A topsy turvy game between Latics and Middlesbrough ended in a 2-2 draw at DW Stadium.
Boro had an early goal ruled out for offside before Latics went ahead on 29 minutes when Samy Morsy fired through a group of defenders and past goalkeeper Aynsley Pears.
The match turned in Boro’s favour on 62 minutes when Chey Dunkley was controversially dismissed for a second bookable offence and from the resulting free-kick Lewis Wings’ strike was deflected off the wall and into the net.
Four minutes later the visitors were ahead as Wing tried his luck from distance and his swerving shot deceived David Marshall.
With Latics down to ten-men and trailing 2-1 the odds were on a Middlesbrough victory but with 15 minutes of normal time remaining Harold Moukoudi headed Nathan Byrne’s cross into his own net.
Latics remain third bottom and four points from safety with Middlesbrough in 18th spot and seven points above them.
Paul Cook made three changes from Saturday’s defeat to Preston as Anthony Pilkington, Michael Jacobs and Joe Gelhardt replaced Tom Pearce, Jamal Lowe and Lee Evans. The AC Milan transfer target Antonee Robinson was once again missing from the match day squad.
Latics’ Joe Williams tested keeper Pears with a 25-yard drive early on but they had a close shave when Boro had the ball in the net through Ashley Fletcher with the assistant referee adjudging the striker to be offside.
After an evenly contested opening half hour Latics went in front through Morsy. The Eqyptian international twisted and turned his markers on the edge of the box before firing a low left foot shot through a group of defenders and past keeper Pears.
A minute later Latics had a chance to double their lead as Nathan Byrne crossed for Kieffer Moore but the big striker couldn’t convert at the near post.
1-0 to Latics at the interval but there would be plenty of twists and turns in a crazy second half.
Early in the second half Naismith produced an enticing delivery into the six-yard box but no Latics player could make the all important decisive touch.
At the other end, Ravel Morrison blazed wide from the edge of the box.
On the hour mark Moore ran through on goal and was brought down by Moukoudi and although he was the last man referee Oliver Langford only produced a yellow card. From the resulting free-kick Naismith fired narrowly wide.
Just a minute later Latics felt even more hard done to as Dunkley was harshly dismissed for a second yellow card for a foul on Wing.
Wing’s deflected free-kick wrong footed Marshall to bring the visitors level.
It looked as though the visitors would go on to win the game when they went ahead on 68 minutes when Wing grabbed his second as an effort from 25 yards deceived Marshall.
But Latics somewhat fortuitously got back level on 76 minutes when a Byrne cross from the right was headed into his own net by Moukoudi.
Latics will feel frustrated that they were unable to consolidate their advantage when leading 1-0 but referee Langford’s controversial decision to dismiss Dunkley had turned the match in Boro’s favour and they will be relieved to have had a reprieve with Moukoudi’s own goal.
Cook’s decision-making continues to be somewhat erratic with the continued absence of Antonee Robinson being something of a mystery but at least Joe Gelhardt got a start although he had to be sacrificed for a defender when Dunkley was sent off.