On a night when there was a minute’s applause to celebrate the life of former Stoke City and England goalkeeper Gordon Banks neither side showed Banks’s quality on the pitch in a dour goalless draw.
Michael Jacobs had a couple of early chances for Latics but failed to capitalise and the Potters went close when Joe Allen had a shot deflected onto the post and a Sam Clucas free-kick forced a superb full-length save from Jamie Jones.
In the second half Reece James’ dipping drive produced a good save from Jack Butland but Stoke had plenty of chances to take all three points with Tom Ince twice and James McClean wasteful in front of goal.
Latics remain in 19 place and six points above the drop zone, Stoke remain in 17th spot and 11 points above the bottom three.
Paul Cook made two changes to the team which drew at Rotherham with captain Samy Morsy and defender Cedric Kipre coming in for Beni Baningime and the injured Danny Fox.
Latics made the early running and had a very good opportunity when Nathan Byrne crossed for Jacobs but the winger fired wide of the target from a good position.
Jacobs then broke clear of the Potters defence but was denied by keeper Jack Butland, who made a good save at his near post.
Chey Dunkley rose high above the Stoke defence from a Reece James corner but couldn’t get his header on target.
However, Stoke started to create opportunities at the other end and Jamie Jones made a superb full length save from a Clucas free-kick.
The visitors might have gone ahead before the interval when Ince broke clear and crossed for Allen but the Welsh midfielder’s shot was deflected by Cedric Kipre onto the post.
The second half was predominantly Stoke’s as the hosts were pushed back into defence.
Latics briefly threatened when James’ 25-yard dipping drive forced a good save from Butland.
Ince twice found himself in good positions but blazed off target and the best chance of the game fell to substitute McClean who was one-on-one with Jones but fired into the side netting from eight yards out.
A rare Latics attack saw a Kal Naismith’s force another good save by Butland at his near post but Stoke continued to press for the winner.
A combination of some poor Stoke finishing, good defending and a little luck had enabled Latics to hold out for a point in their quest to stay in the Championship.
Disappointingly there were only 9,914 supporters at the DW stadium last night with 1,179 Stoke fans. Previously a Championship game between these two teams would have attracted a much higher attendance but the cheaper option of watching from home is now proving to be the easy alternative to attending a live match.
Championship clubs have been offered additional cash to televise the games but it is clearly having a detrimental effect on the live atmosphere. The long-term worry is that existing supporters will no longer attend the games and we will lose future generations of fans who will prefer to watch from their homes.
The clubs now have a big decision to make about the future wellbeing of the game or short-term financial gains.