OLDHAM ATHLETIC 1 WIGAN ATHLETIC 1Max Power’s spectacular first goal for Latics earned ten-man Latics a precious point in a fiery match at the Sportsdirect.com Park.
Jordan Flores was sent off midway through the second half with Latics leading though Power’s goal and although Oldham hit back straight away, Latics were solid in the final twenty minutes to come away with a deserved point in a match where Oldham keeper David Cornell had kept his side in the contest with two fine saves before the break.
In terms of personnel, Leon Barnett replacing Jonjoe Kenny was the only change to the starting line-up, Barnett having served his one match suspension following the red card at Port Vale, and Kenny recalled by Everton.
Latics went in ahead at the break in a half that took half an hour to get going for Gary Caldwell’s men but they would have been further ahead had it not been for the heroics of David Cornell.
The only real scare came after just nine minutes when Jay Fulton was allowed to cross from the left, Michael Higdon got a head to the ball in a crowded box and Richard O’Donnell’s outstretched fingertips diverted it onto the post before it was scrambled clear.
Latics’ first meaningful attempt came on 27 minutes when Michael Jacobs trickled a ball through to Jordan Flores near the penalty spot but he wasn’t able to get much power behind the shot and Cornell saved comfortably.
The attempt seemed to galvanise Latics and after upping the tempo for a few minutes and forcing Oldham on to the back foot, they broke through in spectacular style on 34 minutes.
The ball was worked out to the left side to Reece James, David Perkins acted as decoy to create space for James to cut inside, he found the unmarked Power 25 yards out in the centre of goal and he blasted a bullet of an effort high past Cornell’s right hand – he could do nothing about that one.
A minute later and it could have been two, Jacobs this time cutting loose and shooting from distance, forcing Cornell into a great save low to his right and around the post. Jacobs curled a free kick just wide of the same upright on 40 minutes as Latics went close again.
Latics had another incredible chance to extend their lead when McCann forced a superb double save from Cornell, the Oldham keeper blocking the initial effort then scooping the ball clear when it looked as if it would loop over the line.
The second half began in frenetic style but the only attempts at goal came from Jacobs for Latics and Higdon for Oldham, both straight at the keeper.
Mike Jones hit a 20 yard free-kick over the bar after a foul by Jason Pearce and substitute Dominic Poleon shot over as Oldham tried to find a way through but Latics held firm, soaking up pressure and playing their way out of trouble.
But the game was turned on its head in dramatic fashion in the space of a couple of minutes.
On 70 minutes as Flores was shown a straight red car, apparently for kicking out off the ball after a challenge in centre field. Sanmi Odelusi immediately replaced Jordy Hiwula but the tide of the match swung in Oldham’s favour.
Poleon fired a loose ball from close range on 73 minutes to equalise and suddenly Latics were under pressure in a game where they had held the upper hand for so long. Poleon had another attempt, this time into the side netting.
Goal-scorer Power was replaced by Tim Chow on 81 minutes to lend some extra energy in midfield as ten-man Latics looked to hold out. Caldwell’s final throw of the dice was to replace Pearce with Andy Kellett – and revert to a flat back four.
Oldham threatened down the right through Lee Croft , but the resultant corner was cleared, before Odelusi went down under a challenge by Jonathan Burn when he would have been clean through. Nothing given.
As the game entered into five minutes’ additional time Jacobs carried the ball out on the break and was unceremoniously brought down in the centre circle and was booked. Oldham’s only other chance came as Poleon broke through on the right but fired high.
Latics were roared on by 1,673 fans throughout and the players recognised their efforts at the end of a dramatic away day.