WIGAN ATHLETIC 0 DONCASTER ROVERS 0
Wigan Athletic started their home campaign in League One with a point, after an entertaining draw with Doncaster Rovers at the DW Stadium.
Both sides had their chances to win an open game, with Michael Jacobs going closest for the hosts with a free-kick that hit the bar in the first half, but both sides will feel a point was a fair outcome.
Latics boss Gary Caldwell made three changes to the side which lost in the cup on Tuesday night, with Jonjoe Kenny, Francisco Junior and Chris McCann coming back into the side in place of Donervon Daniels, Jordan Flores and Sanmi Odelusi.
Caldwell’s men made a good start to the contest and gave opposition keeper Thorsten Stuckmann something to think about in the second minute, when Francisco Junior produced a nice turn on the left hand side of the area before shooting wide.
Junior was partnered in midfield by Max Power, and both caught the eye with their play and confidence in possession throughout the game.
Latics continued their good start in the ninth minute, when Michael Jacobs shot wide after good play between him, Will Grigg and Junior in a flowing move forward.
The hosts were on top early on, and almost took the lead two minutes later in fortuitous circumstances, when Reece James’ ball from the left hand side took a wild deflection from Gary MacKenzie and forced Stuckmann into a save.
Wigan Athletic continued to have the better of an even contest in the opening exchanges, and produced their best chance of the game after 17 minutes, when Jacobs narrowly put the ball over the bar with his free-kick, which clipped the crossbar as it dipped over.
The visitors began to grow into the game however, and could have gone in front themselves on the half hour mark, only for Richard O’Donnell to produce an excellent save to deny Richie Wellens.
The ball broke from a corner to the forward, who hit it on the half volley from inside the area and forced an excellent save from O’Donnell to keep the scores level.
Latics responded, and had a chance of their own two minutes later, when James again broke down the left and cut the ball back for Power, whose effort was straight at Stuckmann.
Caldwell’s men were seeing plenty of possession, but there were a few nervy moments at the back throughout the match, with several players giving the ball away in dangerous positions.
James Coppinger looked to have won a penalty in the 42nd minute, when he was brought down by James in the area, but the referee waved play on to ensure the scores were level at the interval.
Latics made no changes for the second half, but were forced to dig in by the visitors, who started brightly.
Rovers almost replicated Tuesday night by winning a penalty in the opening few seconds, when Coppinger was again brought down in the area, before Forrester forced a low save from O’Donnell two minutes later with his effort from a free-kick in a dangerous area.
The visitors continued to have the better of it early on and Caldwell responded, bringing on Sean Murray and Shaquile Coulthirst for his debut, after he signed on loan from Spurs this week.
Doncaster still looked the most likely to score however, and were unlucky not to do so in the 58th minute, when Mackenzie rose well to meet a corner, and saw his effort cleared off the line by James, before it was booted clear by David Perkins.
Latics responded through Coulthirst, who caught the eye with his bundles of pace and enthusiasm, and spread the ball out wide to Jacobs, who only just missed with his ball to Will Grigg, who was lurking in a dangerous area in the penalty box.
Max Power continued to look authoritative in the middle for Latics, and carved out an opportunity of his own twelve minutes from time, when he cut in from the left on the break and stung the fingers of Stuckmann with his effort from range.
Power again caused problems just sixty seconds from time and he looked to have won his side a penalty when he was brought down in the area, only for the referee to again wave play on – much to the frustration of the home support in the South Stand.
Both sides continued to probe in search of a late winner, but neither could break the deadlock, meaning the points were shared.