Millwall 0 Wigan Athletic 0

Jussi Jaaskelainen was once again the hero as 10-man Wigan Athletic picked up a valuable point on the road at fellow promotion-chasing Millwall.

Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 9:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2016, 10:16 am

Midfielder Sam Morsy was sent off for two bookable offences in the space of five minutes either side of the half-hour mark.

But Latics - inspired by the fabulous Finn - successfully kept their opponents at arm’s length to secure a share of the spoils.

His fingertip save to deny Jimmy Abdou - who scored a crucial goal in the corresponding fixture last term, that all-but relegated Latics to the third tier - with 20 minutes to go had to be seen to be believed.

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And his double stop from Steve Morison and Lee Gregory deserved the bit of luck he then received when Jed Wallace smashed the follow-up wide of a virtually open goal.

At the other end, Jordan Archer was a virtual spectator as the Lions threw absolutely everything at their opponents in as one-sided game as could be imagined.

But Latics dug deep to extend their unbeaten run to 13, with only two defeats in their last 27 league games.

Although they lost two points to leaders Burton, who won 1-0 at Sheffield United, they remain four clear of third-placed Walsall, who were held at home by Scunthorpe, and now five ahead of fourth-placed Gillingham, who lost at Fleetwood.

Latics almost scored with their first attack, in extremely fortuitous circumstances.

David Perkins got in a block on the edge of the Millwall box, which turned into a shot as it spun goalwards, requiring a diving save from Archer to keep it out.

But the home side were quickly into their stride and soon asking by far the more probing questions.

Wallace cut in from the left-hand side with menace, before unleashing a curling effort with his right foot that was tipped round the post by Jaaskelainen at full stretch.

The Lions were almost in again when Byron Webster was allowed a free header from a free-kick, but the big defender couldn’t keep it down.

A fine passing move from Latics then saw Perkins charge through the left channel, but his shot was smothered by a superb challenge from Webster.

Morsy picked up his first booking for pulling back Millwall’s Gregory as he attempted to break following a Wigan corner.

And five minutes later Morsy’s evening was over after another justified booking for tugging at Wallace after he’d been dispossessed on the near touchline.

It was always going to be backs-to-the-wall from that point, and Latics did well to get through to the interval despite almost constant one-way traffic.

Leon Barnett appeared off the bench for the second half, in place of Ryan Colclough, to give Latics an extra body at the back in anticipation of an onslaught from the home side.

And Millwall didn’t disappoint, throwing everything - including the kitchen sink - at their numerically-challenged opponents who were dropping deeper and deeper.

A couple of dangerous crosses were only just cleared, before Morison volleyed over from a good position.

And Gregory narrowly failed to get on the end of a Shane Ferguson cross, as the hour mark approached.

Latics had a rare opportunity when right-back Reece Wabara crossed towards Will Grigg.

The Northern Ireland international scuffed his first effort, before his second was blocked by Webster at the expense of a corner.

However, the respite was only temporary, the ball soon back up the other end.

And Jaaskelainen was again showing he’s lost none of his Premier League quality despite being 40 years of age.

He was alert to push away a Wallace free-kick, before snaffling Gregory’s attempt from the follow-up.

After pulling off a fabulous double save to thwart Bury at the weekend, Jaaskelainen was at it again to deny first Gregory and then Morison from point-blank range.

The ball rebounded to Wallace, who had only Chris McCann standing between him and the empty goal.

However, the Millwall man suffered a rush of blood to the head and smashed his effort wildly off target.

Jaaskelainen then somehow got to an Abdou shot that was arrowing to the far corner, with Joe Martin failing to hit the target from another Ferguson cross.

On came Craig Davies and Yanic Wildschut to try and introduce some fresh legs for Latics, but all the action continued to take place at the other end of the field.

Wallace half-volleyed wide when he ought to have done better, with the last chance falling to Morison, who blasted high and wide from 15 yards - to the delight of the 281 Latics fans behind the goal, who deserved a point for their efforts.

Millwall: Archer; Romeo, Webster, Beevers, Martin; Abdou, Ferguson, Thompson, Wallace; Morison, Gregory.

Subs: Forde, Edwards, Williams (for Thompson, 65), Onyedinma, Nelson, O’Brien, Philpot.

Latics: Jaaskelainen; Wabara, Morgan, Pearce, McCann; Perkins, Power, Morsy; Colclough, McAleny; Grigg.

Subs: Nicholls, Barnett (for Colclough, 46), Chow, Flores, Vuckic, Wildschut (for Grigg, 79), Davies (for McAleny, 65).