Latics earn vital point
Relegation-threatened Wigan earned a vital point in their battle against the drop at Aston Villa.
Last Updated: 07/05/11 8:00pm
Relegation-threatened Wigan earned a vital point in their battle against the drop at Aston Villa on Saturday.
Charles N'Zogbia put the Latics ahead in the 10th minute after good work from Victor Moses.
But Wigan's lead only lasted seven minutes as Ashley Young lashed home following a free-kick which he had won off Ben Watson.
Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey was then fortunate not to be sent off after appearing to making contact with referee Mike Jones but he escaped with a yellow card and was substituted at half-time.
Late on, Ashley Young released Bent in for a one-on-one with Ali Al Habsi but the Wigan keeper made a good save to deny the England striker and earn a share of the spoils for his side.
The point lifted Wigan temporaily out of the drop zone - although Roberto Martinez's side returned back into 18th place after Blackpool drew at Spurs in the Saturday evening game.
The Latics must now re-focus on next Sunday's crucial home clash with rock bottom West Ham, while Villa are up to 42 points for the season and are surely safe.
Wigan fully deserved to collect a point from the game with N'Zogbia always a threat until he was substituted.
He stunned Villa by giving the visitors a 10th minute lead with his eighth goal of the campaign. Moses made a purposeful run towards the box, played a one-two with Hugo Rodallega before slipping the ball into the winger whose shot flew past Brad Friedel into the corner of the net.
Villa tried to retaliate and skipper Stiliyan Petrov's flighted pass almost played in Stewart Downing but he could not bring it under control.
But after 17 minutes Ashley Young brought Villa on level terms.
The England winger, who was being watched from the stands by Fabio Capello, was brought down in a central position 25 yards out by Watson.
He played a short free-kick to Petrov before himself curling a low shot wide of the defensive wall into the corner of the net, although Wigan keeper Al Habsi - who got a hand to the ball - should have done better.
But the Wigan keeper made amends with a fine save to keep out a shot from Heskey after he had created a yard of space to carve out the opening.
The home side won another free-kick in a promising position after Gary Caldwell brought down Bent but this time Ashley Young's curling attempt did not trouble Al Habsi.
Heskey was shown a yellow card after 33 minutes after he appeared to barge into the referee following a challenge by Antolin Alcaraz.
Clearly upset, Heskey appeared to have lost his self control and soon afterwards skipper Petrov was spoken to by Jones about the behaviour of the striker.
The Villa fans then appealed for a penalty after Ashley Young went down in the box but replays showed there was no contact made.
Al Habsi got his body behind a Petrov low drive after being teed up by Bent before N'Zogbia scuffed his shot wide after carving a chance for himself at the other end and then Dunne made a crucial block to deny Alcaraz.
Villa caretaker manager Gary McAllister replaced Heskey with Marc Albrighton for the second period.
Ashley Young set up an opportunity for Luke Young but he miskicked and Downing powered his shot over the bar after seizing onto the loose ball.
Downing had a fierce shot blocked by Caldwell but Wigan were knocking the ball around with confidence despite their lowly position.
Friedel went down to cling onto Moses' shot on the turn before the Latics came within inches of taking the lead after 77 minutes when Di Santo's flick-on was seized on by Rodallega.
He turned sharply and his low shot beat Friedel but flashed just past the post.Bent then could have won the game for Villa late on when he found himself one-on-one with Al Habsi but his shot was blocked by the Wigan keeper who earned a crucial point for his side in their battle against the drop.
|Aston Villa||Team Statistics||Wigan Athletic|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||2|
|4||Shots off Target||4|