Blues for Ellington as Wigan miss out on top spot

Watford 0 - Wigan Athletic 0
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The Independent Online

The chance to go top of the Championship was the carrot on offer for Wigan last night. They had a nibble but in the end had to be grateful for another draw - their fourth in five games - after riding out substantial pressure from Watford, who saw Ashley Young volley over from six yards just before time.

The chance to go top of the Championship was the carrot on offer for Wigan last night. They had a nibble but in the end had to be grateful for another draw - their fourth in five games - after riding out substantial pressure from Watford, who saw Ashley Young volley over from six yards just before time.

Wigan came into this game still unbeaten but they had shown their Achilles heel in drawing three of their last four games, including Saturday's match with Derby County. That result allowed Reading - victors at Vicarage Road at the weekend - to leapfrog Paul Jewell's side and go top of the Championship.

Wigan's goalscorer on Saturday was Lee McCulloch but his subsequent sending-off meant he was absent from this game. This difficult fixture meant Watford had to snuff out the danger present from Wigan's strikeforce of Jason Roberts and Nathan Ellington, who have 15 league goals between them this season. At least, in turn, the Hornets could boast Danny Webber, who with nine goals, is the Championship's top scorer.

But frustratingly for the home side, their early chances did not fall to the former Manchester United man. Instead the shaven-headed central midfield duo of Gavin Mahon and Brynjar Gunnarsson were threatening John Filan's goal. First Mahon, after seven minutes, hit the post from 20 yards and then the Icelander drove hard but over the crossbar soon after.

It took until seven minutes from the interval for Webber to finally get a shot in but when he met Neal Ardley's cross, his effort was saved down low.

Ten minutes after the break Wigan, and Ellington in particular, came the closest yet to breaking the deadlock. As they began to exert ever greater pressure on the home defence, Jimmy Bullard's corner was met powerfully by Ellington, bringing a fine save from Richard Lee on his goal-line.

Watford offered aerial power through Heidar Helguson andwith 62 minutes gone the Icelandic striker won a free-kick. From Neal Ardley's set-piece, Neil Cox headed fractions wide.

Watford (4-4-2): Lee; Mayo, Cox, Doyley, Chambers; Ardley (Bouazza,90), Gunnarsson, G Mahon, Young; Helguson, Webber. Substitutes not used: Chamberlain (gk), Dyer, Blizzard, Demerit.

Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Filan; Baines, Thome, Breckin, Eaden; A Mahon, Bullard, Whalley (Wright, 84), Teale (Graham, 48); Ellington, Roberts. Substitutes not used: Walsh (gk), McMillan, Flynn.

Referee: A Penn (W Midlands).

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