City just about worthy of a point

Wigan 1 Manchester City 1

Ten-man Manchester City needed a brilliant late save from Shay Given to earn them a point at Wigan. The dismissal of Pablo Zabaleta for two bookable offences condemned the Blues to a difficult last 25 minutes.

And Hugo Rodallega thought he has profited with a close-range volley a minute from time, only for Given to deny him. Wigan might grumble, although City were just about worthy of a point.

Not that it will save them from a few harsh words from manager Mark Hughes, who must have been disappointed with a poor first-half display, in which Charles N'Zogbia put the hosts in front before Martin Petrov levelled at the start of the second period.

For once, City were vying for the pre-match headlines, with Alan Wiley of all people after Sir Alex Ferguson's ill-advised attack on the Staffordshire official a fortnight ago.

At Old Trafford there had been no obvious sign of the referee lacking fitness, as Ferguson claimed - comments he has subsequently apologised for and will surely get punished for when the FA announce whether the Scot will face a charge tomorrow.

And again, Wiley appeared to be up with play at all the crucial points, getting all the big decisions right, including Zabaleta's red card.

Hughes was probably glad attention was diverted away from his team, who struggled to express themselves and were let down too often by Petrov's poor set-piece delivery.

Emmanuel Adebayor forced Chris Kirkland into one decent save and Carlos Tevez did not react fast enough when Maynor Figueroa nudged a header into his path. But there was a paucity of chances for the visitors that did not sit easily with the growing feeling they will be involved in the title shake-up.

In contrast, Wigan, limited as they were, always gave the impression of a side pushing themselves to the limit.

In Rodallega they had an obvious danger man and he brought an excellent save out of Given with a dipping 25-yard strike.

Still, a goalless opening period was drawing to a seemingly inevitable conclusion when Rodallega, set up by the industrious Jason Scotland, went for the far corner with an angled drive.

Given did well to keep it out. But the Republic of Ireland star, named skipper in the absence of Kolo Toure, could only push the ball into N'Zogbia's path.

That the former Newcastle man beat Wayne Bridge as he slid home in will do nothing to dispel the theory that England's second-choice full-back has been one of Hughes' big disappointments this term.

Chelsea have been beaten on this ground, while Manchester United recorded a five-goal win, so the result was not going to be a reliable guide to City's progress.

Nevertheless, having no doubt implored his side to do better, Hughes must have been delighted the Blues took just 65 seconds to level.

Not unusually, Tevez was the creator but Roberto Martinez will wonder why Mohamed Diame over-ran the Argentine's square ball from the touchline after Shaun Wright-Phillips had missed it.

Diame's error left Petrov with a clear sight of goal and he found the bottom corner with a precise shot.

The Blues should have been in front moments later, with Tevez again the architect, playing a superb ball through the Wigan defence for Adebayor.

Although Titus Bramble slid across to make a fine tackle, the loose ball rolled perfectly for Wright-Phillips, whose goalbound effort looped over off Adebayor, who was still on the floor.

City's increased threat and Wigan's desperation to get something from the contest brought an edge to the game, which Adebayor did not do much to quell with a cynical tackle he was fortunate to get away with after the game had already been stopped.

But with challenges flying in, there was a risking of someone's afternoon ending early. Zabaleta turned out to be the man, although his fury as Wiley produced red for a tackle on Scotland was not really matched by the reality, which was the full-back missing the ball completely as he lunged in.

Not that Figueroa would have had any defence either if Wiley had got a proper view of his penalty-box challenge on Wright-Phillips.

Wigan were more likely winners at the end. But Given was equal to Rodellaga's late volley, which seemed certain to end in the net, to preserve a point for the visitors

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine