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21:51 14th April 2010


Frustrating night for Latics who rue missed opportunities



Attendance: 14,166

Report by Paul Chialton

Having dominated the match for large periods Roberto Martinez's men lacked the cutting edge to find a breakthrough and ultimately a winning goal.

The late introductions of Marcelo Moreno and Victor Moses gave Latics a boost and fresh approach going forward, but that all important goal had always eluded them.

The stats will show the lion's-share of possession and gulf in terms of efforts on target, but in reality Jamie Ashdown wasn't troubled nearly enough.

Jason Scotland and James McCarthy were arguably the men who came closest. The Trinidad striker doing well to turn Mark Wilson inside the six-yard box but off-balance unable to poke past the 'keeper.

Moments later Paul Scharner actually had the ball in the back of the net, pouncing on Charles N'Zogbia's low effort, but the replays backed up the linesman's decision of offside.

McCarthy in the second-half managed to open up some space on the edge of the area and squeeze through a low shot that was well saved from Ashdown.

More opportunities presented themselves to the home side but a final ball or piece of creativity was missing to make it count.

On a big positive Steve Gohouri made his first start for Latics partnering Titus Bramble at the back and putting in a superb, gutsy performance. Time after time he denied the strong John Utaka and looked very calm on the ball.

But it's the result that matters and although the team came away with a point it was three they needed. All eyes on Sunday's clash with Arsenal now, a massive encounter.

Kirkland; Melchiot, Bramble, Gohouri, Figueroa; Diame, McCarthy; N'Zogbia, Scharner (Moreno, 57), Rodallega; Scotland (Moses, 88)

Subs: Stojkovic, Boyce, Watson, Sinclair, Sinclair

Pompey: Ashdown; Vanden Borre, Wilson, Rocha (Sowah, 46), Ritchie (Piquionne, 79); Utaka, Brown, Basinas, Bouba Diop, Ward; Smith

Subs: Pack, Yebda

    Data provided by Press Association