Bolton Wanderers 1 Wigan Athletic 1: Allardyce gives voice to his frustrations

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The Independent Football

Whatever deficiencies this match had as a spectacle, it left both managers feeling their side had done well under the circumstances. For Allardyce, his personnel problems - he deserves some sort of award for the number of times he has mentioned the African Nations' Cup - were exacerbated by an injury to an African who is not in Egypt.

Khalilou Fadiga was the latest inheritor of that essential Bolton role in front of the back four, but he lasted just 22 minutes before being carried off with knee ligament damage that will end his season.

"He was the major player for us in opening Wigan up," Allardyce said, but his side still developed enough momentum to win the game and with Tal Ben Haim taking on much of the responsibility for building play from the back, they could have had more than Stelios Giannakopoulos' 63rd-minute goal.

Wigan had problems of their own. With Jason Roberts suspended, Henri Camara in Egypt and Lee McCulloch and David Connolly injured, Paul Jewell was down to one striker, and Neil Mellor was not fully fit either.

"We played five in midfield, which doesn't really suit us, and it took the goal to wake us up," Jewell said. A couple of substitutions helped as well. Andreas Johansson replaced the limping Mellor, drew a dubious free-kick from Bruno N'Gotty and was there to knock in the rebound after Jussi Jaaskelainen parried Reto Ziegler's shot. Bolton's fans were furious with the free-kick. More to the point, their players seemed distracted by the furore, failed to set their wall properly and paid the price.

After that, Wigan could have won it. Jimmy Bullard was in the clear but shot weakly and N'Gotty's back-pass to Jaaskelainen produced a free-kick in the area and an effort from David Thompson which was blocked. Given their current difficulties and the mutual respect between them, both managers regarded this as a good point. For Jewell, it was a particularly significant one.

One criticism of Wigan this season is that they have not been good at getting away with a draw. Now, following their result against Everton last Tuesday, they have done it twice in a week.

With Mellor barred from playing against Liverpool this weekend Jewell is desperate to have Camara back, joking that he could sneak on to the jet that Allardyce talked about chartering to bring back some of his men from Egypt for their match at Arsenal.

That is the sort of co-operation you could expect from these two managers, who are cut from the same cloth. Where Allardyce would like them to be more similar is in the scope they were given during the January transfer window. His inability to strengthen his squad is an irritation he does not even bother to conceal.

Although he described speculation linking him with Newcastle as an unwanted distraction, he would not be human if he did not wonder what he could do with the fundsGraeme Souness had.

Goals: Giannakopoulos (63) 1-0; Johansson (76) 1-1.

Bolton Wanderers (4-1-3-2): Jaaskelainen; O'Brien, Ben Haim, N'Gotty, Gardner; Fadiga (Hunt, 22); Nakata, Nolan, Giannakopoulos; Davies (Borgetti, 52), Jansen (Vaz Te, 40). Substitutes not used: Walker (gk), Fojut.

Wigan Athletic (4-5-1): Pollitt; Chimbonda, Henchoz, De Zeeuw, Baines (Thompson, 65); Teale, Scharner, Kavanagh, Bullard, Ziegler; Mellor (Johansson, 65). Substitutes not used: Walsh (gk), Jackson, Francis.

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).

Booked: Wigan Chimbonda, Henchoz, Mellor, Thompson.

Man of the match: Ben Haim.

Attendance: 25,854.

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