Wigan Athletic will be pleased to move off the bottom of the Championship table for Christmas but it wasn’t a classic encounter in the 0-0 draw with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
The omens were not good prior to the game with the visitors at rock bottom against a Blackburn team who had been in very good form but Latics had the better chances on the night.
Josh Windass, Michael Jacobs, Samy Morsy and Cedric Kipre all had good opportunities to put Latics ahead although Rovers Danny Graham hit the bar and Lewis Holtby forced a good save from Jamie Jones.
Latics move above Stoke City and Rovers move up to eighth in the Championship table.
Under pressure manager Paul Cook named an unchanged team from the draw against Huddersfield Town with Kal Naismith and Kipre remaining as the centre back partnership.
The visitors started brightly and had several very good early chances. First, Gavin Massey’s cross was headed wide by Windass.
Soon afterwards, Jamal Lowe set up Jacobs on the edge of the area but the winger fired straight at Christian Walton from a good position.
Windass then had another great opportunity but after finding space he blazed high over the crossbar.
Rovers responded on the hour mark and Jones was forced into his first important save from a Darragh Lenihan header following a corner.
But Latics were still having the better of it and Lee Evans saw his header saved by Walton at the back post.
All level at the interval with Latics on top against a surprisingly subdued Rovers.
Early in the second half Naismith found Lowe with a long pass but the striker was wasteful with his effort from 25 yards.
Rovers best chance of the game came when Danny Graham’s angled header came back off the crossbar from Adam Armstrong’s right wing cross.
At the other end Morsy saw his shot heading for the top corner but it was well pushed away by Walton. Following the corner, Kipre headed powerfully on target but again it was well saved by the Rovers keeper.
Rovers suffered a setback on 68 minutes when they lost Bradley Dack to a serious knee injury after an innocuous challenge by Morsy.
Latics had further chances to take all three points when Morsy went through on goal but Derrick Williams was able to slide in to deny him.
Finally Windass’ excellent curled cross nearly found Lowe but the former Portsmouth striker couldn’t quite make contact at the back post.
Rovers substitute Lewis Holtby fired straight at Jones from a good position but the game ended all square with Latics taking most of the plaudits after an improved away showing.
Incredibly this was Latics first clean sheet in 33 matches. It was a very solid defensive display but they will need wins if they are to escape the drop.
Once again they lacked a cutting edge in the final third. They are the lowest scorers in the Championship and unless forwards Lowe, Jacobs, Massey and Windass start to find the net they will be relegated.