Barnsley 0 Wigan Athletic 0

Luke Garbutt (right)
Luke Garbutt (right)

Wigan Athletic dug in and held firm to secure a precious point on the road at a freezing-cold Barnsley.

The home side had the bulk of the play and the lion’s share of the chances during a tight and tense 90 minutes.

But they couldn’t break down a determined Latics rearguard in front of both Adam Bogdan and Jussi Jaaskelainen, who took over in the second half after his colleague was stretchered off.

The visitors, with Yanic Wildschut surprisingly playing up front on his own, were always a threat on the counter.

But the closest they came was when Craig Morgan - back at the heart of the defence - sent a header flashing inches wide of the post.

Barnsley failed to hit the target with their best opportunities while, when they did find the net in the first half, the offside flag put a stop to Sam Winnall’s celebrations in the first half.

The result gives Latics their first point under new boss Warren Joyce, but sees them slip one place to second-bottom in the Championship with fellow strugglers Blackburn beating Brentford.

David Perkins was returning to one of his former clubs - and the scene of his last goal some four years ago - and he almost found the net inside the opening skirmishes, only for home goalkeeper Adam Davies to pull off a good save.

But the Tykes gradually found their feet and began asking some probing questions of the Latics defence.

Winnall headed just wide of the mark from Ryan Kent’s cross with Bogdan rooted to the spot, before Marley Watkins’ shot forced a superb save from the Latics goalkeeper.

Reece Burke then had to get in a great block to thwart Adam Armstrong’s goalbound shot, with Latics struggling to get a foot on the ball.

On a rare foray from the visitors, Powell found himself unmarked at the far post, but Max Power’s drilled effort was neither a shot or a cross and whistled out for a goal kick.

That was Powell’s last involvement, with the ex-Manchester United man - playing in the centre-forward position - limped off with a recurrence of the hamstring problem that had kept him out of the last two matches.

With three strikers on the bench, Joyce instead chose to send on left-back Luke Garbutt to join the midfield, with Michael Jacobs encouraged to push on and support Wildschut, who moved into the lone striking role.

The ball was in the Latics net just before half-time, with Winnall getting his head to a wild shot from Kent, but the offside flag was rightly up on the far side.

After a brief floodlight issue at the interval, Barnsley picked up where they’d left off after the break, with a couple of decent early chances.

Thankfully for Latics, Armstrong and James Bree were unable to hit the target from distance, but the warning signs were there for all to see

There was temporary respite for the visitors when Wildschut opened his legs and showed his class, carrying the ball fully 60 yards in the blink of an eye before winning a corner.

Garbutt’s delivery was inviting, and Morgan’s header was only just wide of the upright with the goalkeeper struggling to get there.

Latics were delivered another blow on the hour mark when Bogdan went down in the box and, after lengthy treatment, had to be stretchered off.

Fortunately the presence of Jaaskelainen on the bench meant minimal disruption, and the visitors continued to enjoy their best spell of the game.

Wildschut had his best sight of goal all afternoon, only to snatch at his effort from the edge of the area after being spotted by Perkins, resulting in an easy save for Davies.

At the other end, a great effort from Armstrong, cutting in off the left, saw the ball sail inches over the top, with Jaaskelainen very relieved to see it land on the roof of the net.

Armstrong should have done much better moments later when he sent a free header well wide from bang in front after good work from Winnall.

Morgan almost pressed the self-destruct button as the game entered the final quarter when, after misjudging a through ball, he had to drag back Winnall at the expense of a booking - his fifth of the season.

The Welshman also suffered double punishment, when the free-kick was floated in from the far touchline and flicked off his head before sailing just wide of the far post.

Barnsley had half a shout for a penalty in the closing stages as Jake Buxton misjudged the weight of a backpass to Jaaskelainen, and appeared to step into the path of the chasing Conor Hourihane, only for the referee to wave play on.

There was still time for Hourihane to have one more sight at goal inside the last 10 minutes, but his effort was straight at Jaaskelainen, and Latics had the point their set-up suggested they would probably have settled for before kick-off.