Dominant Latics stunned by late equaliser after going down to ten men
• Wigan Athletic and Portsmouth draw in Sky Bet League One.
• Latics still unbeaten in Sky Bet League One, but 100% record goes.
• Ian Toney opened scoring in 9th minute
• Latics hit post three times through Powell, Toney and Thomas
• Chey Dunkley sent off in the 58th minute, Pompey's Gareth Evans in the 88th
• Conor Chaplin with Portsmouth equaliser in 75th minute
Dominant Latics were left frustrated after Ivan Toney had given them an early lead but couldn’t find more goals despite hitting the post three times, conceding late to a Conor Chaplin header after Chey Dunkley had been shown a red card early in the second half.
The result is a blemish on the 100% record in Sky Bet League One but this was a game Latics should have won and for long spells some of their play was superb - Portsmouth keeper Luke McGee was in inspired form, making several key saves.
Latics were already finishing the stronger even before Pompey’s Gareth Evans was shown a second yellow card in the 88th minute but despite pushing hard they just couldn’t find the elusive second goal.
Cook reverted back to the exact same squad who defeated Oldham Athletic last weekend and after a frenetic opening few minutes, Toney opened the scoring with probably one of the simplest goals he will ever score.
Nick Powell fed the ball to Gavin Massey, whose speed took him clear in the box and he side-footed across the face of goal from the left for Toney to poke it him unmarked from a yard.
Despite a dominant first half, however, Cook’s men were not able to add to their tally before the break.
Latics could have doubled the lead after 14 minutes, Massey from the opposite flank this time putting in a terrific low cross that Toney reached but Luke McGee spread himself to block with his body.
Powell saw his brilliant snap-shot from the edge of the box come back off the angle of post and crossbar after 22 minutes after Reece James had initially broken down the left and slid the ball in.
Latics struck the post again after 37 minutes with another great move. Samy Morsy sent Massey clear down the right, who took the ball in his stride and crossed low to the near post. Toney slid in, McGee somehow managing to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
McGee then deflected Powell’s bullet of a drive for a corner a minute later, before he was at full stretch to palm away Lee Evans’ goal bound effort a minute after that. Latics were completely on top.
It had taken Portsmouth half an hour to create any kind of opening, when Dion Donohue’s free kick found Gareth Evans at the far post, who headed back across the face of Christian Walton’s goal and the ball was cleared after a scramble. Jamal Lowe had an added time shot that went well over the bar in the visitors’ only real effort on goal in the first half.
They were the first to show after the break, however, Dan Burn superbly anticipating Kyle Bennett’s cross at the near post as Brett Pitman bore down on him.
McGee came to Pompey’s rescue twice in succession, in the 49th and 50th minute, first deflecting Michael Jacobs angled drive inside the box, then smothering Evans’ shot before gathering at Toney’s feet.
Then drama struck in the 58th minute as Dunkley shielded a ball out for a corner with Pitman, the two jostled and Dunkley struck out. The referee brandished a red car immediately. Terell Thomas replaced Toney to slot into defence, with Powell moved into a striker role.
Thomas had already threatened when he almost reached Evans’ fee-kick at the far post after Powell was fouled by Jack Whatmough, when he struck the post in the 68th minute after meeting Evans’ follow up corner, McGee once again with finger-tips to the ball.
Will Grigg replaced Powell in the 72nd minute, immediately testing McGee with a header but the visitors were level when their substitute Chaplin peeled off at the far past to head back across Walton.
Adam May tried his luck from range in the 80th minute, Walton having to claw away the effort at his near post as the visitors threatened but Grigg then got on the end of Nathan Byrne’s right-wing cross, his header straight at McGee once again.
Ryan Colclough replaced in the 82nd minute in Cook’s last throw of the dice as the game was on a knife-edge.
The numbers were evened out when Evans was shown a second yellow card in the 88th minute for bringing down Michael Jacobs on the edge of the box. Evans swung it in and only Jack Whatmough’s brave header at the near post saved Pompey.
Latics: Walton, N. Byrne, Dunkley, Burn, James, Morsy, L. Evans, Massey, Jacobs, Powell (Grigg, 72), Toney (Thomas 60)
Subs not used: Evans, Perkins, Gilbey, Colclough, Hunt.
Portsmouth: McGee; Bennett (Chaplin, 53), Burgess, Whatmough, Haunstrup, Rose (Close 52), May; Evans, Pitman, Donohoe (Naismith, 52), Lowe
Subs not used: Bass, Davies, Thompson, Kabamba