Two late goals by substitute Will Grigg saved Latics from an embarrassing home defeat to non-league AFC Fylde in the FA Cup 2nd Round Replay at the DW Stadium last night.
Latics had led through Ivan Toney after good work by Callum Elder but the National League side deservedly went 2-1 ahead through Simon Grand and Danny Rowe.
With only ten minutes of normal time remaining Grigg equalised from Gary Roberts’ cross and then four minutes later he diverted the ball past Jay Lynch for the winner.
Latics had produced a below par performance and luckily went through to face Premier League AFC Bournemouth in the 3rd round. Fylde deserve much credit for producing such a gutsy display and if it was not for Grigg’s finishing they would have caused an upset.
Manager Paul Cook made eight changes from the starting line up which had defeated Fleetwood Town last Saturday with only Dan Burn, Nathan Byrne and Ryan Colclough retaining their places.
Latics looked ill at ease throughout the first half and it was something of a surprise when they went ahead on 31 minutes.
Ivan Toney converting Callum Elder’s excellent low cross at the back post.
But it was not long before the Coasters were level as Latics failed to clear a corner and Simon Grand fired past Matija Sarkic from close range.
Latics looked disjointed and lacked creativity throughout despite having some experienced players on the pitch.
Fylde were probably surprised by Latics’ lack of a cutting edge and they were growing in confidence as the game progressed.
They deservedly went ahead on 65 minutes when Rowe’s deflected strike from the edge of the box looped over Sarkic.
Rowe and Jonny Smith both had opportunities to extend the lead for the visitors, but Sarkic managed to save their efforts.
It was starting to look desperate for Latics until substitute Grigg struck to draw them level on 80 minutes.
The Northern Irishman fired home from the angle of the six yard box after being played through by Roberts.
The match looked likely to be heading for extra time but with 84 minutes on the clock Grigg diverted the ball past Lynch to make it 3-2.
But the drama was still not over and Fylde might have levelled in added time when keeper Sarkic inexplicably held on to the ball for far too long and conceded an indirect free kick in the penalty area.
The Coasters captain Finley tapped the free kick to Rowe and the striker’s low shot flicked off the defensive wall and flew narrowly wide of the target – a big let-off and symptomatic of Latics’ poor performance on the night.