It was a nervous relegation encounter at Oakwell as Latics and Barnsley cancelled each other out in a dour 0-0 draw.
Despite losing defender Danny Fox to a red card on 70 minutes the ten men Latics defended well and held out for what could prove to be a vital point in their relegation battle
The Tykes best chance came on 60 minutes when Michael Sollbauer volleyed just wide of the target with the goal at his mercy.
Latics best opportunity came when Kal Naismith drove forward and Jordan Williams made a goal saving block inside the six yard box.
Neither team wanted a draw but Latics are still optimistic that they can escape the drop despite the EFL’s likely 12 point penalty.
Latics are now on 54 points (appeal pending the 12 point penalty) and Barnsley are bottom of the Championship table on 43 points with three games remaining.
Paul Cook named an unchanged team for the trip to South Yorkshire with Leon Balogun, Anthony Pilkington and Michael Jacobs injured and Joe Garner suspended.
The visitors started nervously as Barnsley threatened early on with Elliott Simoes firing dangerously across the six yard box in the first minute.
Marshall saved well from Cauley Woodrow on six minutes and he had to make an even better save on 13 minutes diving low down to his left to tip the ball around the post from Jacob Browne’s strike.
Latics’ first threat came on 30 minutes when Kieffer Moore rose to head Kieran Dowell’s corner into the bottom corner but Jack Walton got down well to save at his near post.
In a scrappy game Latics were struggling to cope with the Tykes formation and manager Cook decided to copy the hosts and go to a 3-5-2 formation on 40 minutes.
Just before the interval Dowell had a good opportunity to put the visitors ahead but his shot was well blocked by a Sollbauer challenge.
Early in the second half Jamal Lowe had another effort blocked on the edge of the area.
The best opportunity of the game fell to Sollbauer on 62 minutes when he was eight yards out and volleyed narrowly wide of Marshall’s post.
Latics were really up against it on 70 minutes when Fox was given a straight red card for a high challenge on Simoes.
The ten men battled valiantly and they might have snatched all three points when Naismith drove forwards played a one-two with Robinson before toe poking the ball towards goal only for Williams to save the day for Barnsley.
Moments later Naismith was involved at the other end denying Simoes with a superb block.
In added time Marshall came to Latics’ rescue with another top class save to deny Callum Styles and keep his ninth clean sheet in ten games.
Neither team could make the breakthrough that they so desperately sought but Latics will be the marginally happier given the two clubs remaining fixtures.
Latics’ supporters couldn’t fault the effort today but the quality just wasn’t there. Defensively they had been excellent but the strikers just weren’t firing.
It had been a scrappy game as the two teams desperate for survival had cancelled each other out. But at least the other results went Latics’ way and they are still capable of escaping the drop.