Jason Scotland's profligate form in front of goal summed up Wigan's night
By Kevin Darling
Wigan spurned a golden opportunity to pull clear of the relegation zone as they were frustrated by a patched up Portsmouth side.
The relegated visitors had good early chances when debutant Matt Ritchie twice missed the target with headers.
The Latics soon took control but were wasteful in front of goal and rarely tested keeper Jamie Ashdown.
Paul Scharner, Jason Scotland and Hugo Rodallega were all guilty of misses as Pompey held on for an unlikely point.
Although the draw moves Roberto Martinez's side a seemingly healthy five points clear of the bottom three, it was a result that bordered on the embarrassing against a Pompey outfit that was cobbled together in the wake of their gruelling FA Cup heroics against Tottenham three days ago.
The lacklustre Latics were booed off at the final whistle but, with Hull still to visit the DW Stadium, Martinez may yet see this as a point gained in the tortuous crawl towards safety.
Despite Pompey's epic 120-minute match at Wembley, there could be no excuses of weariness as eight of the players who started that game were missing from the line-up, while boss Avram Grant was able to name only four substitutes.
It was the type of team selection, although seemingly enforced, that could prompt raised eyebrows from Wigan's relegation rivals - but that would appear less likely given the negative result for the hosts.
Among the new faces in the visitors' team was 20-year-old Ritchie and he was the handed the chance of a dream start when Tommy Smith's cross found him unmarked in the box - but he miscued his header well wide.
Minutes later, Ritchie had another chance to open his Pompey account when he out-jumped Mario Melchiot at the far post but headed just wide from Anthony Vanden Borre's cross.
As Pompey played with the freedom of a side no longer bound by the pending threat of relegation, Wigan looked every bit the team under pressure.
However, they almost took the lead in style when James McCarthy forced a smart stop from Ashdown after an intricate passing on the edge of the box.
Pompey continued to look dangerous on the break, with Smith wriggling free from two defenders and shooting straight at Chris Kirkland from 20 yards.
As the home fans began to get impatient, the Latics conjured a pair of good chances for Scotland but he shot straight at Ashdown twice within three minutes.
The half ended with Scharner heading Maynor Figueroa's lofted pass woefully over the bar.
The sight of another Pompey youngster, 17-year-old German left-back Lenny Sowah, taking the field after the break for the injured Ricardo Rocha whetted the appetite of Wigan's right-winger Charles N'Zogbia.
The Frenchman ran at his new opponent at every opportunity as the Latics upped the tempo against their depleted rivals.
The hapless Scharner blazed over from 16 yards after another Figueroa set-up, before N'Zogbia skipped past Sowah only for his far-post cross to be headed feebly wide by Scotland.
Pompey's injury problems continued to border on the farcical and they were momentarily down to nine men when substitute Marcelo Moreno raced into the area only to be denied by the feet of Ashdown.
In the closing stages, Rodallega and Scotland repeatedly missed the target after working their way into good positions, while McCarthy saw a good 20-yard effort tipped around the post by Ashdown.
But Portsmouth's makeshift backline, which also featured 20-year-old Joel Ward, bravely held firm - a promising sign given that the same youngsters could become key players in the Championship next season.
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez: "It's frustrating because we had all the possession but Pompey had a game-plan, they got behind the ball and made it very difficult.
"It was one of those situations where you can get punished if you don't concentrate, and the lads did well in that respect. We were brave but we tried to win with the heart rather than the head - but we've got a point.
"There's a bit of disappointment and if decisions had gone our way it could have been different, but there are no easy games."
Portsmouth manager Avram Grant:
"We have many players who were injured so we used some players from the academy and I was very pleased with them.
"We needed to do it because we have a very small squad."
90:00+4:35 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
90:00+3:52 Free kick taken by Maynor Figueroa.
90:00+3:52 Booking Anthony Vanden Borre receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
90:00+3:47 Charles N'Zogbia fouled by Anthony Vanden Borre, the ref awards a free kick.
90:00+2:53 Short corner worked by Angelos Basinas.
90:00+2:43 Tommy Smith produces a cross, save by Chris Kirkland.
90:00+2:25 Marcelo Moreno challenges Joel Ward unfairly and gives away a free kick. Anthony Vanden Borre takes the free kick.
90:00+1:20 Victor Moses concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Brown. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
90:00+0:18 The ball is swung over by Maynor Figueroa, Jamie Ashdown makes a save.
88:36 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Victor Moses, mishit right-footed shot by Mohamed Diame. Joel Ward manages to make
88:13 Anthony Vanden Borre challenges Charles N'Zogbia unfairly and gives away a free kick. Titus Bramble takes the free kick.
87:35 Substitution Victor Moses joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jason Scotland.
87:21 Effort on goal by Hugo Rodallega from just inside the area clears the crossbar.
84:54 Marcelo Moreno produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.
84:10 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Angelos Basinas, save made by Chris Kirkland.
84:00 The ball is swung over by Michael Brown, Jason Scotland gets a block in.
82:37 Charles N'Zogbia takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
82:13 Corner taken right-footed by James McCarthy.
82:00 James McCarthy takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
80:18 Corner taken by James McCarthy, Charles N'Zogbia takes a shot. Blocked by Angelos Basinas.
80:12 The ball is sent over by Charles N'Zogbia.
78:40 Substitution Frederic Piquionne joins the action as a substitute, replacing Matt Ritchie.
Correction - 77:31 Booking Jason Scotland goes into the book for dissent.
77:31 Booking Jason Scotland receives a caution.
Correction - 77:00 Free kick awarded for a foul by Titus Bramble on Matt Ritchie. Matt Ritchie produces a strike on goal direct from the free
77:00 Titus Bramble concedes a free kick for a foul on Matt Ritchie. Strike comes in from Matt Ritchie from the free kick.
76:18 Corner taken right-footed by James McCarthy from the left by-line, Jamie Ashdown makes a save.
75:57 James McCarthy decides to take the corner short.
75:47 Hugo Rodallega takes a shot. Marc Wilson gets a block in.
73:05 Marcelo Moreno takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
69:36 Mohamed Diame takes a shot. Save made by Jamie Ashdown.
68:36 Corner taken left-footed by Charles N'Zogbia from the right by-line, Papa Bouba Diop manages to make a clearance.
67:46 The ball is sent over by James McCarthy, clearance made by Leonard Sowah.
67:17 James McCarthy takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Angelos Basinas.
67:11 The ball is sent over by Maynor Figueroa, Matt Ritchie gets a block in.
65:59 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Hugo Rodallega by Anthony Vanden Borre. Charles N'Zogbia takes the free kick.
65:04 Foul by Mario Melchiot on Tommy Smith, free kick awarded. Michael Brown crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from
left channel, clearance made by Marcelo Moreno.
62:54 Unfair challenge on Papa Bouba Diop by Mohamed Diame results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
61:50 Shot from just outside the area by Hugo Rodallega misses to the left of the target.
60:18 Centre by Charles N'Zogbia, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Jason Scotland misses to the left of the goal.
58:38 John Utaka is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Steve Gohouri.
55:38 Substitution Paul Scharner leaves the field to be replaced by Marcelo Moreno.
54:27 The ball is sent over by Maynor Figueroa, Effort on goal by Paul Scharner from just inside the area clears the bar.
52:51 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Hugo Rodallega.
52:13 Mohamed Diame gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Papa Bouba Diop. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
Correction - 51:44 Foul by John Utaka on Steve Gohouri, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Titus Bramble.
51:44 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Steve Gohouri by John Utaka. Titus Bramble takes the direct free kick.
51:31 James McCarthy takes a shot. Blocked by Marc Wilson.
51:13 Hugo Rodallega produces a cross, clearance by Marc Wilson.
50:32 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Hugo Rodallega by Anthony Vanden Borre. Paul Scharner restarts play with the
50:07 Paul Scharner takes a shot. Save made by Jamie Ashdown.
49:55 Mario Melchiot decides to take a short corner.
48:40 Corner taken by Angelos Basinas from the left by-line to the near post, Header from deep inside the penalty area by Tommy
Smith goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
48:14 Tommy Smith takes a shot. Mohamed Diame gets a block in.
47:31 Mohamed Diame challenges Leonard Sowah unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jamie Ashdown restarts play with the free kick.
46:41 The referee blows for offside against John Utaka. Titus Bramble takes the free kick.
45:01 The second half has started.
45:01 Substitution Leonard Sowah is brought on as a substitute for Ricardo Rocha.
45:00+2:18 The match has reached half-time.
45:00+1:41 Maynor Figueroa sends in a cross, Header on goal by Paul Scharner from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
45:00+0:22 Effort from deep inside the area by Hugo Rodallega clears the bar.
42:55 The offside flag is raised against Paul Scharner. Jamie Ashdown takes the free kick.
41:09 Free kick awarded for a foul by Marc Wilson on Jason Scotland. Hugo Rodallega shoots direct from the free kick.
39:46 Steve Gohouri challenges Matt Ritchie unfairly and gives away a free kick. Marc Wilson takes the free kick.
39:15 Tommy Smith takes a shot. Save by Chris Kirkland.
35:07 A cross is delivered by Maynor Figueroa.
34:56 The ball is swung over by Mario Melchiot, clearance by Ricardo Rocha.
33:50 Jason Scotland takes a shot. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
32:01 The ball is delivered by Mohamed Diame, Jason Scotland has an effort at goal from 6 yards. Save by Jamie Ashdown.
30:59 Charles N'Zogbia takes a shot. Blocked by Joel Ward.
29:42 Angelos Basinas delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, Titus Bramble manages to make a clearance.
29:42 Booking Booking for Titus Bramble for unsporting behaviour.
29:34 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John Utaka by Titus Bramble.
28:59 Centre by Charles N'Zogbia.
28:35 Mario Melchiot crosses the ball, blocked by Marc Wilson.
27:17 Foul by James McCarthy on Angelos Basinas, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
27:00 Hugo Rodallega delivers the ball, Marc Wilson makes a clearance.
24:51 Paul Scharner produces a cross, save by Jamie Ashdown.
24:40 The ball is crossed by Paul Scharner, clearance made by Angelos Basinas.
23:56 Unfair challenge on Mario Melchiot by Michael Brown results in a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Hugo Rodallega,
Ricardo Rocha makes a clearance.
23:13 The ball is sent over by Charles N'Zogbia.
21:07 The ball is crossed by Charles N'Zogbia, clearance made by Michael Brown.
20:37 Joel Ward gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Charles N'Zogbia. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Charles
N'Zogbia, Michael Brown makes a clearance.
18:38 The ball is sent over by Anthony Vanden Borre, Matt Ritchie produces a header from close range which goes wide of the left-hand
17:26 Foul by Charles N'Zogbia on Michael Brown, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Ashdown.
16:17 Centre by Paul Scharner, Effort on goal by Titus Bramble from just inside the area clears the bar.
15:57 Charles N'Zogbia takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Angelos Basinas makes a clearance.
Correction - 15:39 Jason Scotland takes a shot. Ricardo Rocha gets a block in.
15:39 Jason Scotland takes a shot. Blocked by Ricardo Rocha.
14:50 Unfair challenge on John Utaka by Mohamed Diame results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Marc Wilson.
13:40 James McCarthy takes a shot. Save made by Jamie Ashdown.
11:25 Angelos Basinas fouled by James McCarthy, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Angelos Basinas,
save by Chris Kirkland.
9:43 Michael Brown challenges Charles N'Zogbia unfairly and gives away a free kick. Charles N'Zogbia delivers the ball, Headed
effort from deep inside the area by Paul Scharner misses to the right of the goal.
7:03 The ball is sent over by Tommy Smith, Matt Ritchie has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right
of the target.
6:32 Papa Bouba Diop fouled by James McCarthy, the ref awards a free kick. Ricardo Rocha takes the direct free kick.
5:38 The ball is sent over by Paul Scharner.
4:53 Joel Ward fouled by Charles N'Zogbia, the ref awards a free kick. Jamie Ashdown takes the free kick.
4:35 Centre by Hugo Rodallega.
0:22 Foul by Charles N'Zogbia on Michael Brown, free kick awarded. Marc Wilson takes the direct free kick.
0:00 The referee gets the game underway.
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