Late Anthony Pilkington strike earns Latics a valuable away point at promotion-chasing Bristol City.
- Match Report: Bristol City 2 – 2 Wigan Athletic
- Late Anthony Pilkington goal earns Latics valuable Sky Bet Championship away point
- Latics had taken the lead at Ashton Gate through sensational Reece James strike before quickfire double from Matty Taylor and Kasey Palmer put Lee Johnson’s side ahead
BRISTOL CITY 2
Attendance: 20,931 (490 away)
Anthony Pilkington’s late strike – his first Latics goal – earned Paul Cook’s side a valuable away Sky Bet Championship point at Ashton Gate on Saturday afternoon.
On an afternoon on which Latics had taken the lead through a sensational Reece James strike, Cook’s side were heading for disappointment after a quickfire second-half double from Matty Taylor and Kasey Palmer had the Championship play-off chasers heading to a third consecutive win.
It was a well-deserved point for Latics, who extended their unbeaten run to three consecutive matches.
Latics made two changes to the starting XI from last weekend's 0-0 draw with Brentford at the DW Stadium, with Josh Windass and Cedric Kipre coming into the side in place of Michael Jacobs and Gavin Massey. Jacobs has been ruled out until the end of the season with a hamstring injury, whilst Massey took a place on the bench. Callum McManaman (hernia) and Gary Roberts (calf) also missed out.
Cook’s side started really brightly at Ashton Gate, with a James delivery diverted wide by Chey Dunkley at close range.
However, Latics were thankful to their goalkeeper Christian Walton as the half hour approached, the Brighton & Hove Albion loanee superbly denying Jay Dasilva.
Captain Samy Morsy fired over from range as Cook’s side continued to look for the advantage but, equally, at the other end Famara Diedhiou should have scored when he headed a controversially given Jamie Paterson corner over from eight yards.
And just moments later, Latics went ahead as James received the ball in midfield and dribbled towards goal before unleashing a sublime 25-yard drive that flew into Max O’Leary’s top left-hand corner. Sensational.
Again, Walton was at Latics’ rescue moments later as he denied Diedhiou, before a penalty area scramble at the other end almost resulted in Latics doubling their advantage.
As half-time approached a second was close to inevitable for Cook’s side and they were inches away when Nick Powell’s pass almost found Windass in behind but the forward couldn’t get a touch with the ball rebounding off the post and away.
After the restart, Danny Fox forced a fine save from O’Leary after his left-footed drive from a James free-kick.
Joe Garner then headed over a Nathan Byrne cross over before Latics hit self-destruct and conceded twice in just three minutes.
First Taylor found himself in behind from a deep cross and he headed past Walton before substitute Palmer took advantage of Latics’ failure to clear to score inside the penalty area.
Fox hooked wide immediately after as Latics looked for a quick response with Dunkley denied twice soon after; first from a Windass corner and then from a cross from substitute Massey.
As the match approached injury time, James found space on the edge of the area and saw a shot blocked as Cook’s side looked to be heading towards a cruel defeat.
However, pressure on the Bristol City penalty area saw substitute Leon Clarke’s shot saved by O’Leary, only for the follow up to fall to Pilkington to fire home his first goal for the club on his 400th club career appearance.
Bristol City: O'Leary, Dasilva (Eliasson 58), Webster (Kelly 58), Wright (Capt), Brownhill, Diedhiou, Taylor, Paterson (Palmer 58), Pack, Kalas, Hunt
Subs: Marinovic, Pisano, Baker, Semenyo.
Latics: Walton, Byrne, Dunkley, Kipre (Massey 81), Fox, Robinson, James, Morsy, Powell, Windass (Pilkington 81), Garner (Clarke 81)
Subs: Evans, Gibson, Olsson, Evans