Championship: Wigan Salvage Draw against Doncaster

wigan-championshipWigan produced a stirring comeback from two goals down to salvage a late point against newly promoted Doncaster.

The visitors took the lead when Theo Robinson swivelled in the home penalty area before firing past Scott Carson.

Chris Brown doubled their advantage with a near-post header before Wigan’s Shaun Maloney curled in a free-kick.

Leon Barnett thrashed in a late leveller but Doncaster almost snatched victory when substitute Billy Paynter hit the woodwork.

FA Cup holders Wigan are highly-fancied to make an instant return to the Premier League after their relegation last season and have shown their intent with a host of impressive summer signings.

But, since a 4-0 opening-day win at Barnsley, their early days in the Championship have been far from straight-forward.

After a shock 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth last weekend, Latics boss Owen Coyle stressed the importance of Wigan’s home form being the platform for a successful season in the build-up to his first game at the DW Stadium.

But it looked like the Scot, who replaced Everton-bound Roberto Martinez during the close season, was going to suffer defeat against League One champions Doncaster.

The Latics started brightly as they attacked the visitors with a swagger, new signing Grant Holt heading over the crossbar before seeing his instinctive near-post volley parried by Rovers goalkeeper Ross Turnbull.

Ex-Norwich striker Holt, one of Coyle’s most eye-catching signings, was proving a handful and felt he should have been awarded a penalty after he was bundled to the ground by Doncaster right-back Reece Wabara.

Wigan continued to press with Chris McCann slicing through the centre of the Doncaster defence, only to fire straight at Turnbull, before Shaun Maloney’s cross-shot deceived the ex-Chelsea goalkeeper to cannon off the post.

But Doncaster took a shock lead when Robinson, who joined from Derby County last week, netted his second goal in as many appearances with a clinical finish. And it got better for the visitors when Brown nodded in Bongani Khumalo’s cross from close-range.

Wigan were booed off at half-time and almost conceded a third goal within seconds of the restart when Khumalo crashed a header against the post.

But the home side cranked up the pressure and were handed a lifeline through Maloney’s strike after substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune was fouled on the edge of the penalty area.

Doncaster defended for their lives in the final stages and looked set to hold out – but were denied by Barnett’s late strike from 12 yards.