Bolton manager Neil Lennon admitted his side were “delighted” to come away from Wigan with a Sky Bet Championship point despite conceding a stoppage-time equaliser in the 1-1 draw.
Wigan dominated an entertaining Lancashire derby only to fall behind in unfortunate circumstances with 20 minutes to go, when Tom Walker’s tame shot took a wicked deflection off Harry Maguire to leave Ali Al Habsi wrong-footed.
But the home side kept at it and were rewarded in the fourth added minute when Martyn Waghorn’s overhead kick finally beat Ben Amos, who had pulled off a string of fabulous saves.
Wigan also hit the woodwork in either half through James Perch and Leon Clarke, to extend their winless record at the DW Stadium to an incredible 17 matches.
“With our away form and Wigan’s home form, a draw was always going to be on the cards,” acknowledged Lennon.
“While I’m delighted with a point, I’m not so pleased with the performance.
“Wigan fully deserved their point. It was the least they deserved for their effort.
“We’ve been due a little bit of luck. We got a huge slice of luck with the goal, but I’m never comfortable with us at the minute in terms of holding out for a win.
“We’ve stopped the rot away from home, we stay away from the bottom three so, all in all, it’s not a bad day really.
“In the last six or seven weeks, we’ve conceded goals in the last minute on six occasions - and it’s cost us nine points.
“With those points we would be home and hosed by now. I still think we’re in a comfortable position.
“We just need a couple more wins to cement our position for next season which would be pleasing considering where we were when we first came into the door.”
Lennon also hailed the performance of Amos, with the on-loan Manchester United man denying Marc-Antoine Fortune, Jermaine Pennant, Sheyi Ojo and Clarke with superb stops.
“Away from home you have to reply on your goalkeeper to play well, and Ben certainly played well,” the Bolton boss added.
“He’s been an excellent acquisition for us. I’ve got three very good goalkeepers sitting on the sidelines at the moment, but Ben hasn’t done anything to justify being replaced.
“In fact, he’s just got better and better.
“Would I like to keep him for next year? Yes, certainly. But he’s definitely putting himself in the shop window if things don’t go as planned at Manchester United.
“He’s been superb since he’s been here and he was superb again today.”
Latics boss Malky Mackay saw his side prove their stomach for the fight to reduce the gap to Championship safety to five points with seven matches remaining.
“Was it a break or should it have been three points? I think it should have been three points,” insisted Mackay.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a goalkeeper produce a performance like that - certainly not while I’ve been at the club.
“My team were terrific, in terms of the way they played. I was happy with the first half, and I was even happier with the second half.
“We lost a really unlucky goal, and the boys immediately got up, got on with it again and hit their bar and saw their goalkeeper produce two wonderful saves before scoring our goal.
“There’s a great fighting spirit at the moment, it’s a fresh group of players - some frees, some loans, some stalwarts, some kids - but they’re pulling together and we’re going toe-to-toe with whoever we play against.
“I’ll take that group of players with me into the last seven games, right through to the last day at Brentford.”
Coupled with Rotherham’s late defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday, there was a four-point swing in Wigan’s favour that Mackay hopes will prove crucial in the final reckoning.
“It’s a massive plus, because the gap could have been nine points,” he added. “But it’s not, it’s five, so without a doubt it’s a plus.
“The boys in the dressing room were refreshing the internet every 10 seconds, following the Rotherham game, and for us to cut it to five points going into the international break is something we definitely deserve.”