Wigan Athletic's challenge for the Final Third Development League West title took a knock with a 2-1 defeat away at Oldham Athletic, despite creating a number of chances.
OLDHAM ATHLETIC 2
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
Latics narrowly missed out on all but securing the league title this afternoon with a 2-1 defeat to fellow Latics, Oldham Athletic, despite pulling themselves level just after half time and having a penalty saved just before the hour mark.
Patrick Antelmi levelled for Latics with a deserved goal in a battling display up front, but a tremendous penalty save from Joel Coleman denied Joey Johnson the chance to give Latics a 2-1 lead just minutes after the equaliser.
Jordan Bove gave Oldham the lead in the first half after picking up on a defensive error, but it was down to John Pritchard to put the hosts ahead again late into the game as he struck a low free kick under the wall for the winning goal on 88 minutes.
Latics started the game well and an opening period of 40 minutes was dominated with wide play and crosses into the area.
Antelmi came closest first when he scampered down the right side only to have a shot saved at a tight angle, before once again breaking the back line only to be met by an outstretched block by Oldham goalkeeper Coleman on the edge of the area.
Coleman had kept his side in the game and then provided a clearance which led to the opening goal.
His long ball down the middle caught out Michael Wilson, allowing Bove to stride through the middle and slot the ball under Lee Nicholls in the one-on-one.
It was a blow just a minute before half time, but Latics didn't let that dampen their spirits and within five minutes of the restart for the second half, Antelmi grabbed himself a well deserved equaliser.
The ever-dangerous Ryan Jennings played the perfect pass into the Oldham goalkeeper's no man's land, allowing for Antelmi to steal in, knocking the ball around the keeper on the edge of the area and slotting it home into an empty net.
Oldham continued to create their own problems shortly after, when a clever pass from Antelmi down the right of the area allowed Danny Leigh to arrive on the overlap before being clumsily tumbled in the area for a penalty.
Johnson stepped up confidently, and rightly so with a well taken spot-kick headed for the bottom right corner, but somehow Coleman leaped across his line to beat it away and keep the score at 1-1.
Antelmi tried to follow up the rebound, but again Coleman jumped into action to deny Latics a second goal.
Latics continued to press as the half went on, with Antelmi causing chaos again in the area, going close twice at the left post after lobbing the keeper, only for a covering defender to clear.
Substitute Jordan Flores had a fizzing left footed effort deflected away from the bottom right corner and Latics' front line continued to look the most likely to find a winner.
As the push continued, Peter Atherton's side were caught out by another big clearance from Coleman, this time with Wilson bringing down substitute Jordache Walters for a free kick 20 yards from goal to the left edge of the area.
John Pritchard stepped up and with a low drive underneath the wall he caught out Lee Nicholls to tuck the ball into the bottom left corner.
A cruel blow for Latics in the fight for the title as the goal proved the difference with just two minutes remaining.
Latics remain four points clear in first place, with second, third and fourth place all playing tomorrow, leaving the Development Squad with it all to play for and potentially one more victory handing them the title depending on other results.
Oldham: Coleman, Fulwood, Etches, Edmundson, Clarke, Brewster, Grant (Foulds 67), Hardman (Walters), Pritchard, Bove, Gosset
Unused subs: Jacobs, Tuohy, Tansinda
Latics: Nicholls, Leigh, Garcia (Balogun 71), Harrison, Wilson, Meadows (Andres 59), Jennings (Flores 81), Ainscough, Antelmi, Chow, Johnson
Unused subs: Marosi, Poole