Wigan 0 Reading 0

  • By: Martyn Ziegler, PA Chief Sports Reporter
  • Last Updated: October 8 2012, 18:52 BST

Reading showed some true grit to maintain a precarious hold on their Barclays Premier Premier status.

Heskey and Duberry battle for the ball.

But both Wigan and Reading would view this as a missed opportunity - especially after other results meant that it is very much 'as you were' in the relegation struggle.

The thrills of those other games involving clubs near the bottom were conspicuous by their absence and this was an advert for the worst the Premier League has to offer.

Neither side was prepared to commit players forward in numbers, movement off the ball was minimal, the passing was poor and not helped by the bumpy pitch and there were far too many hopeful long balls.

Wigan boss Steve Bruce, needing a victory to ensure top-flight football next season, made just a single change to his line-up with Jason Koumas starting and he looked the best player on the pitch.

Marcus Hahnemann had barely finished his pre-match prayers in the Reading goalmouth before Koumas surged past Andre Bikey and tried his luck from 25 yards but he was stretching and the shot sailed over.

Koumas was also involved in the seventh minute when Marcus Bent headed his corner against the post, before Wigan threatened again with Wilson Palacios sending a wickedly curving shot just wide.

Reading by contrast struggled to overcome their nerves in the opening exchanges.

Their passing was at times woeful and when Leroy Lita, recalled from his loan spell at Charlton, did head on to allow Kevin Doyle a clear shot his volley was hopeless.

Doyle was at least getting into good positions and when Stephen Hunt picked him out again at the far post his volley this time was better but still off target.

With less than 25 minutes gone Bruce was forced into a change with skipper Mario Melchiot limping off and Ryan Taylor coming on.

Koumas continued to look the only person with the craft to open up the opposing side and his dangerous cross was headed out only as far as Palacios who thumped a volley wide.

The second half began at a completely different tempo with Hahnemann first tipping over Michael Brown's rising drive and then Emile Heskey sending a powerful header wide from the resulting corner.

Reading also appear energised by the break and Liam Rosenior claimed his header at the far post had been handled before Wigan cleared.

The tackles began to warm up too. Bikey was booked for felling Palacios before Taylor also found himself cautioned for stopping Dave Kitson in his tracks.

Lita tricked his way past Emmerson Boyce then rolled an inviting cross across the goalmouth but such was Reading's lack of enterprise that there was no-one there even challenging for the ball.

Hahnemann had to get down smartly to prevent Brown's heavily-deflected shot creeping in, then at the other end Michael Duberry somehow managed to allow Chris Kirkland to claim his point-blank header.

With 15 minutes left Taylor pulled off a tremendous block to prevent Kitson putting the visitors ahead. Koumas could have intensified the agony for Reading but he missed the target from a tempting position.

Kitson then proved decisive at the other end to deny Wigan after Paul Scharner had almost bundled Taylor's corner across the line.

In injury time substitute Marlon King came close to a Wigan winner but Hahnemann turned aside his fierce strike to secure a deserved point for the visitors.

Teams:

Wigan Kirkland, Melchiot (Taylor 26), Boyce, Scharner, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Palacios, Koumas, Heskey (King 73), Bent (Sibierski 64).

Subs Not Used: Pollitt, Skoko.

Booked: Taylor, Kilbane.

Reading Hahnemann, Rosenior, Ingimarsson, Duberry, Shorey, Doyle (Little 69), Harper, Bikey, Hunt, Lita (Long 85), Kitson.

Subs Not Used: Federici, Cisse, Matejovsky.

Booked: Shorey, Hunt, Bikey, Duberry.

Att: 19,043

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).