Wigan 0 Aston Villa 0

  • By: Ian Parkes, PA Sport
  • Last Updated: October 8 2012, 20:30 BST

Wigan were involved in their first goalless Premiership match at the 50th time of asking as they fought out a stalemate against Aston Villa.

Agbonlahor bids to escape from Wright.

The last time the Latics were involved in a scoreless league encounter was in April 2005, against QPR in the Coca-Cola Championship.

A point ended a run of four successive wins for manager Paul Jewell's side, while Villa are fast becoming the away draw specialists, with this their fifth in seven games on the road.

Prior to this game the two sides had each only failed to score in one previous Premiership game.

It was perhaps inevitable this encounter would finish scoreless, and though the woodwork was rattled twice, that was as close as either side came to clinching the three points.

It all began so brightly as well, with Wigan almost living up to their new-found reputation as the fastest starters in the Premiership.

A quarter of all Wigan's goals ahead of this match - four of 16 - had arrived in the opening five minutes, and on this occasion they were nearly ahead after 48 seconds.

Henri Camara provided a perfect far-post cross from the right wing for Lee McCulloch, in attack with record signing Emile Heskey out due to a persistent calf injury.

McCulloch's angled header from inside the six-yard box was parried by Thomas Sorensen, with the Scotland international only able to spoon his attempt to latch onto the rebound into the air.

It signalled a dominant first 30 minutes from Wigan as the closing 15 petered out to what proved a welcome interval.

Before that, Paul Scharner curled a 20-yard right-footed shot a yard wide in the third minute as the Latics put Villa's defence under intense pressure.

The visiting rearguard, a significantly tighter unit this season under O'Neill, were forced to weather the storm of a barrage of crosses from both flanks.

But much was wasteful, with Jewell's side failing to take full advantage of the supremacy they were enjoying.

Due of that, Villa were forced to rely on counter-attacks, with their chances few and far between, although they ironically came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half in the 13th minute.

After the Latics failed to clear their lines, the ball fell to Peter Whittingham for a first-time 20-yard shot that clipped the outside of the right-hand post.

McCulloch then snapped a right-foot effort wide from the edge of the area soon after, while Scharner looped a header over the bar from six yards in the 20th minute.

McCulloch was again unfortunate a few minutes later, heading over from eight yards after Gary Teale had supplied the cross courtesy of fine approach play from skipper Arjan de Zeeuw and Camara.

Wigan were flying at that stage, but in being denied a certain free-kick on the right wing in the 32nd minute when Wilfred Bouma fouled Teale, it led to a breakaway that almost proved costly.

Captain Gareth Barry, recovered from a back strain, and Juan Pablo Angel combined to play in Chris Sutton, but his curling 20-yard

effort cleared the angle of bar and post.

At least, after the respite at the end of the first period, the start to the second was all action as both sides had chances to get on the scoresheet.

Initially, right-back Emmerson Boyce played a low cross into the heart of the area where a diving Isaiah Osbourne spectacularly attempted to clear.

However, the ball spun off his head and hit the inside of the right-hand post before Liam Ridgewell cleared the danger.

Within a minute another incisive delivery, this time from Josip Skoko, was played in behind the Villa defence where Scharner was left with just Sorensen to beat.

The Austrian's first touch was poor, however, allowing Sorensen time to close down and push wide the midfielder's flicked effort.

Not to be outdone, Villa soon countered in the 52nd minute, with Sutton playing in Barry for a 15-yard drive that fizzed over the crossbar.

A 60th-minute clash of heads between Scharner and Gary Cahill, which lead to both requiring treatment, disrupted the rhythm of the game at that stage.

Although Wigan resumed their dominance and continued to pepper the Villa area with more crosses, the visiting defence stayed resolute.

It allowed them a degree of pressure in the dying stages, but it was all frantic and frenetic, with little quality.

Teams

Wigan Kirkland, Boyce, De Zeeuw, Jackson, Wright,Teale (Cotterill 76), Skoko (Landzaat 78), Scharner, Kilbane,Camara, McCulloch.

Subs Not Used: Filan, Johansson, Webster.

Booked: Jackson.

Aston Villa Sorensen, Mellberg, Cahill, Ridgewell, Bouma, Agbonlahor, Osbourne, Barry, Whittingham (Agathe 51), Sutton, Angel (Davis 67).

Subs Not Used: Taylor, Baros, Berger.

Att: 18,455

Ref: S Bennett (Kent).