Wigan blow chance in stalemate with relegated Pompey

Wigan Athletic 0 Portsmouth 0

Wigan missed a golden opportunity to ease their relegation worries as they were held to a goalless draw by an already-relegated and understrength Portsmouth at the DW Stadium.

Pompey's Jamie Ashdown was by far the busier goalkeeper but his display was certainly not in the brilliant category as the Latics squandered a number of chances.

And although the draw lifted Wigan up a place to 16th they are only five points above the bottom three with the visit of Arsenal to come at the weekend.

It said a great deal about this match that Pompey boss Avram Grant's team selection was about the most interesting topic of conversation before, during and after the game.

Having beaten Tottenham in their FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, Grant made eight changes - including handing debuts to 20-year-olds Joel Ward and midfielder Matt Ritchie - and named just four substitutes, two of whom were teenagers Lenny Sowah and Marlon Pack.

But the glaring pre-match statistic for Wigan, apart from the one which highlighted only three Barclays Premier League victories since the turn of the year, was that they had failed to score more than once in their last 13 matches.

Their first-half performance encapsulated that form perfectly as, after allowing their visitors a couple of openings, they proceeded to squander several chances.

Paul Scharner headed Charles N'Zogbia's free-kick wide under pressure from Ricardo Rocha, one of only three survivors from Sunday's FA Cup semi-final, and James McCarthy forced Ashdown into a save with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Both Colombia striker Hugo Rodallega, still wearing gloves in mid-April, and Scharner failed to connect with N'Zogbia's cross into the six-yard area while Mohamed Diame's driving run to the byline resulted in Jason Scotland shooting straight at Ashdown from four yards.

The Pompey goalkeeper then did just enough to keep out Scotland's drive from the edge of the penalty area after former Wigan midfielder Michael Brown's backpass had played in the Trinidad and Tobago international.

When Wigan did finally get the ball in the net Scharner was flagged offside from N'Zogbia's deflected shot.

The Austrian and Rodallega both then missed the target with half-decent opportunities in added time.

Portsmouth's two chances in the first half came early on for Ritchie, who diverted Tommy Smith's pass wide from a good position and then failed to hit the target at the far post from Anthony Vanden Borre's hanging cross.

Sowah came on for only his second Pompey appearance after making his debut earlier this month, as Rocha went off and Ward moved into the centre of defence at the start of the second half.

Although it did little to shore up things at the back, Wigan were so adept at missing chances it hardly mattered.

Ten minutes after the restart Scharner side-footed over from Maynor Figueroa's cut-back, which proved to be his last contribution.

Striker Marcelo Moreno replaced him and with the cheers of home fans still echoing in his ears the Austrian disappeared straight down the tunnel.

Another chance went begging when Scotland's glancing header from N'Zogbia's cross flashed across the face of goal before Ashdown raced off his line to block a Moreno shot, producing his best save of the night with nine minutes remaining when he tipped McCarthy's drive around his right-hand post.

The hosts continued to push for a much-needed winner but Moreno shot wastefully wide with N'Zogbia well placed before Rodallega fired over late on.

Wigan could yet be left to rue this missed opportunity as, after Arsenal, their other remaining fixtures are against fellow relegation strugglers West Ham and Hull before they head to Chelsea on the final day of the season.

Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable