Bolton 0 Wigan 0: Relegation rivals toil and still in trouble after stalemate

18 February 2010 02:02
They called this one off in December because of icy conditions madeit unsafe for spectators, but it was the pitch that caused most concernlast night.

It has suffered dreadfully from over-use after the harsh winter and cut up badly from the start, making for an awful contest between two teams scrapping for survival.

And this was the first of five games in 18 days here. Heaven knows what it will look like at the end of the month.

Arms race: Wigan's James McCarthy battles with Matthew Taylor of Bolton

'The pitch isn't ideal at this level,' said Bolton manager Owen Coyle (below). 'This is the best league in the world and the surface wasn't conducive to free-flowing football.

'I'm sure Roberto Martinez won't be best pleased that it doesn't help him in what he's trying to do at Wigan. Both teams did their utmost to make it a real Premier League game but it's always going to be difficult if there is rugby league being played.'

A draw suited neither side. Bolton are still in the bottom three, Coyle is still without an away win in the Premier League since bringing Burnley up in the summer and Wigan are still looking over their shoulders despite moving up two places with this point.

Under pessure: Wigan keeper Chris Kirkland clears despite challenge from Johan Elmander

HEADER HEREMATCH FACTSW IGAN (4-4-2): Kirkland 6; Melchiot 5, Bramble 6 (Scotland 51, 6), Caldwell 7, Figueroa 6; Diame 6, McCarthy 6, Scharner 6, N'Zogbia 8; Rodallega 6, Moreno 5 (Moses 80).

BOLTON (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen 6; Steinsson 5, Knight 5, Ricketts 6, Robinson 5; Lee 7 (Weiss 70, 6), Muamba 5, Gardner 6 (Cohen 84), Taylor 6 (Wilshere 87); K Davies 7, Elmander 6. Booked: Muamba.

Man of the match: Charles N'Zogbia.Referee: Howard Webb.

They have now scored just three goals in their last six games andMartinez's attempts to end that run by giving Marcelo Moreno a fulldebut had little effect, with the Bolivian striker on loan fromShakhtar Donetsk struggling to make an impression.

Wigan came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 20th minute whenCharles N'Zogbia left Paul Robinson trailing as he cut inside from theleft and the Frenchman's effort, scooped off his left foot as he lost balance inside the area, beat Jussi Jaaskelainen but rebounded off a post.

Hugo Rodallega also went close twice in the second half, meeting Mario Melchiot's cross from the right with a firm header just past the post before trying his luck with an overhead kick, but Coyle felt his side had the better of the chances with three of them falling to Matt Taylor.

Highlight: Wigan's Hugo Rodallega attempts an overhead kick over Sam Ricketts

The Scot has just one win in seven League games since succeeding GaryMegson last month, although four of those have been against Arsenal(twice), Liverpool and Manchester City.

Wigan's record is even worse and it is unlikely to improve on this pitch. Martinez said: 'There's no hiding it, it's really bad and it affectsthe way we play. But there's nothing we can do about it. Every point isimportant. We need to continue this standard in the hope we get a break.'

 Martinez set to pass over Moses for Bolton as he eases him into top flightLennon losing battle for Wigan clash and faces race against time for England


Source: Daily_Mail