Roberts held at bay as Wigan fall flat

Wigan Athletic 0 - Burnley 0
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The Independent Football

The one frustration of Wigan Athletic's unbeaten start to the Championship season has been their inability to turn some draws into victories. This was a disappointment of a subtly different sort; a tepid affair they never deserved to win.

The one frustration of Wigan Athletic's unbeaten start to the Championship season has been their inability to turn some draws into victories. This was a disappointment of a subtly different sort; a tepid affair they never deserved to win.

Stability can be a precious commodity in the early stages of a campaign, so for Wigan's Paul Jewell to be able to field the same starting XI for the eighth Championship game in a row was luxury indeed.

Not surprisingly, Wigan's settled and unbeaten combination made the early running, but without creating any clear-cut chances, whereas Burnley's isolated raid saw Robbie Blake set up Ian Moore for a hooked in shot which John Filan had to save.

There were glimpses of the mutual understanding that has made Wigan's striking partnership the most productive in the division, as when Nathan Ellington got to the byline in the 20th minute and Jason Roberts had his effort blocked, but the cutting edge was not quite there.

In general, a Burnley side still adjusting to life without the pugnacious presence of Stan Ternent on the touchline coped well with the potential danger.

Better still for Burnley, their highly-rated young midfielder, Richard Chaplow, was chasing and harrying everywhere to further unsettle opponents struggling to find their rhythm.

Wigan did have the best chance of the half after 40 minutes when Roberts connected with Jimmy Bullard's shrewd pass but glided it just wide of the post.

The game continued in its undistinguished way after the break, although Wigan did apply some pressure through corners and free kicks, and Lee McCulloch blazed wide from close range after Roberts had squeezed the ball into the goalmouth.

That was as good as the approach play got. It was as though neither side could come to terms with a gusty wind which blew plastic bags and crisp packets around the JJB Stadium pitch. They were playing as though in the grip of Hurricane Ivan, rather than a fresh Lancashire breeze.

Graham Branch headed a good chance over for Burnley to prevent them making off with all three points before McCulloch hit a clean long-range shot which was turned round the post by Danny Coyne, but this was a game that fittingly remained scoreless.

Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Filan, Wright, Breckin, Jackson, Baines, Teale (Graham 67), Bullard, Frandsen, McCulloch, Roberts, Ellington. Substitutes not used: Walsh (g), Thome, Mahon, Eaden.

Burnley (3-5-2): Coyne, Doff, Sinclair, McGreal, Roche (Valois 81), Chaplow, Grant, Branch, Camara, Blake, Moore. Substitutes not used: Jensen (g), O'Neill, Pilkington, Townsend.

Referee: P Armstrong.

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