Wigan Athletic 0 Burnley 0

Michael Duff is lucky not see his second yellow card of the game
Michael Duff is lucky not see his second yellow card of the game
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LATICS once again suffered festive frustration as they drew a blank for the second time in 72 hours.

On one hand they’ll consider a point against high-flying Burnley isn’t that bad a result.

But Sean Dyche’s Clarets were far from vintage on the day, and Latics will know that this one was there for the taking.

Wigan dominated in terms of territory and possession, but could not find the necessary guile in front of goal to craft what would have been a winner.

Despite being boosted by the return of Nick Powell, Latics struggled to fashion much in the way of goalscoring opportunities.

Chris McCann saw an early header cleared off the line against his old club, but other than that Clarets goalkeeper Tom Heaton had a relatively quiet afternoon.

At the other end, another midfielder playing against his old club - David Jones - came closest to breaking the deadlock for Burnley.

Jones swung his right foot at a pull-back from Kieran Trippier at the end of the first half, but saw Ali Al Habsi somehow touch the ball on to the bar.

When the goalkeeper needed a bit of luck, he got it when Leon Barnett got back to clear the ball off the line with Danny Ings a whisker away from forcing it home.

Other than those two incidents, the most abiding memory of the game was James McArthur being booed relentlessly for the first five minutes by an away end who had clearly got him mixed up with McCann.

And the Irishman, who joined Wigan from Burnley last summer, nearly had the last laugh when his early header was hacked to safety off the visitors’ line.

Barnett also had a decent heading opportunity inside the first quarter, but he couldn’t direct Stephan Crainey’s cross towards goal.

Marc-Antoine Fortune saw a shot parried and away for a corner, before Burnley showed themselves for the first time.

Sam Vokes fired high and wide from close range, before shooting goalwards only to be denied by Al Habsi.

Michael Duff picked up the game’s first booking for a lunge on McArthur that another referee, on another day, might have considered to be a red-card offence.

The resulting free-kick from Gomez was just past the post and the visitors could breathe again.

Barnett’s searching cross towards the far post was met by James Perch, who made a powerful connection only to see the ball fly just past the far post.

McCann then led a three-on-three break before being tripped by Duff, who was perhaps fortunate not to be awarded a second yellow by the official.

Then came Burnley’s big chance in first-half stoppage-time, when Trippier found Jones on the edge of the area.

The connection was perfect, but a combination of Al Habsi and Barnett saw the clean sheet preserved.

The game became end-to-end stuff within moments of the restart, both sides committing men forward and leaving gaps at the back.

Latics threw on James McClean for Fortune, meaning Powell moving up top on his own.

A nice Wigan move down the left saw Crainey’s cross claimed by the goalkeeper with Powell hunting around for scraps.

But Burnley were still asking questions and Ings saw a left-footed shot find the visiting fans behind the goal rather than the top corner.

McCann had another shot blocked as Wigan pushed forward, with Crainey continuing to work well down the left and put in some decent deliveries.

Roger Espinoza took over from Gomez for the last 15, and immediately put himself about in the engine room.

Powell had another sight of goal in the final quarter only to find the side-netting.

With Latics having only one substitution left, it was not Callum McManaman or Grant Holt but Rob Kiernan who entered the fray for the last eight minutes.

And having been recalled from his loan spell at Southend on the eve of the game, Kiernan showed some assured touches on his Wigan debut as honours ended even

Latics: Al Habsi; Boyce, Ramis, Barnett; Perch, McArthur, McCann, Crainey; Gomez, Powell, Fortune.

Subs: Nicholls, Kiernan (for McCann, 82), Espinoza (for Gomez, 76), McClean (for Fortune, 54), McManaman, Dicko, Holt.

Burnley: Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Lafferty; Treacy, Marney, Jones, Arfield; Ings, Vokes.

Subs: Stanislas, Cisak, Edgar, Kightly (for Treacy, 76), Stock, Long (for Duff, 82), Hewitt.

Referee: Mike Jones