Wigan battled to a hard fought goaless draw against an attacking Doncaster side this afternoon and will be thankful for the shot stopping of O’Donnell and the prolificacy in front of goal of the Rovers strikers to ensure that they didn’t leave the pitch with another defeat.
Gary Caldwell made three changes to the side which narrowly lost in the cup to Bury in midweek with the return to the starting eleven of McCann, Kenny and Junior taking the pales of Daniels, Odelusi and Flores.
Both sides started playing with expansive games, Wigan lining up with a back four with the full backs pushing forwards at every opportunity. Wigan were almost undone within ninety seconds when a good through ball from Wellens saw Williams beat the static central Wigan defenders and fed Forrester but he dragged his shot wide.
The game was governed by its midfield battle with Perkin, Power and Junior versus Wellens Forrester and Coppinger being worth the entry money alone. Both sides attacked and counter attacked with Wigan’s best effort a free kick from Jacobs which forced Stuckmann to tip the ball over the bar although the referee perversely ruled a goal kick.
Doncaster had the best of the chances with both Wellens and Williams being thwarted by excellent saves from O’Donnell and a fair shout for a penalty when Coppinger was brought down by James, the referee however waved away the Doncaster protestations
Half time saw both teams troop off with honours even although Wigan must surely have been the more relieved with that scoreline such as the catalog of wasted Rovers chances .
Any hope that the half time break would give Wigan the impetus to push for a victory
were quickly dispelled as Rovers tore into Wigan with Morgan and Barnett having a torrid time of it and the away side won corner after corner which Wigan struggled to clear. From one such corner MacKenzie headed goal bound but his effort was superbly cleared off the line by Perkins.
Wigan had introduced loanees Coulthirst and Murray with the former surprisingly playing in a midfield role, pushing forwards in support the ever toiling Grigg but even the Spurs man’s pace and guile wasn’t enough to create a shot on goal. Wigan did manage to hit the bar however although Grigg’s effort was more of a mishit cross. Wigan were unlucky in the later stages not to be awarded a penalty when Power burst through into the penalty area and was brought down but unbelievably the referee waved away the claims..
Full time followed soon afterwards with both sides having to be satisfied with a point from what was an entertaining game although both sides will no doubt feel aggrieved at not being awarded a penalty.
Team Line up and Player Ratings (4-4-1-1)
O’Donnell….7, distribution poor but redeemed himself with some fine saves.
James………..6, competent without ever threatening.
Morgan…….6, poor first half, better second
Barnett…….5, poor throughout
Kenny……..6, worked hard pushing forwards when possible
Perkins……7, here, there and everywhere, fine goaline clearance
Jacobs……7, unlucky not to score with a fine free kick
Junior……7, tried to drive the team forwards, withdrawn
Power……8, MOM, the creative hub of the team
McCann…6, looked more comfortable in midfield, withdrawn
Grigg……..6, an isolated figure upfront
Coulthirst……6.5, showed some attacking flair
Murray………..6, little impact
Entertainment rating 6/10, both sides went for it but lacked the finishing touch