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20:09 7th May 2011


Latics claim another vital point, held at Villa Park

A. Young 17

N'Zogbia 10

Wigan Athletic picked up another important point in their bid for Premier League survival, held to a 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

Charles N'Zogbia had put Latics into an early lead, latching onto Victor Moses' through-ball before slotting coolly past Brad Friedel. The build-up from Moses was excellent, holding off two challenges before slipping in the Frenchman, and he gave a solid performance replacing Mohamed Diame.

However the lead didn't last long when Villa were awarded free-kick 30-yards out following Ben Watson's foul on Ashley Young. The winger stepped up to bend one round the wall and into the bottom right corner, a good finish.

The first-half came to a scrappy end with neither side able to mount a serious push to go ahead and former Latics front-man Emile Heskey lucky to escape a red card having shoulder-barged referee Mike Jones in contesting a decision.

Into the second 45-minutes and the game opened up, presenting chances to both sides to grab the winning-goal.

Hugo Rodallega came close with just over ten minutes to go, chesting down Franco Di Santo's flicked ball before holding off Richard Dunne and squeezing a shot towards the bottom right corner, only to see it trickle a yard wide.

Ali Al Habsi, who had previously denied Heskey with a fantastic reflex save, then produced a save that may well prove crucial in Latics' run-in. Darren Bent was fed through on goal down the middle, aimed for goal but was denied by the Omani 'keeper who stood tall to block the England striker's effort. A massive save from the man who has time and again stepped up to save the day.

He was guarded by a solid defence who were often under pressure but read the game well to halt the likes of Steward Downing and Marc Albrighton having any joy on the wings.

Antolin Alcaraz was impressive in possession, always calm and getting his head up to create going forwards. He almost gave Latics the lead moments before the break, cutting inside James Collins and firing with his left-foot - blocked by the diving Richard Dunne.

In the end neither side could find the killer-touch to claim three points, but for Latics another assured performance and a good point will give them confidence ahead of next weekend's crucial clash with West Ham United.

Latics: Al Habsi; Boyce, G. Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa; Watson, McCarthy; Moses (McArthur, 82), N'Zogbia (Di Santo, 70), Cleverley; Rodallega

Subs: Kirkland, Gohouri, Thomas, Gomez, Sammon

Aston Villa: Friedel; L. Young, Dunne, Collins, Walker; Downing, Petrov, Reo-Coker, A. Young; Bent, Heskey (Albrighton, 45)

Subs: Marshall, Pires, Bradley, Delfouneso, Delph, Cuellar

    Data provided by Press Association