FULL TIME: Bolton Wanderers 1 Wigan Athletic 1
5:00pm Saturday 29th March 2014 in Sport
ADAM Bogdan made a last-minute penalty save to preserve a point in a thrilling derby against Wigan.
Wanderers looked to have shot themselves in the foot after Nick Powell had come off the bench to level the game three minutes from time.
Alex Baptiste then conceded his second spot kick in two games by tripping Callum McManaman. But Bogdan made a sprawling save to push away Jordi Gomez’s effort from 12 yards to take rapturous applause from the Wanderers fans.
Dougie Freedman may well feel his side should have been a man up after Leon Barnett tripped Liam Trotter when clean through but received only a yellow card.
And Wanderers had by far the lion’s share of the chances – Ali Al-Habsi magnificent on his return to the Reebok.
But the day would belong to Bogdan and his save in the last seconds that came right out of the textbook written by his old mentor Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Wanderers started well and former Whites keeper Ali Al-Habsi was forced into action just six minutes in when Jutkiewicz sent a dipping volley in on goal.
At the other end, David Wheater made a timely intervention in his own six yard box as Emmerson Boyce wound up to strike.
Wigan, roared on by 3,600 travelling fans, started to build some momentum. Marc-Antoine Fortune was unlucky to see a shot on the turn deflect off Medo Kamara and spin just wide of Adam Bogdan’s left hand post.
There were anxious moments at the back too, as Bogdan and Zat Knight got their wires crossed on a couple of occasions.
But Wanderers gathered their composure and had two chances to forge ahead earlier than they did as first Chung-Yong, then Jutkiewicz fired over Al-Habsi’s goal.
The game changed on the half-hour mark when Leon Barnett was adjudged to have fouled Lukas Jutkiewicz 25 yards out. Rob Hall swung in a superb free kick, and Jutkiewicz stuck out a toe to divert in inside the far post.
Hall nearly made it two moments later when he spun to strike a volley just over the bar.
The young winger had not started a game since December 29, when he was brought off at half time in a heavy defeat at Leicester City.
But he was making the most of a rare opportunity and made Al-Habsi work against shortly after the break with a smart save at his near post.
Wigan got a major slice of luck on 52 minutes when a long pass out of defence put Liam Trotter clean through on goal and Leon Barnett tripped him just outside the area.
It looked to all intent and purpose to be a professional foul but after consultation with his assistant, referee Darren Drysdale gave only a yellow card.
Hall failed to punish the Latics further with his free-kick – but in the technical area, a furious Wigan assistant Graham Barrow had to be pulled away from Freedman after remonstrating with the Wanderers boss.
The injustice did not seem to deter the Whites – but Al-Habsi continued to provide stubborn resistance against his former club.
The Oman international made a hat-trick of superb saves from Spearing, Wheater and Ream within a few minutes of each other.
But the game continued to swing from end to end – Bogdan also clawing a cross from Fortune from under the nose of McLean and Zat Knight making a superb last-ditch tackle on James McArthur as he wound up to shoot from eight yards out.
Freedman changed the shape of his side in the last 10 minutes, bringing Alex Baptiste on as a holding midfielder.
And, quite content to hit on the break, Andre Moritz nearly stepped off the bench yet again to grab a goal, seeing his late effort blocked superbly by Barnett.
It looked to be heading for another derby win for the Whites until Martyn Waghorn drove a low cross into the six yard box with three minutes left on the clock and sub Nick Powell – picked out as the danger man by Dougie Freedman before the game – smashed home his 12th of the season.
It nearly got even better for the Latics front man as he headed goalwards in injury time to force Bogdan into a stunning save under his own crossbar.
And there was still time for drama. Baptiste lost the ball on the edge of the box to invite some Wigan pressure and then left a trailing leg to send McManaman crashing to the floor.
Bogdan was equal to Gomez’s penalty – leaping athletically to his right to push the Spaniard’s shot wide of the post.