A stoppage time penalty from substitute Ashley Hunter rescued a point in dramatic fashion for Fleetwood Town as they drew 2-2 with Oldham Athletic.
Goals from Craig Davies and Kean Bryan either side of an Ashley Eastham equaliser looked to have sealed three points for the Latics, but Hunter sent Oldham stopper Jack Ruddy the wrong way in the 93rd minute and send Highbury into raptures.
Uwe Rosler made one change from the side that was defeated at Bristol Rovers two weeks ago, with Bailly Cargill replacing Nathan Pond in defence. Cian Bolger captained the side.
The opening stages of the contest saw little action at either end as both sides did well to cancel each other out. Fleetwood were the better side though and were breaking well. Bobby Grant’s deflected a Kyle Dempsey effort wide in the first chance for the home side, moments after Anthony Gerrard headed wide for the visitors from a Byrne corner.
As the game opened up and the midfield opened up, it was to be Oldham who broke the deadlock. An impressive run down the right from Eoin Doyle resulted in the Latics’ striker looping a pinpoint cross towards Craig Davies, whose bullet header beat Alex Cairns.
Despite the setback, Town were looking lively. A smart corner routine from Dempsey saw him thread the ball to Amari’i Bell, but the defender could only blaze his effort over the bar.
An equaliser was to come just six minutes later as Eastham headed in the far post. After Oldham failed to clear their lines after a Dempsey free kick, the ball was headed across the box by Cargill and Eastham was there to find the back of the net. After the initial quiet start, the game was now end to end as Doyle fired over from the restart.
The deflection of a defender and perhaps the touch of Ruddy’s hand prevented Town from taking the lead just a minute later. Lewie Coyle produced a piercing run into the Oldham area and fired across goal, but the ball couldn’t find a way into the net.
The game was still relentless as the half edged towards a close, and Town were unlucky not to be ahead at the break. A fine ball over to Devante Cole was nicely controlled by the striker, but he fired wide under pressure from Ruddy in the Oldham goal.
The second period began with same tenacity of the first with chances coming at both ends. Cole again came closest to scoring the third goal of match as he fired over after a cheeky pass by Aiden O’Neill. Cargill then headed over from a corner.
It was to be Oldham who scored the next goal though, with their first chance of the half, and in emphatic style. After a clearance from Bolger only reached Bryan on the edge of the area, the Manchester City loanee struck first time and fired into the top corner from 25 yards out.
The visitors were now in the ascendency, and were looking threatening from set pieces. Cairns did well to gather from a smart Byrne free kick from the left. They perhaps should have made it 3-1 after a break away move saw former Cod Aaron Amadi-Holloway fire just wide of the mark.
Up the other end, Hunter’s effort sailed agonisingly past the upright after being fed through by Coyle. The visitors then missed another golden chance with Gerrard’s bullet header, before Holloway headed over Byrne’s corner.
With the game in its final ebbs, Fleetwood were desperately searching for an equaliser, and were unlucky when Dempsey’s cross into the box couldn’t find a red shirt.
Hope for Town came in the third minute of stoppage time as Peter Clarke brought down Cole in the area and the referee pointed to the stop. Substitute Hunter coolly slotted past Ruddy and seal a point for the home side.
A late rally did make things exciting in the final seconds, but both sides had to settle for a point as the final whistle blew.
Fleetwood XI: Cairns (GK), Coyle, Bell, O’Neill, Eastham, Hiwula (Hunter), Dempsey, Grant (Glendon), Bolger ©, Cargill (Burns), Cole.
Subs not used: Neal (GK), Pond, Godswill, Schwabl.
Oldham XI: Ruddy (GK), Gerrard, Gardner, Davies (Holloway), McLaughlin, Doyle, Edmundson, Clarke, Nepomuceno, Byrne, Bryan.
Subs not used: Placide (GK), Dummigan, Wilson, Banks, Menig, Obadeyi.
Referee: R Jones