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17:29 20th August 2011


Latics remain unbeaten but penalty miss brings one point instead of three


Watson misses pen 73 

By Paul Chialton

Ben Watson's missed penalty 15 minutes from time denied a satisfactory point at the Liberty Stadium turning into three, after a hard-fought encounter against Swansea City.

In a frenetic couple of minutes Latics had the home defence on the back-foot when Victor Moses twisted inside the area around Stephen Caulker before firing against the cross-bar - pouncing on the loose ball former Swan Jordi Gomez got ahead of Ashley Williams and drew the foul inside the area, giving referee Phil Dowd an easy decision.

But the man who is usually so reliable from 12-yards couldn't repeat what he did seven days earlier against Norwich City, Michel Vorm guessing correctly and getting down well to the left to palm clear.

It was the big chance the game had been building towards, but moments earlier Latics had come just as close to taking the lead from a moment of invention from Gomez; linking with Di Santo on the edge the Spaniard spotted Vorm off his line and attempted a delicate lob over the 'keeper but saw his effort rebound off the far post - it was just to be one of those days.

Brendan Rodgers' side will frustrate teams in the Premier League this season with their patient build-up play and ability to dictate the tempo, but although they made a confident start to home life in the top-flight Latics did well to grow into the game and gradually apply pressure of their own.

It was a frustrating first 45 minutes for Roberto Martinez's side upon the Gaffer's return to his former club, Franco Di Santo worked hard up-front alone and carved out a half-chance for himself shortly before the break; his low shot from the edge of the area fired straight at Michel Vorm.

Earlier, Antolin Alcaraz was forced off through injury upon his first appearance of the season and it's unclear how long the Paraguayan will be absent for.

Moses and Gomez tested Vorm before the break but neither effort really troubled the Dutch 'keeper, whilst at the other end Ali Al Habsi was as quiet - his only real test coming after the break when Stephen Dobbie curled one to the left corner which the Omani international did very well to parry.

After the break Latics looked more dangerous and purposeful going forwards, resulting in Watson's penalty chance and the woodwork being hit twice.

The last chances fizzled out for both sides in a game where two teams who follow the same footballing beliefs probably cancelled each other out.

For Latics the draw maintains their unbeaten run in the opening weeks of the new season, continuing their strong finish to last season which now means Martinez's side are unbeaten in six.

Latics: Al Habsi, Alcaraz (Stam, 37), McCarthy (McArthur, 64), Caldwell, Watson, Di Santo (Rodallega, 70), Moses, Gomez, Boyce, Diame, Figueroa.

Subs: Pollitt, Thomas, Jones, Sammon

Swansea: Vorm, Williams, Taylor, Caulker, Britton (Allen, 75), Graham (Lita, 84), Sinclair, Dyer, Routledge (Dobbie, 75), Rangel, Agustien.

Subs: Moreira, Tate, Moore, Gower
    Data provided by Press Association