Wigan Athletic once again succumbed to the obligatory late goal and have now failed to win in their last 12 matches.
Latics had dominated proceedings against an out-of-form Derby County and had deservedly taken an 81st minute lead through substitute Joe Garner. But with 93 minutes on the clock Latics failed to clear from a throw in and Martyn Waghorn fired home the equaliser to sour the home fans’ day.
This was Latics fourth draw in four games and they have now dropped to the bottom of the table on goals scored after Stoke beat Sheffield Wednesday, Derby remain 17th just six points above the relegation zone.
Paul Cook made one change to his starting eleven from the draw with Blackburn with Anthony Pilkington replacing Gavin Massey.
Latics started on the front foot and were able to create several good goal scoring opportunities against the lacklustre visitors.
Nathan Byrne forced a good save from Ben Hamer before Antonee Robinson hit the near post with Hamer well beaten.
Josh Windass then had a glorious opportunity after an excellent set-piece routine but the striker fired straight at the Derby keeper from close range.
In a rare sortie forward Curtis Davies had a great opportunity for the Rams but he directed his header into the ground and Jamie Jones was able to save comfortably.
Windass was finding plenty of space behind the Derby defence but his final shot was disappointingly well wide of the target.
All square at the break but Latics had had he better chances to be ahead.
Latics were again on top in the second half and Windass frustrated the home fans with a poor pass across the penalty area with Pilkington in prime position to turn the ball home.
Michael Jacobs then forced another good save from Hamer with the hosts looking the most likely to break the deadlock.
On 64 minutes Cook replaced the ineffective Windass and Pilkington with Garner and Joe Williams and Latics moved up another gear.
With Williams pulling the strings in midfield the hosts pushed Derby further back and after a sustained attacking spell Garner was able to acrobatically volley home from close range.
It looked as though it would be enough to take all three points but Latics’ Achilles heel is their inability to see out the game and they conceded their obligatory late goal when former Latic Martyn Waghorn fired home despite the best efforts of Cedric Kipre on the goal line.
It was a disappointing ending to what had been a pleasing performance.
Poor game management, failure to defend set-pieces and strange substitutions are all factors in the late goals conceded.
However, Latics have shown noticeable improvement over the last four games by returning to an attractive passing game.
The long ball has been eschewed and building through the thirds has been a pleasure to see.
The combination of Kipre and Kal Naismith has enabled the team to play out from the back and to build through midfield.
Full backs Robinson and Byrne have been able to get forward to create crossing opportunities and Latics have created plenty of chances although problems arise in the final third were the forwards have been profligate.
Latics do not currently have a goalscorer in the team. Windass, Lowe, Jacobs were all wasteful against Derby and have consistently failed to make their chances count this season.
Cook’s reluctance to give prolific young striker Joe Gelhardt his opportunity seems increasingly ridiculous when the team are struggling for goals.
It appears that Cook will remain as manager in the January transfer window which could be so crucial to their chances of survival.
A proven goalscorer at this level is now essential if Latics are to convert the chances they are creating.