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Match Report


Posted Sat 29 Jan 11 at 17:08 PM

Report: Wanderers 0 Wigan 0

Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic will have to lock horns for the fourth time in the season in a replay as their fourth round FA Cup tie ended goalless in what was a thoroughly entertaining affair at the Reebok Stadium.

Wanderers controlled possession for large periods of the game, especially in the second period, but failed to break down a stubborn Wigan rearguard.

Martin Petrov's first-half effort was arguably the closest Wanderers came to a goal, as the Bulgarian fizzed an effort within a whisker of the angle of post and crossbar on what was a bitterly cold afternoon.

The introduction of Robbie Blake and Rodrigo added an extra zip to Bolton's frontline in the second period, but it was to prove to be an afternoon on which both sides' respective defences came out on top.

Sam Ricketts

Owen Coyle made three changes to the starting line-up that tasted defeat against Premier League champions Chelsea in the previous Monday night game, handing new signing David Wheater his first start in a Wanderers shirt following his January transfer from Middlesbrough.

Sam Ricketts also returned to the starting XI in place of the injured Gretar Steinsson whilst there was also a start for Mark Davies in the engine room as Stuart Holden dropped to the bench.

Wigan had brought a strong travelling contingent of nearly 2,000 spectators - a significant improvement on the numbers they had previously brought to the Reebok Stadium in the league match between the two sides earlier in the month.

But within the opening ten seconds the visiting supporters were soon exhaling with relief. The ball broke on the edge of the area to Johan Elmander after a defensive mix-up, but the Swede's low shot that seemed to be sneaking in at the far post was cut out by a last ditch defensive block.

In what was an entertaining start to the game Wigan were then gifted their first chance of the game when Matt Taylor under-hit a back pass to Jussi Jaaskelainen. The pacey Victor Moses latched on to the loose ball but failed to squeeze the ball in from a narrow angle.

Moses was again the instigator moments later, after the hosts broke following a sustained period of pressure from the White. The former Crystal Palace wide man cut inside and saw a goalbound effort blocked my Wheater before teeing up Jordi Gomez who fired into the midriff of Jaaskelainen from distance.

Wigan seemed to grow in confidence and whenever the electric Moses had the ball in possession there was always a threat, as he escaped the attentions of Ricketts before firing across the face of goal for Calum McManaman who just couldn't quite get a decisive touch.

On the other flank meanwhile, Petrov's scampering runs provided much food for thought the Wigan rearguard as they were forced to hack clear a number of dangerous balls into their penalty area.

Mark Davies was his usual creative self, and with half-time rapidly approaching danced his way through the heart of the Wigan midfield and just as he was about to pull the trigger was denied by a late block.

Before the half was up there was still time for Gomez to sting the palms of Jaaskelainen and Petrov to fizz an effort over the crossbar, as Wanderers ended the opening period on top.

The second half resumed at the same pace, as Ben Watson bent a free-kick around the wall but was thwarted by Jaaskelainen and Elmander tested Pollitt from an acute angle.

Wanderers had thrown caution to the wind and the threat from Moses subsided as Coyle introduced Rodrigo and Blake in an attempt to break Wigan's resistance.

Rodrigo in particular looked dangerous making inroads down the left flank. And it was his run that drew a foul from a Wigan defender on the edge of the area and from the resulting set-piece Blake curled an effort just inches wide of Pollitt's post.

As Wanderers controlled possession in the Wigan half, Roberto Martinez's men were always a danger on the break. McManaman skipped inside a marker and Jaaskelainen did well to palm his daisy cutter around the post.

As time ticked away there was almost a late goal for debutant Wheater, who smashed a loose ball narrowly past the wrong side of the post, but ultimately it was to be both sides in the hat for the fifth round.

Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Ricketts, Knight, Wheater, Robinson, Taylor (Rodrigo 63), M Davies, Muamba (Holden 75), Petrov (Blake 63), Elmander, K Davies (Substitutes: Bogdan, Cahill, Klasnic, Rodrigo, Blake, Alonso)

Wigan: Pollitt, G Caldwell, Boyce, Lopez, Figueroa, Watson, McArthur (McCarthy 73), Diame, McManaman, Gomez, Moses (Di Santo 73) (Substitutes: Kirkland, Thomas, S Caldwell, De Ridder, Golobart)

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