A much-changed Wigan Athletic fought out a dour 0-0 draw with Fleetwood Town at the DW Stadium.
The hosts looked solid defensively with new signings George Johnston and Corey Whelan making their debuts in defence but the forwards had an off-day and lacked a cutting edge.
The visitors had two good first half opportunities with Paddy Madden heading over from the edge of the six-yard box and then later firing straight at Jamie Jones from a good position.
Latics best opportunity in the first half fell to new signing Zach Clough but the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder’s shot was narrowly wide of the target.
The hosts had the better chances in the second half with Kyle Joseph forcing a good save from Alex Cairns and Tom Pearce blazing over from close range when a cutback might haver resulted in a goal.
Latics were unable to grab the three points which would have taken them out of the League One relegation zone and remain in 22nd place, one point from safety. Fleetwood remain in 12th place.
Leam Richardson was able to name three new signings in his starting eleven with Clough, Johnston and Whelan making their debuts. Jamie Jones returned in goal but Will Keane was unavailable after testing positive to COVID-19.
In a scrappy opening to the game neither team settled on a difficult pitch.
Pearce fired across goal on 19 minutes after a good break before Madden twice went close for the visitors.
The Fleetwood captain got between two of Latics’ defenders on 22 minutes but his header was too high to trouble Jones.
Four minutes later Madden found himself in plenty of space at the back post following Shayden Morris’s cross but his drive from the angle was straight at Jones who saved easily.
Dan Gardner fired inches wide of the post on 29 minutes when he cut inside from the left after linking up with Pearce.
Pearce was proving to be Latics biggest threat when driving forward down the left-hand side and his cross on 34 minutes evaded everyone in the six-yard box.
Latics best chance of the half came when Gardner cut the ball back to Clough ten-yards out but the midfielder placed his shot narrowly wide of the post with the goal at his mercy.
Pearce produced another tantalising cross from the left on 43 minutes but Callum Lang couldn’t quite make contact at the back post.
It was another scrappy opening to the second half as both teams lacked any real cohesion.
Tendayi Darikwa was having an impressive home debut down the right and he did superbly to get to the by-line before chipping to the back post but no Latics player could take advantage on 67 minutes.
Latics were having a good spell now and Gardner’s deep cross found Lang at the back post but the striker’s shot was saved by Cairns from a tight angle.
Gardner then crossed for Joseph who turned smartly inside the box but his right foot shot was well saved by the Fleetwood keeper on 69 minutes.
Joseph then blazed over the crossbar from the angle after being set up by Clough on 75 minutes.
Latics best chance came in the 90th minute when Pearce blazed his shot over the crossbar from close range instead of cutting the ball back to Thelo Aasgaard who was in a much better position.
Five minutes of added time but no further chances and the game ended goal-less.
Richardson will be pleased that Latics are now five games unbeaten and despite all the off-the-field machinations they are looking capable of avoiding relegation.
The new defensive pairing of Whelan and man of the match Johnston was very impressive and augurs well for the future.
Latics’ forwards have been in great form recently but today they lacked the killer instinct. Clough is not yet match fit and despite some flashes of creativity he was unable to make a telling impact. Will Keane was sorely missed and the unsettling transfer talk around Joseph may well have affected his performance.