Bent misses England duty after Wigan impasse

Wigan Athletic 0 Aston Villa 0

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The Aston Villa fans became vociferous with disgust at their team's turgid style of play under Alex McLeish, as they scraped their 10th draw of the season at bottom-of-the-League Wigan, with the away end of the ground spending the second half chanting for the sacking of their manager.

Wigan collected only their third clean sheet of the season, as Villa's forwards created few chances in the match, but, in truth, the home side were no better in front of goal with their attackers looking devoid of confidence, as they teams played out a somewhat predictable goalless draw.

"The fans have been great, they're expecting Aston Villa to come to Wigan and win; I played four attackers today, we created lots of chances and if we'd have taken one, we'd have won," said a defensive McLeish. "Nobody likes it, I can't say it's water off a duck's back," stated the Scotsman in response to the fans' reaction to the result.

The home side's forwards have suffered a drought in front of goal at home this season, netting only eight times in their last 11 games at the DW Stadium, and these problems were summed up in the eighth minute when Jean Beausejour broke down the left, only to see his cross missed by three Wigan attackers who were leaving it for each other.

Throughout the campaign, Roberto Martinez's side have tried to play passing football, but have been repeatedly stifled by the poor quality of their playing surface, which the Spaniard politely described as "difficult", and the return of the Super League has aided the deterioration of the pitch thanks to Athletic's co-habitants, the Warriors.

Upon Emile Heskey's arrival on the pitch, the Villa fans began calling for McLeish's head. The Scotsman's ambitions were not helped with a 15 minutes left as the top-scorer Darren Bent was stretchered off with a serious ankle injury and will now miss England's friendly against Holland at Wembley on Wednesday.

Wigan's Franco Di Santo came alive after 90 minutes of anonymity but the Argentine saw his powerful low drive saved by Shay Given, who got down sharply to his right in order to turn it round the post to ensure the points were shared.

"We can be really pleased about our performance," said the eternally positive Martinez. "The manner in which we work for each other and the concentration is very good. Sometimes we just need that little bit of luck in front of goal."

Wigan (4-3-3): Al Habsi; Boyce, Alcaraz, Caldwell, Figueroa; McAthur, McCarthy (Diamé, 79), Gomez (Rodallega, 65); Moses (Crusat, 89), Beausejour, Di Santo

Aston Villa (4-3-3): Given; Hutton, Collins, Cuellar, Warnock; Albrighton (Heskey, 70), Gardner (Ireland, 74), Bannan; Agbonlahor, Keane, Bent (N'Zogbia, 78)

Referee Kevin Friend.

Man of the match Collins (Aston Villa).

Match rating 3/10.