Wigan Athletic wasted a golden opportunity to move clear of the Championship relegation zone when Derby County came back from a goal down to win 2-1 at the iPro Stadium.
Latics had taken the lead through Gavin Massey on 25 minutes after a quick break by former Derby winger Michael Jacobs had set him clear.
In a scrappy game both teams struggled for continuity giving the ball away needlessly and it looked as though Massey’s early goal might be enough to give Latics all three points.
But out of the blue substitute Mason Bennet’s acrobatic overhead kick levelled the scores on 62 minutes and when Latics failed to clear their lines the Rams scored the winner on 78 minutes when Scott Malone finished from close range.
Latics remain in 19th spot in the table and just three points above the drop zone. While Derby remain in seventh spot they are now on level points with sixth placed Bristol City.
Paul Cook once again changed his formation moving from 5-3-2 to a 4-3-3 with Jacobs and Massey coming into the team for Kal Naismith and Josh Windass.
‘Frank Lampard’s Derby County’ started brightly and Harry Wilson blazed over before Bradley Johnson had a header blocked as Latics struggled to keep possession.
The visitors looked nervous with Nathan Byrne and Chey Dunkley giving the ball away needlessly and Derby should probably have capitalised.
But on 25 minutes following a Rams attack Jacobs broke quickly and after evading a desperate lunge by a defender he put Massey through on goal and the winger returning from a long injury scored his second goal of the season.
Soon afterwards Latics had a glorious chance to double their lead when Byrne crossed for Leon Clarke, but the striker headed just over.
Bradley Johnson then had an opportunity for the Rams firing over the crossbar before Jacobs had a header saved by Scott Carson.
Latics one up at the interval and Derby looking out of sorts and the home fans getting restless.
The second half started scrappily like much of the first half with both teams giving the ball away far too easily.
But the game turned in the Rams favour on 62 minutes when substitute Bennett acrobatically flicked the ball high over Jamie Jones and into the top corner of the net.
Latics had a golden opportunity to go back in front a few minutes later when Reece James played in Jacobs but the winger fired across the face of goal and narrowly wide of the far post.
The visitors were now making far too many mistakes in defensive positions and the chickens came home to roost in the 78th minute. Latics once again failed to clear on the edge of their own area and when Bogle’s cross shot found Malone he was able to finish from close range.
Latics huffed and puffed in the dying minutes but they never really looked like equalising.
This had been a rare opportunity for a Latics away win as Derby had looked disjointed and low in confidence after a poor run of form.
But Latics had failed to capitalise on their lead and wasted the chance to put a six point gap between themselves and the bottom three.
Overall there had been too many poor performances by Latics players, with only James, and Jacobs and Massey before they faded, emerging with much credit.
16 away games without a win is an abysmal record by any standards and a huge improvement will be required if they are to get anything from Saturday’s six-pointer at relegation rivals Reading.