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14:06 25th February 2012


Latics can't find winner as Villa hang on



Report by Nick Taylor

As Wigan Athletic looked to extend their positive run of games, Aston Villa came to the DW Stadium and frustrated the hosts.

Latics pushed and pushed to open the scoring but, with no clear cut chances and penalty claims turned down there was only going to be one result.

Franco Di Santo came closest to a winner late on but, Shay Given stood in his way and left the Argentine striker with his head in his hands.

Roberto Martinez named an unchanged side from the 2-1 win away at Bolton Wanderers.

The home side played with fluidity in transition from defence to midfield but, the final ball or lucky bounce didn't go Latics way.

The first chance of the game fell to Latics as Gary Caldwell found space at the back post from a corner but, his volley didn't drop in time as it went just over the cross bar.

Latics were at it again on eight minutes when Victor Moses and Jean Beausejour linked up down the left hand side only for the latter's cross to be missed by both James McCarthy and Emmerson Boyce who got in the way of each other.

It started a theme for the first half for the home side as they continued to create space down the left.

Beausejour had acres of room each time as he whipped ball after ball into the box but, the defensive duo of Carlos Cuellar and James Collins held firm to keep Latics out.

Latics had clearly rattled the visitors as both Collins and Mark Albrighton received bookings before half time.

After the break it was a similar story as more and more Villa players got booked and more and more Latics chances went begging.

On 56 minutes came three penalty claims from the Latics crowd and players.

Di Santo battled away to scramble the ball into the net after making his way into the box.

He tried to cut the ball back only to be met by two Villa players, the ball bouncing up off one and seemingly hitting Barry Bannan's arm.

Di Santo continued to hit the ball but, his shots met two blocks and the fans were claiming a penalty but, to no avail.

The game was looking like Latics to take and with seven minutes of added time due to treatment for a Darren Bent injury, Di Santo almost wrapped up all three points.

Di Santo swivelled at the front post, connecting well with the ball but, the right hand of Given gave Latics only a point to savour.

The draw for Latics means they remain 20th in the Barclays Premier League, drawing level with Bolton Wanderers on goal difference, just a point away from 17th.

Wigan Athletic: Al Habsi, Alcaraz, McCarthy (Diame 79), Caldwell (c), Di Santo, Moses (Crusat 89), Gomez (Rodallega 65), McArthur, Boyce, Beausejour, Figueroa.
Unused subs: Kirkland, Watson, Jones, Stam.

Aston Villa: Given, Hutton, Collins, Warnock, Bent (N'Zogbia 79), Agbonlahor (c), Albrighton (Heskey 70), Keane, Cuellar, Bannan, Gardner (Ireland 74).
Unused subs: Guzan, Weimann, Herd, Baker.

    Data provided by Press Association