds on the job in hand - having not been paid their November wages on time - were allayed inside the opening two-and-a-half-minutes.

In that time, referee Simon Hooper produced two yellow cards, with Joe Williams and Craig Noone leaving their mark on Evans and Kal Naismith respectively.

When the football broke out it was Latics into their stride faster, with Evans having the perfect opportunity to exact retribution for the earlier rough stuff.

However, after he was picked out by Windass, the Welshman fired wastefully wide to give Bolton a real let-off.

And Bolton made him and Latics pay by taking the lead within seconds.

A deep cross from the right found Buckley at the far post, and he did ever so well to chest the ball back inside Reece James and past Walton.

It could easily have been 2-0 shortly after, Buckley this time having the opportunity to play in an unmarked Doidge, only to overhit the ball and allow Latics to dodge a bullet.

And this time it was Latics who made their opponents pay for their profligacy with the equaliser just after the midway point in the half.

Grigg was sent through the right channel and went to ground under Hobbs’ sliding challenge.

Referee Hooper pointed straight to the spot - to the horror of Hobbs and his colleagues - and Grigg picked himself up to sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from 12 yards.

The rest of the half was all Wigan, with Windass wasting a decent break by hopelessly over-hitting his cross from the right, and the Wanderers defence having to desperately clear their lines on a couple of occasions in the face of pressure.

Latics picked up where they left off after the restart, with Nathan Byrne racing free down the right.

After cleverly ignoring the run of Windass at the near post, Byrne pulled it back to the unmarked Gary Roberts, only for a defender to just about get a foot in before the Latics man could pull the trigger.

Windass then created an wasted a glorious chance to edge Latics ahead, shimmying inside the last defender with twinkle toes only to slice his attempt horribly wide from eight yards.

Calllum McManaman and James Vaughan took over from Roberts and Grigg, with Yanic Wildschut appearing off the Bolton bench for the closing stages.

And still Latics looked the more likely, with Doidge somehow managing to clear acrobatically off his own line, just as it looked as though Evans had a tap-in from a James corner.

McManaman then thought he had a chance to win it, only for the ball to not quite sit for him, which allowed a defender to get in a fine block.

And there was very nearly a late sting in the tale, with deafening Wanderers shouts for a penalty - for a possible handball against Morsy - being waved away by the official.