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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk