Will Buckley gave the hosts an early lead but they couldn’t hold on
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 01/12/18 6:24pm
Wigan avoided a record eighth successive away defeat by coming from behind to grab a 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw at neighbours Bolton.
Will Buckley threatened to give under-pressure Bolton boss Phil Parkinson the perfect 51st birthday present with a seventh-minute goal.
Instead Will Grigg denied relegation-threatened Wanderers a first win in 10 Championship games with a contentious, first-half penalty equaliser.
Bolton’s second point in three games was not sufficient to lift them out of the bottom three.
Lee Evans should have put Latics in front but blazed high and wide after an inviting cut-back from Josh Windass.
Instead, Wanderers scored their first home goal since beating Derby 1-0 on September 29.
Buckley was allowed time and space inside the area to control Pawel Olkowski’s angled cross and step inside to fire home right-footed from five yards.
Bolton might have added a second when Buckley broke down the Wigan right but his eventual cross was fractionally in front of unmarked Christian Doidge.
Then came the visitors’ contentious equaliser. Centre-half Jack Hobbs appeared to touch the ball ahead of his challenge on striker Grigg but referee Simon Hooper, who controversially disallowed a Charlie Austin goal for Southampton against Watford last month, adjudged otherwise.
Grigg punished the tackle from the spot to register only his fourth club goal of the campaign and his first since August 22.
Doidge then turned smartly on the edge of the six-yard box but could not direct his effort on target.
Wigan were the dominant side early in the second half and although Windass did put boot to ball with his next effort, his angled right-foot shot struck the side netting. His next attempt trickled into the gloves of Ben Alnwick.
Doidge cleared off his own goal line with Wigan pressing while Wanderers felt they should have had a late penalty chance. Instead, Hooper ruled skipper Samy Morsy had not handled a Mark Beevers shot.
Phil Parkinson: “Everyone in the ground, apart from two people, thought Hobbsy’s (Jack Hobbs) challenge wasn’t a penalty. With the second one, I thought the rule was if your arms are in an unnatural position then it is a penalty.
“It was a shame because I thought we played well until their goal. We felt sorry for ourselves for a little while after that injustice. But the lads dug deep and we will take the point after the week we have had.”
Paul Cook: “I’m pleased with the point. It was always going to be a difficult game as Bolton came into the game under pressures that go on in football.
“Could we have converted one or two of the good chances we created? Possibly, but at least we take a point away with us. The biggest credit I can pay the lads is that the disappointment of going behind didn’t affect us. And that was important.”