Honours even in Festive Draw
DW Stadium, Wigan
It was fitting that a local derby between two teams whose towns were at the forefront the heart of the industrial revolution should serve up a game high in industry and effort but low in flair.
Wigan reverted to Jason Scotland as the lone striker and placed Rodallega on the left wing moving N'zogbia back to the right wing and pairing Gomez with Scharner in the centre of midfield with Thomas playing just behind them.
Wigan looked the sharper side and once again the creative flair came fron N'Zogbia, the diminutive Frenchman led the Rovers defence a merry dance and is surely pivotal in Martinez's attempts to keep Wigan in the Premier League.
Latics almost took an early lead, when a misdirected abck header had Paul Robinson scrambling back to just catch the ball before it went in the net.
As its pantomine season there had to be a villan and Pascal chimbonda filled the role being booed and verbally abused everytime he touched the ball. Gael Givet tried to take this role however with some fierce tackles which would have resulted in yellow cards from many other referees.
Latics looked comfortable when in possession but still looked uncertain at the back and it didnt surprise anyone when the defence that had conceeded 38 goals in 17 games allowed another one into the net.
A Keith Andrews free kick on the left was met by the head of Nelsen, his header found the unmarked Mc Carthy who shot into the net past the static Wigan defence with a hint off offside hanging in the air.
Latics almost hit back immeadiately when a cross from N'Zogbia found Scharner unmarked in the centre of penalty area but the big Austrian headed wide when it seemed easier to score.
Latics continued to push forward but Gomez and Scotland both fired over from good positions.
The second half saw a change of tactics with Rodallega reverting to his favoured postion of centre forward with Scotland playing just behind him. N'Zogbia reverted to his natural left wing role and Gomez was shunted out onto the right wing.
This seemed to give Wigan more of a pattern and they pushed forward in search of an equiliser.
The equiliser when it came unsurprisngly had the name of N'Zogbia as the architect. The Frenchman crossed and Rodallega found the net with a powerful header.
This gave Wigan added impetus and Scharner burst from midfield and with men on either side off him ,selfishly tried to go all the way on his own and was easily robbed of possession.
Jason Scotland hasn't scored for Wigan all season and must wonder when he will, as two good chances were spurned by the Trinidadian. THe first shot was easily saved by Robinson and the second when unmarked was a scuffed shot, again easily collected by the ex England keeper.
Allerdyce tried to freshen things up ,bringing on Jacobsen, Roberts and Pedersen in quick succession and indeed the ex Wigan player along with Mc Carthy caused problems in the Wigan defence, resultig in a reflex wonder save by Kirkland from the South African.
The last twenty minutes were end to end and both sides could have stolen an ill deserved victory. Bramble had to be particulary alert, clearing off the line with Kirkland stranded .
In the end a draw was a fair result but a look at the Wigan bench gives a clear indication of the work needed in the transfer window to strengthen the squad.
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