Roberto Martinez's men were unable to break down a resilient visiting team leaving the travelling support calling for the sacking of McLeish after another win-less afternoon
It was an afternoon when both sides were in desperate need of three points with time starting to run out on the Premier League season. Wigan dominated possession throughout but for all their efforts Aston Villa could not be broken down.
The visitors now have just one win from their last seven Premier League games leading to the visiting fans calling for the sacking of their boss. Former Villa chairman, ‘Deadly’ Doug Ellis was in the crowd and with the Midlands side in dire form McLeish will be starting to fear for his job with his side now drawn into a relegation fight.
Roberto Martinez named the same side that snatched a crucial win away at Bolton where Villa made two changes with Stephen Warnock coming into defence following injury to Richard Dunne while Stilian Petrov also missed out with a thigh problem so Barry Bannan came into the starting XI.
In the eighth minute Wigan had a great chance to take the lead after a really bright start but a mix-up between James McCarthy and Emerson Boyce saw the opportunity spurned. A square ball to Franco Di Santo was just behind the Argentinian and although McCarthy and Boyce were lurking at the back post for a chance to smash home, the Wigan pair ran straight into each other.
Aston Villa were slow to get going but after a quarter of an hour only a superb stop from Ali Al-Habsi kept the scores level. James Collins picked out Robbie Keane in the Wigan centre circle and the Irishman took down the pass expertly before playing a pin-point pass to Darren Bent with the outside of his boot. The England striker was in one-on-one and hit it first-time to the left-hand side of Al-Habsi but the Wigan keeper stuck out an arm to knock it clear for a corner.
Wigan dominated the first-half in terms of possession and looked like the only side looking to win the game, though it was Aston Villa who had carved open the best chance of the opening 45 minutes through Darren Bent.
Aston Villa started the second-half at an electric pace and almost caught Wigan off guard with a Carlos Cuellar header. A cross into the Wigan area was glanced by James Collins straight into the path of Cuellar who used all the power in his neck to power it goalwards but Al-Habsi read it well and saved comfortably.
Wigan were still the better of the two sides and after Martinez introduced Hugo Rodallega, Villa appeared to shut up shop looking for a point. The home side were passing patiently around the opposition’s penalty area before Rodallega tried to take matters into his own hands with a curling effort from the edge of the area though it went despairingly over.
With time running out Villa countered well through Robbie Keane who found some space for the powerful Emile Heskey. The former Wigan striker powered towards the area before shooting and although his shot looked to be heading into the goal it flashed just wide to the relief of the home support.
There was more disappointment to come for the visitors with striker Bent taken off with 10 minutes remaining after receiving some lengthy treatment for an ankle injury. With Keane set to return to LA Galaxy, Villa will be hoping the problem is not as serious as it initially looked.
Despite Bent's departure, Villa looked the more dangerous of the sides late on and when the fourth official revealed there was to be seven minutes of added on time the home side groaned with almost a sense of inevitability. However, Martinez’s side hung on for a point that keeps their survival hopes still alive.
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