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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
and  

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

Day In a Page

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

Dropout generation failed by colleges

£800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

Homeless Veterans appeal

Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch