Wigan Athletic 0 Reading 0

Gary Roberts
Gary Roberts

Wigan Athletic saw their winless run extend to five matches after failing to put away a limited Reading side despite dominating at the DW Stadium.

Nick Powell had a goal rightly chalked off for offside in the first period, but Latics proved otherwise unable to offer much in the way of a genuine goal threat despite fashioning several decent openings.

Wigan’s mood was summed up by the loss of Powell to a hamstring pull in the second half.

At the other end, Christian Walton had to act smartly to make a couple of decent saves to preserve another clean sheet.

But it was very much two points dropped rather than one point gained, with local derbies to come against Blackburn and Bolton in the next week.

It certainly wasn’t the way new executive chairman Darren Royle - occupying seat 1a in the directors box for the first time - would have wanted to formally begin his reign at the DW.

Or the way a certain David Whelan - sat with Brenda Spencer several rows back following the recent takeover by IEC - would have wanted his 82nd birthday to pan out.

In fairness, it could have been even worse, had Reading made better use of a gilt-edged opportunity that came their way in the opening five minutes.

Garath McCleary walked through the Latics midfield before trying his luck from distance.

He pulled his shot but fortunately it veered into the path of Yakou Meite, whose close-range effort was brilliantly repelled at point-blank range by Walton.

The flag was up in any case, but the on-loan Brighton goalkeeper wasn’t to know.

Latics could and perhaps have scored with their first sight of goal, with Reece James’ cross being flicked on by Kal Naismith into the path of Cedric Kipre, who couldn’t direct his header on target.

Star man Powell was feeling his way into the game, but gave a warning of his danger when he produced a snapshot out of nowhere, with Anssi Jaakkola happy to help the left-foot drive over the bar.

From the resulting corner, Powell nodded home at the near post, but the short-corner routine had seen James left in an offside position before swinging the ball over.

Reading continued to prove a threat on the break, with the lively Meite flicking a shot on to the outside of the Wigan post.

But Latics ended the half on top, and should have taken a one-goal lead into the break only for an unmarked Nathan Byrne to inexplicably head wide after Naismith’s excellent cross was helped on by Powell.

Jaakkola saved well from Josh Windass, and the Royals goalkeeper did equally well to deny Gary Roberts at the start of the second stanza.

The rebound fell invitingly for Windass, but the former Rangers man couldn’t hit the target with the goal gaping.

Roberts was sent tumbling in the Reading box, but referee Oliver Langford produced a yellow card for the Wigan man, who couldn’t believe he’d been penalised for diving.

And the mood inside the stadium wasn’t helped by the sight of Powell limping off just after the hour mark, to be replaced by Joe Garner.

Will Grigg also came on for the last 20 minutes as Latics went two up top, but the home side were unable to match their creativity of the opening hour and chances were at a premium.

At the other end, Walton had to stay switched on to thwart Meite and John Swift, with Darron Gibson lashing just wide for Latics in the closing stages.