BLUNT LATICS GET SINKING FEELING
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.”
HEAD TO HEAD: Wigan’s Nick Powell and Cardiff’s Sean Morrison fight it out