A late Gary Roberts equaliser saved Latics from what could have been a damaging defeat in an high scoring encounter against Scunthorpe United at the DW Stadium.
Former Wigan loanee striker Ivan Toney’s neat finish on 53 minutes looked to have secured the visitors an unexpected three points until Roberts’ 87th minute equaliser.
Latics Chey Dunkley opened the scoring when he headed home from a Max Power corner but they were quickly pegged back by Tom Hopper’s header.
They regained the lead when Will Grigg scored his 18th goal of the season but the Iron were once again quickly back on level terms when Hopper added his second goal with a fine header just on half time.
Latics remain in third place in the table three points behind Shrewsbury Town and eight behind Blackburn Rovers but with four games in hand on Rovers and two on Town.
Paul Cook made two changes to the team which had drawn at Blackburn last time out with Reece James and David Perkins coming in for Callum Elder and Gavin Massey.
Latics’ first chance fell to Grigg but the striker fired wide of the target from a tight angle.
Michael Jacobs then headed over the crossbar from Nathan Byrne’s cross from the right.
The opening goal came after 13 minutes when Scunthorpe keeper Matt Gilks seemed to misjudge Power’s corner and Dunkley headed home from inside the six yard box.
But Scunthorpe were soon back on level terms as Latics failed to clear their lines and Hooper got between Burn and Walton to head in from close range.
Dunkley might have got a second goal with another header from a corner which went just over.
Grigg then restored Latics’ lead when his shot from inside the area was deflected off a defender with Gilks stranded.
But just when it looked as though the home team would go into the half time with a lead they once again allowed the visitors to draw level almost immediately with Hooper producing a fine header at the back post.
Early in the second half Latics were on top with Jacobs’ header being cleared off the line, Nick Powell firing just wide and Dan Burn heading over.
But despite the pressure it was the visitors who went ahead in the 53rd minute as Toney fired home from eight yards out after Ryan Yates’ header came back off the crossbar.
James Vaughan replaced David Perkins as Latics changed their formation but they couldn’t make the breakthrough until Roberts’ late equaliser.
Centre back Dan Burn surged forward and set up Roberts inside the box and the veteran midfielder scored his first goal of the season to gain Latics what could prove to be a vital point.
It had been a disappointing display by Latics with several players not at their best. But it is not a time for panic and there is no need for wholesale changes.
Paul Cook knows his players very well and I expect there will be one or two tweaks to the line-up for the trip to Bradford City on Wednesday night. Fortunately Latics do have strength in depth and I would expect Elder and Vaughan to come into the team as they look to get back to winning ways at Valley Parade.
The draw against Scunthorpe still leaves Latics in a strong position and a win at Bradford would set them up nicely for the FA Cup quarter-final with Southampton next Sunday.
Despite what some fans would have you believe the league and FA Cup are not mutually exclusive and Latics are capable of being successful in both competitions.