LATICS 0 OLDHAM 0Wigan Athletic were held to a goalless draw in the ‘Battle of the Latics’ against local rivals Oldham Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Latics had their chances to win the game, with Will Grigg almost stealing the points five minutes from time, but Caldwell’s men struggled to break down the stubborn visitors throughout and are left to settle for a point.
The result means though that Latics maintain their unbeaten start to 2016, though they slip to fourth place, two points behind Gillingham who take second place.
Gary Caldwell made just one change to the side which recorded an excellent win away at Sheffield United last week, with Reece Wabara coming in for Sam Morsy. There was also a place on the bench for the returning Reece James.
Latics are enjoying a rich vein of form at the moment, and the confidence through the team was apparent early on, with the hosts making a bright start to the contest.
Will Grigg is edging closer to the milestone of 15 goals this season, and almost made the perfect start to this contest just two minutes in, when he looked to have pinched the ball off Oldham ‘keeper Joel Coleman, though he quickly recovered to gather it.
The visitors had come with an attacking mentality themselves however, and looked menacing themselves just two minutes later, when a dangerous looking cross from the right forced Reece Wabara to nervously clear.
Latics were having the better of it early on though, and created the best chance of the contest in the sixth minute through Conor McAleny, after good work from Yanic Wildschut.
The Dutch winger was causing havoc as usual down the left hand side and beat several players on a mazing run, before squaring to the forward, who just fired wide of Coleman’s right hand post.
McAleny was at it again on 19 minutes, winning a free-kick after being brought down by Anthony Gerrard. The loan man was surging forward, and Gerrard was swiftly put into the book for the foul.
The forward elected to take the free-kick from the edge of the area and went mightily close, just grazing the side netting with his effort – leading to many thinking he had scored.
The visitors were by no means second best though, and almost took the lead on the 25 minute mark through Carl Winchester, who thumped one from range. The effort was flying into the top left hand corner, only for Jussi Jaaskelainen to pull off a terrific save to deny him.
Oldham were growing into the contest, and went close in the final couple of minutes of the half, with first Fonte testing Jaaskelainen with a half volley, before Winchester hit another from range.
Latics’ keeper was level to it though, and pulled off another smart stop to ensure the scores were level at the interval.
The second half continued in a similar fashion to the end of the first, with Latics struggling to break down a resilient visiting side for long periods of the contest.
It took until the 71st minute before Latics were able to create a serious opportunity, when Yanic Wildschut broke down the left hand side and fired an effort at Coleman.
Gary Caldwell soon took action, introducing Ryan Colclough and Craig Davies in the hope of breakinf the deadlock.
Oldham continued to look dangerous, and had two big chances with quarter of an hour to go to pinch the points themselves.
The first came through Matt Palmer 13 minutes from time, who blasted an effort from range, only to see it go narrowly wide of the post, before Danny Lafferty forced Jaaskelainen to tip his free-kick over two minutes later.
Latics continued to probe, and almost got the breakthrough they craved through Will Grigg, who showed good skill to beat a man in the area before hitting a low effort at goal, which required a strong save by Coleman at his near post.
The visitors held firm however, to ensure that the points were shared on this occasion.