OLDHAM ATHLETIC 1, BRISTOL CITY 1
Playing the top teams certainly brings the best out of Oldham Athletic as they held runaway Sky Bet League One leaders Bristol City at SportsDirect.com Park.
It is just typical of Latics to struggle against the weaker teams in the division and then produce excellent performances against the leading lights.
This was another case as Latics were slightly unfortunate not to inflict a rare defeat on the leaders.
Though the likes of Jake Kean, James Wilson and Joseph Mills were back, caretaker manager Dean Holden kept faith with the likes of youngster Joel Coleman, Adam Lockwood and Mat Sadler who have served him well in recent weeks.
And the fit-again young striker Rhys Turner got the nod over on-loan Bolton Wanderers striker Conor Wilkinson, perhaps the one surprise in his team selection.
Bristol had an early chance as former Arsenal player Luke Freeman shot not far wide from the edge of the box.
Goalkeeper Coleman, starting his fourth successive game, made a superb save to deny former Latics’ loanee Aaron Wilbraham.
Latics had their best spell midway through the opening half when Carl Winchester saw a goalbound shot headed over the bar by defender Derrick Williams while Mike Jones had a 25-yard drive well kept out by keeper Frank Fielding.
Freeman had another decent effort for Bristol, but his long-range drive flew wide.
Latics continued to more than match their more lofty opponents as Dominic Poleon’s shot flew wide and Connor Brown’s 30-yard screamer brought a flying fingertip save from Fielding.
Bristol brought on Wade Elliott and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas in a bid to break the deadlock, but it was Latics who remained the more dangerous side offensively.
And it was against the run of play that Bristol took a 71st minute lead when Freeman set up top scorer Wilbraham slotted home his cross from inside the six-yard box.
The lead was short-lived as Latics were level within four minutes when Winchester won the ball on the left, cut inside and fired low past Fielding.
And Latics almost completed a great turnabout when Fielding pulled off another masterful saved to keep out a lob from substitute Wilkinson.
Winchester then saw a drive flash past the upright and then in the last minute leading scorer Jonathan Forte was denied by Fielding.
While shooting, Forte received a nasty kick on his ankle which forced Latics to defend with 10 men for the remaining six minutes of added time.
And Bristol scented victory as Elliott and Williams had shots which forced Coleman into action, but they held on for a creditable draw.