Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Wigan and Bolton play out scoreless draw

Wigan 0 Bolton 0

Charles N'Zogbia hit the post as derby relegation rivals Wigan and Bolton fought out a drab goalless draw tonight.

Wigan forward N'Zogbia went the closest of either side to settling a scrappy Barclays Premier League encounter after a smart run early in the first half.

The point was enough to lift both struggling sides up places in the table - Wigan to 14th and Bolton 18th - but both may rue missed opportunities to break the deadlock in a game of few chances.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez again kept new signing Victor Moses waiting for his first start but did hand a full debut to on-loan Bolivian forward Marcelo Moreno.

With in-form James McCarthy also proving his fitness to feature, Wigan hoped to take the game to their rivals but Bolton proved predictably dogged opponents.

Kevin Davies and Johan Elmander offered a threat for Bolton up front but both were frustrated in their efforts.

The rearranged match, postponed in December due to wintry weather, was never destined to be a classic on another freezing cold night that saw snow greet kick-off.

The combination of both sides' desperation for points and the battered pitch suggested a scrappy encounter from the start.

And so it proved with the early stages setting the tone for an attritional affair.

Lee Chung-Yong briefly looked dangerous on the Bolton right and twice delivered testing crosses.

The first was just diverted away from Davies by McCarthy and the second resulted in a shot into the stand by Ricardo Gardner.

Hugo Rodallega had Wigan's first opening but Jussi Jaaskelainen rushed out to meet him.

N'Zogbia almost opened the scoring with the first moment of real quality in the match. The England-qualified Frenchman brilliantly cut inside two defenders after 20 minutes but his curling effort clipped the post.

Bolton striker Elmander then found space outside the Wigan area but shot wide of the target.

McCarthy turned neatly to create a chance for Wigan but Jaaskelainen was not troubled by his shot.

Play switched to the other end again with Lee breaking clear but this time Gary Caldwell headed his cross behind for a corner.

Rodallega twice failed to make the most of openings close to half-time.

The Colombian dwelt too long after a superb ball into the box from Titus Bramble and he again failed to shoot after Mohamed Diame picked up the attack.

McCarthy also had a shot blocked as Bolton scrambled clear.

Elmander exploited space down the right early in the second half but his cross was turned into the side-netting by Caldwell.

Martinez opted to introduce more firepower after 51 minutes by replacing defender Bramble with striker Jason Scotland.

Rodallega headed wide from an N'Zogbia cross but the game generally remained scrappy as both sides struggled to make the breakthrough.

It was some time before either side created another opportunity, it finally coming when Fabrice Muamba shot wide from distance after 67 minutes.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle attempted to break the stalemate by introducing on-loan Manchester City midfielder Vladimir Weiss and the move almost paid off instantly.

Davies and Elmander both headed on a long ball and Weiss came rushing in to shoot narrowly wide with his first touch.

Elmander then played Matt Taylor in on goal moments later but he also failed to hit the target.

Martinez decided to throw Moses into action with 11 minutes remaining but it was Rodallega who next threatened from an overhead kick that flew over.

Chris Kirkland then blocked a Davies effort and Taylor again shot wide when well placed.

N'Zogbia burst forward as Wigan tried to finish with a flourish but Rodallega shot into the side-netting with two minutes remaining.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre