Latics in Spurs stalemate
Tottenham continued their worst start for 34 years by playing out a goalless draw against Wigan on Sunday.
By Laura Slatcher
Last Updated: 21/09/08 5:44pm
Tottenham continued their disappointing start to the season after a goalless draw against Wigan on Sunday.
Spurs are still without a win this season and remain bottom of the Premier League despite a lively game at White Hart Lane.
The home side had the best of the first-half chances but failed to capitalise on a series of free-kicks around the Wigan box, David Bentley's deliveries failing to penetrate the Wigan defence.
Paul Scharner came closest for the visitors minutes before the break after his 20-yard strike forced Heurelho Gomes into an outstretched save.
Juande Ramos' side were denied a penalty after 64 minutes when substitute Aaron Lennon was needlessly clipped in the box by Maynor Figueroa.
Late chances for either side followed with Chris Kirkland saving a powerful Tom Huddlestone strike before Olivier Kapo's effort was tipped over by Gomes.
Spurs' lack of quality firepower since the departure of Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane was even further apparent as they struggled to break down Steve Bruce's side and they are still searching for their first league victory after five matches.
Worryingly for Ramos, his side also look short of form and the Spaniard withdrew multi-million pound summer signings Roman Pavlyuchenko and David Bentley.
In a game of poor quality, Spurs were convinced they should have had a 64th-minute penalty when Lennon, Bentley's replacement, appeared to be tripped by Wigan defender Figueroa.
But referee Steve Tanner infuriated the home fans and sent the Tottenham bench into near apoplexy by ignoring their appeals.
The frustration drove Spurs on and Jamie O'Hara, Darren Bent and Gareth Bale all rained shots on the visitors goal in the closing stages but Wigan goalkeeper Kirkland and his defenders were unmoved.
It was a frantic finish but did not stop home fans booing their team off at the full-time whistle as they had done at the half-time break.
Apart from Darren Bent's snap shot which forced Kirkland to make a diving save and an even better strike by Scharner at the other end which had Spurs goalkeeper Gomes plunging spectacularly to push past a post, the first half was almost a complete write-off.
Wigan's Emmerson Boyce put in a crude tackle on Jamie O'Hara that brought the first booking but, familiarly, Spurs failed to capitalise on the free-kick as Bentley's delivery failed to beat the first defender.
When Wigan earned a free-kick of their own in the 33rd minute, after Jonathan Woodgate fouled Amr Zaki, it was at last a show of attacking intention from the visitors.
Tottenham struggled to clear Jason Koumas's delivery and the Welshman pounced on the rebound to fire it back towards goal, forcing Gomes to come hurtling off his line to knock it away from Zaki.
Egypt international Zaki was often left as a lone striker as Heskey dropped deep but he showed danger when shooting wide on the turn in the 37th minute and Wigan were beginning to look a little more composed and confident.
Pavlyuchenko was not short of determination and set up Bent for a looping header that landed on the roof of the Wigan net.
But three minutes from the interval, Scharner had the best chance of the half with a low drive which produced a brilliant diving save from Gomes at the expense of a corner.
It was hardly a surprise when Pavlyuchenko did not come out for the second half, Frazier Campbell replacing him after he had suffered a series of heavy challenges.
He did not look injured but failed to even sit on the bench in the second half as Spurs laboured in vain.
Jermaine Jenas, captain in the absence of Ledley King, tried to inspire his side with industry and drive but it was a fruitless task as Wigan dug in and earned a point.