Points shared at Highbury as Latics draw 0-0 with Fleetwood Town.
- Latics kick off cup campaign with a point.
- Chow and Flores come close to winners.
- Fleetwood prove stiff competition.
FLEETWOOD TOWN 0
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
It finished a point each at Highbury Stadium in Latics’ first group stage game of the Final Third Development League Cup as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Fleetwood Town.
Looking to kick off their defence of the cup with a win, Latics came close on a number of occasions, particularly in the second half, but Lee Nicholls had to remain on his toes as too, in a close fought game.
It was also a good test for Latics’ young back four which was made up of Under 18 players Luke Burke, Adam Anson, Mayowa Balogun and Reece McNally, as they tackled the experience of Fleetwood’s Jeff Hughes and Matty Blair throughout the first half.
The defence held up well to deny the hosts in the first half, with a number of telling blocks from Balogun and some solid defensive headers from Anson to deny Fleetwood from set pieces.
Latics were the side with the first threat though, when Grant Holt headed behind from Joey Johnson’s cross down the left side, a difficult one for the striker to adjust.
Fleetwood won a number of corners in the first half and had the set piece advantage through the 45 minutes, but again it was Latics who carved out a real opportunity.
This time Tim Chow backed himself from distance, firing right footed towards the top right corner, only for Scott Davies to reach across and push the ball behind for a corner.
Two minutes later a shooting chance opened up for Blair down Fleetwood’s right, as he cut inside to step beyond McNally, only to see his left footed effort blocked by Balogun.
From the resulting corner Lee Nicholls was called into action, getting down well to his right hold onto Tom Davies’ solid headed effort.
A flurry of yellow cards followed with Jordan Flores, Declan Poole and Fleetwood’s Danny Andrew all cautioned for trips.
Latics carved out a late chance in the first half when Jennings headed Flores’ cross just over the cross bar, but it was followed up by some pressure from Fleetwood, who forced a solid stop from Nicholls’ legs.
The steady start from both sides in the first 45 minutes bred confidence and Latics flew out of the blocks, winning an early corner, only for Holt’s volley to be blocked as it headed goalwards.
Fleetwood grew into the second half well, forcing Nicholls into some quick thinking, as the goalkeeper ran out quickly to smother the ball at Blair’s feet, with the forward in a good position to score.
Nicholls’ followed it up with a good low save from headed chance, just before Latics carved out the best two chances of the game.
Holt held up a cross from the right under pressure, he looked to be dragged down but no penalty was the call from the referee as Flores followed the ball in, smashing a left footed effort towards the top corner, only for Davies to leap up and get a hand to it to deny an opening goal.
The ball immediately fell to Chow on the edge of the area, but this time Latics were denied by a man of the line, as the midfielder’s shot cannoned off a Fleetwood head.
It became end-to-end for a spell, and with renewed energy both sides looked confident of securing a little bit more than just one point, Jennings unfortunately having a long range attempt deflected wide for corner.
Latics made two changes in quick succession, with even more energy added as Louis Robles and James Barrigan were introduced, but Fleetwood would not be broken as a point each was the final outcome.
Fleetwood: S.Davies, Wright, Andrew, Murdoch, Roberts, T.Davies, Blair (Forbes 87), J.Hughes, Allen, Haughton (Smith 85), M.Hughes
Unused Subs: Lucas, Williams, Muscat
Latics: Nicholls, Burke, McNally (Robles 72), Poole, Anson, Balogun, Jennings (Barrigan 74), Chow, Holt, Johnson, Flores
Unused Subs: Keane, Cvetkovic, Gregory