The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Mark Davies

WI­GAN’S in­terim man­ager Gra­ham Bar­row re­fused to be down­beat de­spite a goal­less draw at home to Cardiff City, a re­sult which al­most cer­tainly seals rel­e­ga­tion and a re­turn to League One.

The hosts can take heart from a spir­ited dis­play against the Blue­birds, but in re­al­ity it was the lack of cut­ting edge up front which not only cost them over the course of these 90 min­utes, but across the sea­son as a whole.

“I think we played well, it’s one of our bet­ter per­for­mances this sea­son,” Bar­row said.

“We needed to score in the first 20 to 25 min­utes to win this game.

“We had all of the ball and had a few de­cent open­ings but we just couldn’t get that goal.

“It’s dis­ap­point­ing to not have it in our hands. If re­sults go our way we can take it to the last game of the sea­son, so that’s the hope now.

“We’ve got to take ev­ery day as it comes and see where we are. If what could hap­pen hap­pens, then we need to deal with that but look­ing for­ward, I’m op­ti­mistic.”

In a scrappy game, it was the hosts who set­tled first, de­fender Craig Mor­gan head­ing a Jamie Hanson cor­ner wide on 12 min­utes.

The Latics felt they should have been awarded a penalty shortly af­ter as Shaun MacDon­ald burst into the area and went down un­der a chal­lenge, but the ref­eree waved play on, much to the an­noy­ance of the home faith­ful.

It was the home side who con­tin­ued to probe their vis­i­tors. Reece Burke found him­self 20 yards out fol­low­ing a good run, but his shot was drilled just wide be­fore Mor­gan, a for­mer Wales in­ter­na­tional who seemed in­tent on net­ting, fired over from close range af­ter good work by Michael Ja­cobs on 34 min­utes.

De­spite be­ing sec­ond best to ev­ery­thing, it was Cardiff who nearly went in at the break in front. Craig Noone took ad­van­tage of a snooz­ing Wi­gan back-line, but he hit the bar from eight yards out when it looked eas­ier to score.

The vis­i­tors saw more of the ball in the sec­ond half, but it was still Wi­gan, des­per­ate to re­main in the divi­sion, who looked like­li­est to score. MacDon­ald’s goal­bound ef­fort was hooked clear on the hour mark.

Back came Cardiff, not here to make up the num­bers. Aron Gun­nars­son headed to­wards goal and Bruno Manga looked destined to bundle it in from point-blank range, but the de­fender fluffed his lines when it counted most.

Ryan Col­clough, on as a sec­ond­half sub­sti­tute, came clos­est for Wi­gan, but his long-range ef­fort was com­fort­able for Ben Amos as the game pe­tered out to a draw, a re­sult which City man­ager Neil Warnock felt was fair.

“We were never go­ing to come here and roll over, and I think the draw is prob­a­bly the right re­sult,” he said.

“I think they (Wi­gan) ac­cepted they were down out there, they were a bit des­per­ate and were get­ting frus­trated. I felt it from their fans, I think they’d ac­cepted they were down as well.

“We were hop­ing to come here and do a favour to the other teams in and around them in the rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle.

“I couldn’t fault any­one in our back five in this game, we didn’t re­ally give them any­thing which is pleas­ing. A bit more qual­ity at the other end and we might have been able to take all three points.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HEAD TO HEAD: Wi­gan’s Nick Pow­ell and Cardiff’s Sean Mor­ri­son fight it out

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