Wigan Athletic 2 Middlesbrough FC 2

Middlesbrough were hit by a late sucker punch and had to settle for a 2-2 draw after a pulsating game at Wigan

Grant Leadbitter celebrates after scoring for Boro
Grant Leadbitter celebrates after scoring for Boro

Middlesbrough were hit by a late sucker punch and had to settle for a 2-2 draw after a pulsating game at Wigan.

The Latics levelled with a chaotically conceded Jordi Gomez free-kick seven six minutes from time, but before that Boro looked good value for the lead in an end-to-end match.

Wigan had gone ahead with a Grant Holt penalty – the softest of three spot-kick shouts the home side had – but Boro levelled quickly with a superb George Friend solo effort then went ahead when Grant Leadbitter stroked home a second.

Wigan broke out to win what looked a harsh penalty on 18 minutes when Marc-Antoine Fortune chased a quick throw from the left and, as he cut into the box, he was caught by Friend.

Keeper Jason Steele dived to his right but Holt calmly dinked the ball down the middle.

Boro deservedly levelled on the stroke of half-time with a cracking goal by Friend – his first for Boro.

Jutkiewicz did well to hold up a ball to the edge of the box then flick it out to the left where overlapping Friend collected and cut inside, skipped over a challenge then drilled a low angled 10 yard shot inside the far post for an equaliser on 45 minutes. The Riversiders broke out to grab the lead with a well-worked goal on 75 minutes. Marvin Emnes tussled with two defenders for a high ball into the box, and it squirted wide to the right of the box where Albert Adomah reacted well to collect and touch past his marker. He squared for the unmarked Leadbitter to calmly slot in from less than six yards.

But Wigan levelled in 84 minutes with a Gomez free-kick that was cheaply conceded.

Dean Whitehead failed to control a Williams ball and got robbed, then failed to stop Gomez him with an attempted foul, leaving Jonathan Woodgate to haul him back. Woodgate was booked, and Boro were punished further as Gomez slammed the 19-yard free-kick straight through the wall to level.

Boro boss Tony Mowbray admitted he had left a “disappointed dressing room“ after seeing two points slip through their fingers. He said: “We thought we had done enough to win the game. We worked their goalkeeper a lot more than they worked ours. We restricted them to a penalty that we gave them and a free-kick that my goalkeeper says is going straight to him and then takes a flick of someone on the way in.

“I suppose that was a by-product of the way we play. We got caught in possession and had to give away a foul on the edge of the box. It is a little bit deflated in there, but there are plenty of positives for us going forward.

“This was a difficult game but Wigan are a top side who spent a lot of money in the summer.”

WIGAN: Carson, Crainey, McCarthy, McCann (Espinoza 62), Holt (McClean 64), McArthur (Gomez 53), Boyce (c), Beausejour, Perch, Barnett, Fortune. Subs (not used): Nicholls, Rogne, Watson, Dicko.

Goals: Holt 17 (pen), Gomez 85.

MIDDLESBROUGH: Steele, Richardson (Parnaby 7), Woodgate, R Williams, Friend, Varga, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Adomah (Halliday 76), Jutkiewicz, Carayol (Emnes 66). Subs (not used): Leutwiler, Ledesma, Gibson, Smallwood.

Goals: Friend 45, Leadbitter 75. Booked: Woodgate

Referee: David Coote (Nottinghamshire).

Attendance: 14, 333

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