First half chances missed but battling defensive display keeps in-form Derby at bay
- Wigan Athletic in goalless draw in the Sky Bet Championship at Derby County.
- Latics keep in form Derby at bay with robust defensive display.
- Latics not able to capitalise on first half chances created.
- Will Grigg hit the post in first half that Latics dominated.
DERBY COUNTY 0
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
Latics put in a superb rear-guard action against in-form Derby County but Warren Joyce’s men were left rueing a number of first half chances which could have seen them depart from Pride Park Stadium with more than just their well-deserved point.
The pre-match talk surrounded Derby’s five consecutive victories here, but it was Latics who had the best chances in the first half and should have been ahead at the break. Will Grigg hit the post and was also foiled by former Latics keeper Scott Carson in the best opportunity.
Derby, as expected, came out fighting after the break but a late Will Hughes chance apart, did not seriously trouble a Latics back four marshalled magnificently by Dan Burn and former Derby favourite Jake Buxton.
Latics went into the game making just the one change, Shaun MacDonald replacing Craig Davies after recovering from a thigh strain that kept him out for two games. Latics were still without nine first team players, however, with Nick Powell, David Perkins, Craig Morgan, Luke Garbutt and Reece Burke still missing, alongside the long term absentees of Adam Bogdan, Reece James, Alex Gilbey and Donervon Daniels. An inexperienced bench included Luke Burke and James Barrigan.
Unfortunately for Latics, Carson was in top form and was probably the difference between the sides on the day.
Firstly, Jordi Gomez whipped in a great corner from the right after 11 minutes after Max Power had broken at pace, Grigg found himself in space at the far post to strike the ball back across the face of goal, his shot rebounding off the post into a ruck of players. Buxton got to it first but Darren Bent cleared off the line.
Then on 17 minutes, Warnock swung in a cross from the left hand side and it was Michael Jacobs rising at the far post to nod down across goal , Carson stretching out his right hand to divert for a corner. There was further danger on 24 minutes, when Yanic Wildschut burst down the left side and his daisy-cutter of a cross was cleared just as Grigg was ready to poke home.
The best chance, however, fell to Grigg on the half-hour mark. He intercepted a cross-field pass from Chris Baird to open Derby up and found himself all alone against Carson, who got down sharply to his right to parry the shot. So close but Grigg will probably admit he should have scored.
At the other end, Derby enjoyed spells of pressure but the one real moment of danger came when Ikechi Anya rode several challenges down the left channel to lay the ball back to Johnny Russell, who blasted his effort a foot over Jussi Jaaskelainen’s bar.
In the second half, Latics came out of the blocks sharply and Gomez fired a yard over in the first attack. However, Derby gradually took control of possession and tried to break the deadlock.
Latics, however, stood firm. There were some moments of alarm when balls came flying into the box, notably when Jussi Jaaskelainen had to punch away Baird’s long ball in from the right under his cross bar and MacDonald put his body where it hurt to deny Will Hughes.
It wasn’t really until the 82nd minute that Derby had arguably their best opportunity of the game, Hughes finding space to shoot but he pulled his effort wide of Jaaskelainen’s right hand post.
Latics had a few forays into Derby’s half, notably when Wildshut found space to run in behind his marker but his cross was eventually cleared.
Derby County: Carson, Baird, Anya, Johnson, Keogh, Pearce, Russell (Camara 59), Butterfield (Bryson 59), Bent (Vydra 73), Hughes, Ince.
Subs not used: Mitchell, Weimann, Hanson.
Latics: Jaaskelainen, Warnock, Burn, Buxton, Kellett (Byrne, 74) , Power, MacDonald, Gomez, Jacobs, Grigg (Le Fondre 83), Wildschut (Flores 89)
Subs not used: Lavercombe, Davies, Burke L, Barrigan