Oldham Athletic 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Max Power
Max Power

JORDAN Flores, in the space of a week, has experienced the amazing highs and painful lows of being a footballer with Wigan Athletic.

Last week, the 19-year-old from Aspull was the hero as his debut goal for Latics helped them overcome Fleetwood 2-1.

Seven days later, Flores went from hero to zero after his unnecessary second-half red card opened the door for Oldham to get back into a game in which until that point they’d looked second best.

Having bossed the game for the best part of an hour, in the end it was Wigan who were hanging on and counting down until the full-time whistle.

Max Power’s rocket 10 minutes before the break had given Latics - of the Wigan variety - a lead they undoubtedly merited at the halfway mark.

Having been given a let-off in the opening stages, when home striker Michael Higdon headed against a post, Gary Caldwell’s men gradually took control and asserted their dominance.

However, after failing to come up with a killer second goal, Latics were always in danger of allowing their good work to go unrewarded.

And Oldham were handed a lifeline 20 minutes from time when, after Jay Fulton had gone in late on Flores, the Wigan man lashed out in retaliation to give the referee no alternative but to brandish red.

There was a sickening sense of inevitability about what followed, with the home side taking immediate advantage as substitute Dominic Poleon slotted home from close range.

And it was all Oldham in the last 15 minutes as they closed in on what had looked only minutes earlier an unlikely win.

But the visitors hung on, dug deep and picked up what could prove to be a valuable point at the end of the season.

The frantic finish was in stark contrast to the opening of the game, with precious little occurring in the first half an hour at either end.

Oldham’s two debutants, Fulton and Higdon, quickly combined to encouraging effect, with the latter seeing a header tipped on to the post by Rich O’Donnell.

But other than that, the Latics custodian was a virtual spectator as his defence successfully kept the home side at arm’s length.

In fairness, Latics were hardly over-working Oldham stopper David Cornell at the other end.

Some nice footwork from Flores saw him engineer a shooting opportunity, but the finish was disappointing and straight at the goalkeeper.

Cornell was not quite so fortunate moments later, when he barely clapped eyes on Power’s rocket as it flew past him on its way into the net.

Chris McCann and Reece James had worked the way back inside to Power, who took aim and despatched an unstoppable strike that was in from the second it left his right boot.

It was nearly 2-0 within moments, with Michael Jacobs seeing another vicious shot tipped round the post by the goalkeeper.

Jacobs sent another free-kick just wide, before Oldham came back into it as half-time approached.

O’Donnell had a couple of shaky moments as he attempted to clear his lines, but the home side were unable to work them to their advantage.

And Latics almost doubled their lead right on half-time, when McCann got in front of Jordy Hiwula and volleyed goalwards from the penalty spot, only to see Cornell make a point-blank parry into the air.

As the ball looped up and then back down, fortune favoured the Oldham goalkeeper, who saw it fall right into his grateful arms on the goalline with the onrushing Latics attackers holding their heads in their hands.

The home side seemed to take heart from the incredible let-off, and started the second half in much more positive fashion.

Wiganer Lee Croft crossed for Higdon to force a routine save from O’Donnell, before Oldham interim boss David Dunn took the decision to send on Poleon - whose introduction helped to turn the game in his side’s favour.

The new man instantly put over an inviting cross that none of his team-mates could read, before trying his luck from 25 yards that O’Donnell was happy to see fly over.

With Oldham now asking most of the questions, the game was turned on its head just after the three-quarter mark when Flores took exception to Fulton’s lunge, and paid a high price for his petulance with a straight red.

That was the signal for Jordy Hiwula to make way for the fresh legs of Sanmi Odelusi.

But before the change could take effect, Oldham found a leveller when the Wigan defence couldn’t clear and Poleon slotted home with aplomb.

The last 15 minutes was virtually one-way traffic with the home side throwing everything at their visitors, trying to give new boss Dunn his first win in charge.

Poleon fired narrowly wide from eight yards, which resulted in David Perkins absolutely lambasting O’Donnell for not coming for the cross - a real sign of the growing concern in the Latics camp.

Tim Chow and Andy Kellett replaced Power and Jason Pearce in the closing stages as Latics dropped increasingly back toward their own goal.

But the visitors managed to keep their focus and hold out to record their first draw on the road, to add to their one win and three defeats.

Oldham: Cornell; Dieng, Wilson, Burn, Brown; Croft, Kelly, Fulton, Jones, Philliskirk; Higdon.

Subs: Coleman, Poleon (for Kelly, 58), Winchester, Wilson, Yeates (for Philliskirk, 67), Stankevicius, Eckersley.

Latics: O’Donnell 6; Daniels 7, Barnett 8, Pearce 8, James 6; Power 8, Perkins 8, McCann 7, Flores 5; Jacobs 6; Hiwula 6.

Subs: Jaaskelainen, Hendry, Kellett (for Pearce, 85), Chow (for Power, 80), Murray, Odelusi (for Hiwula, 70), Grigg.