Wigan Athletic deservedly earned a point against play-off contenders Bristol City with a 2-2 draw at Ashton Gate.
Latics have failed to win away from home in 18 games but they went close to gaining all three points with a much-improved display against the in-form Robins.
The visitors went in front with a stunning 35-yard strike from Chelsea loanee Reece James and they could have added to their lead when Nick Powell’s deflected effort hit the base of the post.
The hosts turned the game around in the second half following a triple substitution. First substitute Niclas Eliasson crossed for Matty Taylor to head home above defenders Chey Dunkley and Cedric Kipre and then Taylor set up another substitute Kasey Palmer after Dunkley had slipped on the edge of the area.
Bailey Wright had a chance to seal the three points for Bristol City but blazed wide of the target, before Anthony Pilkington was on hand in a 93rd minute goalmouth scramble to give Latics a rare and well-deserved away point.
Latics rise to 19th in the Championship table but are now only two points above the drop zone with six games remaining. The Robins meanwhile slip a place to sixth in the table two points above seventh placed Derby County.
Paul Cook made two changes to the starting eleven from last week’s 0-0 draw with Brentford, with Josh Windass and Kipre coming into the side in place of Michael Jacobs and Gavin Massey.
The manager tweaked his formation to go with three centre-backs Danny Fox, Kipre and Dunkley and two wing-backs Nathan Byrne and Antonee Robinson. Samy Morsy and James protecting the back five and Powell, Windass and Joe Garner up front.
Latics took the game to the high-flying hosts in the opening minutes when a James free-kick should have been converted by Dunkley from within the six-yard box.
At the other end, the Robins forced an excellent save from Latics’ keeper Christian Walton on the half hour mark when he tipped over Jay Dasilva’s rising drive.
Famara Diedhiou had a free header soon afterwards, as the Robins looked to assert themselves, but he headed well wide from close range
Latics went ahead in spectacular fashion moments later when James picked up the ball on the halfway line and shrugged off several opponents before unleashing an unstoppable strike from 35-yards which whistled past keeper Max O’Leary into the top corner.
The Robins responded and almost immediately drew level but Walton got down well to deny Diedhiou.
Latics might have increased their lead just before half-time when Powell’s deflected cross evaded everyone including keeper O’Leary and the ball came back off the post and away to safety.
Early in the second half Fox fired straight at O’Leary before he had a second effort well blocked. Garner headed over a Byrne cross before a triple substitution by the Robins manager Lee Johnson changed the course of the game.
Taylor headed home from a deep cross by substitute Eliasson and then Taylor set-up substitute Palmer who capitalised on some poor Latics defending to score from inside the penalty area.
But for once Latics’ heads didn’t go down and they kept battling. Fox fired wide and Dunkley was twice denied first from a Windass corner and then from a delivery from substitute Massey.
As the match moved towards stoppage time Latics pushed bodies forward in an attempt to get the equaliser and justice was done in the 93rd minute when substitute Leon Clarke’s shot was initially saved on the line by Jack Hunt, but Pilkington was in the right place at the right time to force the ball home for what could be an important point in the relegation scrap.
Both teams had created plenty of chances but the difference was that Latics’ defending had let them down on the day. If they had been more solid at the back they might have come away with all three points and eased some of their relegation worries.
It now appears that with six games of the season remaining Ipswich Town and Bolton Wanderers will be relegated but the battle to avoid the final relegation place is becoming increasingly close with six teams involved – Birmingham 44 pts, QPR 44 pts, Wigan 41 pts, Millwall 40 pts, Reading 40 pts, and Rotherham 39 pts – in the mix for what will be a tense finale.