LATICS 3 SHEFFIELD UNITED 3Sheffield United produced a sensational late comeback to deny Latics all three points, after the hosts had built up a three goal advantage.
Latics pulled off a remarkable comeback on Thursday night here against Gillingham, and they were unfortunately given a taste of their own medicine after building up a three goal lead.
Goals from Will Grigg, Haris Vuckic and Chris McCann put Latics well and truly in control, but three goals inside the final 22 minutes meant that the points had to be shared on a frustrating night.
The result means that Latics miss out on the opportunity to close the gap on second placed Gillingham to three points, instead cutting the gap to five, and remain in fifth.
Gary Caldwell made two changes to the side he put out last Thursday, bringing in Haris Vuckic for his first league start at the DW Stadium. Chris McCann also returned to the side, as Reece James and Andy Kellett dropped to the bench.
Latics made a bright start to the contest in an open game, and created their first opportunity of the contest on 11 minutes, when Michael Jacobs tested George Long from a tight angle.
The winger was released on the right hand side and originally looked to crossed, but cut inside when nothing presented itself to him, and tested the ‘keeper with a low effort.
The opportunity was soon followed by the opening goal of the contest, as Jacobs built on that earlier effort to set up Will Grigg.
Jacobs produced a brilliant dinked ball into the path of Grigg after picking the ball up from a deflection from the referee, and the striker made no mistake, taking the ball down well on the right hand side of the area and producing a classy finish with the outside of his right foot to finish past Long into the bottom corner.
Grigg had the ball in the net again on 23 minutes after latching on to another good ball from Michael Jacobs, but was met by the offside flag after the looping the ball over Long into the net.
Sheffield United were by no means out of the first half themselves, and looked dangerous on 32 minutes through Ryan Flynn, who almost pinched the ball after a short pass from Jussi Jaaskelainen, but Chris McCann reacted well to get the ball cleared.
The visitors went close again three minutes from the interval through Matt Done, who rounded Jaaskelainen on the left hand side of the area, but was unable to find anyone with his centre, allowing Craig Morgan to clear.
Latics soon punished the Blades for being unable to take their chances, by doubling their lead 60 seconds later through Haris Vuckic, who scored his first goal for the club.
The striker met Jason Pearce’s cross from the left hand side to produce a classy header from close range past Long into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 at the interval.
Latics came out for the second half in a similar vein, and attacked from the offset, with Vuckic and Pearce going close in the opening ten minutes.
Caldwell’s men were firmly in control, and added a third to their advantage on 66 minutes through Chris McCann.
The midfielder picked up the ball on the edge of the area after good work by Daniels, before weaving into the area and coolly finishing past Long.
The game looked to be over, but Sheffield United showed they were unwilling to give in, by pulling a goal back almost immediately on 68 minutes, meeting Billy Sharp’s cross from the left to tap home from close range.
The visitors built on that by scoring another within seven minutes through Billy Sharp, who cut down the deficit to just one with 15 minutes to play, when he met Jay McEveley’s cross to head home from close range.
Time looked to be running out for the Blades, but Matt Done saw the ball fall into his lap after Jaaskelainen’s brilliant save to deny Sharp, and the forward made no mistake to turn the ball home and seal a remarkable comeback.
It was almost four, but Jussi Jaaskelainen produced a brilliant stop from Sharp's curled effort in the fourth minute of added time to deny the visitors all three points.