Match report: Barnsley 0, Wigan Athletic 0

Wigan Athletic battled to a point away at Barnsley to move nine points clear of the drop zone in the Championship.
Jamal Lowe rises high to meet the ball ahead of Michael SollbauerJamal Lowe rises high to meet the ball ahead of Michael Sollbauer
Jamal Lowe rises high to meet the ball ahead of Michael Sollbauer

The Latics failed to reach the heights in terms of performance that they have in recent weeks, but in the final judgement this point at Oakwell against a home side battling for their lives could prove crucial.

Paul Cook's men, who face a 12 point deduction after the club was placed into administration over a week ago, had chances to win the match, but in the end they will be thankful of the point especially after being reduced to 10 men following Danny Fox's red card in the 71st minute.

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The hosts began the match slightly in the ascendancy and in the second minute a neat interchange of passing saw right wing-back Kilian Ludewig get in behind the Latics defence but his cross flashed across goal with no attacker in sight.

Four minutes later, Tykes striker Cauley Woodrow connected well with a shot from 25 yards, but it was straight down the throat of visitors' keeper David Marshall.

Soon after the Latics were up in arms when forward Jamal Lowe was penalised for appearing to out muscle Michael Sollbauer inside the penalty area.

A scrappy passage of play at the edge of the visitors' box resulted in Marshall having to scramble across his goal to tip Elliot Simoes' snapshot around the post in the 14th minute.

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Just before the half-way stage of the first period, there was a heart-stopping moment for Fox after a mix-up with Marshall. Fortunately, the centre half's header lacked power as it edged towards his own goals and the Latics' No.1 was able to recover and collect the ball.

In the 27th minute, Paul Cook's men had another shout for a penalty when Barnsley goalkeeper Jack Walton spilled Kieffer Moore's downward header and Kai Naismith appeared to be upended as he went for the rebound.

The Latics began to grow more into the game with left-back Antonee Robinson becoming more and more prominent with his left-wing surges.

Cook changed tactics by changing to three at the back with Kal Naismith moving from his position on the right-wing to left centre half alongside Fox and Cedric Kipre to match the formation of their opponents.

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In the final moments of the first half, the Latics had a wonderful opportunity to take the lead.

Nicking back possession, Joe Williams surged forward before releasing a fine through ball into the path of Kieran Dowell.

The attacking midfielder bore down on goal but as everybody waited for the net to bulge, Sollbauer got back to make a brilliant last-ditch block.

Another fine block was needed five minutes into the second half to prevent the visitors taking the lead.

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Great link-up play between skipper Sam Morsy and Moore handed Lowe a shooting opportunity from the edge of the area but Jordan Williams got in the way of the shot.

There was something more purposeful about the visitors' play in the opening exchanges of the second half.

Certainly Robinson continued to be a threat for the Latics and one lung bursting run down the left in the 55th minute by the 22-year-old saw him send a brilliant ball into the box. However, Walton managed to get fingertips to the ball to prevent Moore from heading into an empty net.

In the 62nd minute the visitors' defence were looking towards the linesman for offside after a corner was played back into the box and Sollbauer found himself all on his own inside the penalty area. Fortunately, the Austrian defender failed to connect and the ball drifted harmlessly wide.

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Suddenly, the game became a backs-to-the-wall affair for the Latics when Fox was red carded for a high tackle on Elliot Simoes in the 71st minute.

The decision looked a little harsh on the veteran defender, who was a split second late in his challenge on the Barnsley foward.

Cook threw on fresh legs in the shape of Gavin Massey and Joe Gelhardt with his men down to 10 men.

They almost snatched the lead when Naismith in the 80th minute when Naismith dispossessed Alex Mowatt .

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The Scot surged forward, played a one-two with Robinson, but his subsequent shot was cleared off the line.

Naismith was then the hero at the other end two minutes later when he blocked Conor Chaplin's point-blank effort from 10 yards.

With the numerical advantage, the Tykes pushed forward in the final few minutes and they almost snatched it at the death when Marshall saved at his near post to thwart Callum Styles.

BARNSLEY: Jack Walton, Jordan Williams, Mads Juel Andersen, Michael Sollbauer, Kilian Ludewig (Patrick Schmidt 82), Marcel Ritzmaier (Aapo Halme 87), Alex Mowatt, Callum Styles, Jacob Brown, Cauley Woodrow (Conor Chaplin 61), Elliot Simoes

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SUBS:Ben Williams, Luke Thomas, Clarke Oduor, Matthew Wolfe, Bradley Collins, Mike Bahre.

BOOKED: Simoes, Mowatt

WIGAN: David Marshall, Nathan Byrne, Antonee Robinson (Tom Pearce 87), Cedric Kipre, Danny Fox, Sam Morsy, Joe Williams, Kieran Dowell (Gavin Massey 75), Kal Naismith, Jamal Lowe (Gavin Massey 75), Kieffer Moore

SUBS: Jamie Jones, Lewis Macleod, Joe Gelhardt, Jan Mlakar,Gary Roberts, Alex Dobre, Lee Evans.

BOOKED: Robinson, Gelhardt, Williams