- Wigan Athletic were left frustrated in their quest to go to the top of the League One table after a 1-1 draw with Bolton Wanderers.
- Latics had dominated the first half in this local derby and had gone ahead after seven minutes through James McClean.
- They had further chances through Will Keane, Callum Lang and McClean but Wanderers held out.
- Having survived the first half onslaught the visitors enjoyed more possession in the second half and equalised with seven minutes remaining when substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarrson headed in from close range.
- Late injuries to Curtis Tilt and McClean made it an especially frustrating afternoon for Latics.
- Latics move level on points with leaders Rotherham but have one game in hand. Wanderers are in 11th place.
Leam Richardson made one change from their last league game against Morecambe with Callum Lang replacing Stephen Humphrys. They lined up with a 3-4-2-1 formation.
Latics pressed forward right from the kick off and they had the ball in the net early on through Keane but Lang was adjudged to have committed a foul as the cross came in.
But Latics were ahead after only seven minutes through McClean. Max Power played a short corner to McClean and the wing-back’s dangerous cross evaded everyone and ended up in the corner of the Wanderers net.
Three minutes later and Latics should’ve doubled their advantage when McClean exchanged passes with Keane and drove into the penalty area, but he blazed wide of the target.
The hosts continued their dominance and they threatened when Tendayi Darikwa’s excellent tackle won the ball for Lang to drive at the Wanderers defence but the striker dragged his effort wide of the far post.
Latics had another opportunity on the half-hour mark after Keane was released by Power on the left side and Gethin Jones’ tackle ricocheted across the six-yard box and just evaded Lang at the far post.
McClean was booked for a foul on Oladapo Afolayan and just before half-time he was involved with Afolayan again when he pushed the forward to the floor near the corner flag. It appeared that McClean would be dismissed for a second yellow, but Referee Samuel Barrott elected not to send him off.
It was perhaps surprising that McClean re-emerged for the second-half when many people would’ve expected him to be substituted.
Both sides struggled to create chances at the beginning of the second half but the visitors started to enjoy more possession.
Bolton had their first attempt on goal in the 57th minute when former Latics loanee George Johnston tried his luck from 25-yards out but his strike was straight at former Wanderers keeper Ben Amos.
Keane had a good opportunity to increase Latics’ lead but despite twisting and turning inside the box he was unable to get his shot away and the chance went begging.
With just seven minutes remaining the visitors equalised with their second effort on target when substitute Bodvarsson headed Will Aimson’s cross into the top right corner.
In five minutes of added time Latics suffered a couple of serious looking injuries to Tilt and McClean. McClean was later seen leaving the DW Stadium on crutches and it could well be a season-ending injury for the Republic of Ireland international.
It made for an especially disappointing ending to the game on top of the frustrating result.
Latics had enough chances put the game to bed in the opening 45 minutes and they will be rueing a missed opportunity to go to the top of table.
However, Richardson will not be panicking, as despite the injuries they have strength in depth and will have another opportunity to go top on Tuesday night at home to Accrington Stanley.
Speaking to the media afterwards Richardson praised his side for their effort levels throughout the game and felt that they could have put the game out of sight in the first half.
“It was a local derby that was great for the players and the fans,” he said.
“I thought we were excellent in the first half and we should’ve possibly put the game to bed in that time.
“I thought the fans were excellent and both teams started the game well. We looked like a threat for the first 50-60 minutes, and at this time of the year, there are never any real massive negatives.
“The second half probably petered out into a local derby itself. We had seven or eight shots inside their box and worked tirelessly hard all afternoon.
“Their goal was disappointing but fair credit, I thought both sides kept each other honest all afternoon.
“We set out to be competitive today and play a certain way to dominate the game and I thought we did that in large parts. We’re just looking forward to the next game on Tuesday.”