Battling point for youthful Latics – Wigan Athletic 0 Bristol Rovers 0

Curtis Tilt Curtis Tilt in fine form in the centre of defence

Wigan Athletic’s depleted line-up secured their first point in five games with a spirited display against Bristol Rovers.

The hosts were without seven senior players and prior to the game Latics were dealt a further blow when captain Joe Garner announced that he would be leaving the club to play in India and would be unavailable on the night.

The best chance of the game fell to Rovers Sam Nicholson on 12 minutes when he was clean through on goal but Latics survived the scare with Curtis Tilt twice clearing off the line.

Latics biggest threat came from Tom Pearce’s crosses from the left hand side and their best chance fell to Kyle Joseph but he couldn’t get enough power on his header.

The visitors enjoyed greater possession in the second half but they rarely tested keeper Jamie Jones as the hosts secured a rare point.

Latics remain bottom of the League One table while Bristol are in 21st place.

Leam Richardson returned to the technical area after missing Saturday’s game and made three changes to the starting eleven with Adam Long, Alex Perry and Thelo Aasgaard replacing Emeka Obi, Dan Gardner and Joe Garner. Jamie Jones took over as captain of the team.

In the third minute Pearce’s deep cross caused problems for Rovers keeper Annsi Jaakkola as the ball almost found the top corner.

Pearce then produced a great low cross into the six-yard box but Aasgaard couldn’t quite make the vital contact.

Rovers should have been ahead soon afterwards when Nicholson was clean through but he somehow failed to score with the Rotherham loanee Tilt twice clearing off the goal line.

Latics might have had a penalty on 27 minutes when Chris Merrie was taken out by a high boot but bizarrely referee James Bell awarded a free kick to the visitors.

The hosts best chance came on the stroke of half time when another Pearce cross was flicked on by Aasgaard but Joseph’s header was too tame to trouble Jaakkola.

Bristol had enjoyed greater possession but apart from Nicholson’s chance they hadn’t really posed too many problems for Jamie Jones.

The match continued in a similar vein in the second half with Rovers pressing but Latics creating a few chances on the break.

James’ 30-yard free kick was spilled by Jaakkola but no Latics player could capitalise on the opportunity on 59 minutes.

At the other end Nicholson’s goal bound shot was deflected narrowly wide on 83 minutes as Latics rode their luck a little.

The visitors continued to press forward until the final whistle but they were unable to pose any real threat and Latics’ captain had had a relatively comfortable evening between the sticks.

It had been a hard fought point for Latics with Tilt and Pearce in particular impressing but the overall effort and commitment from a very young team was exemplary.

Latics off the field problems continue however and the EFL must urgently make a decision on the Spanish takeover so that the club can move forward.

Player ratings Bristol Rovers Home Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
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