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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:45 3rd October 2015
By  Daniel Briggs

WIGAN 0-0 WALSALL

Walsall maintained their unbeaten away record in League One with an entertaining goalless draw at ten-man Wigan.

The Latics dominated for an hour, with ex-Saddlers striker Will Grigg spurning two gilt-edge close-range opportunities.

Wigan were reduced to ten men on 69 minutes when captain Craig Morgan was sent off for a professional foul on Kieron Morris.

But despite ending the match strongly, Walsall were unable to capitalise on their man advantage as honours finished even.

Dean Smith's men stay second in League One heading into next weekend's top-of-the-table clash with leaders Burton.

Walsall made two changes from Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Scunthorpe, with Milan Lalkovic and Morris replacing Rico Henry and Jordan Cook.

There were some familiar faces in the Wigan line-up, with former Saddlers strikers Jordy Hiwula and Grigg handed starts.

Former fans' favourite Richard O’Donnell - Walsall's 2014/15 Player of the Season - was on the bench.

Morris, who made an impressive cameo against Crewe last weekend, had the visitors’ first chance after five minutes.

Kieron Morris Wigan A 460x345

The recalled winger received a pass from Tom Bradshaw and unleashed a firm left-footed drive from 18 yards which debutant Jaaskelainen pushed away.

Walsall had started the brighter, but Wigan steadily grew into the half.

On 17 minutes, Morris’ stray pass was picked up by Hiwula, who advanced towards goal before being fouled by James O’Connor just outside the box.

Michael Jacobs’ subsequent free-kick deflected off the wall, and from the resulting corner, Hiwula fired high over the bar from close range.

The Latics won another set-piece in a dangerous position on the half-hour mark.

Jacobs’ right-footed attempt struck the wall, and his follow-up effort was charged down by Lalkovic. Chris McCann then blazed the loose ball well over.

Fine defending at both ends kept the match scoreless at the break.

First, O’Connor made a perfectly-timed tackle on Hiwula inside his own penalty area.

Moments later, the visitors broke forward but David Perkins scampered back to block Bradshaw’s low shot.

HALF-TIME: WIGAN 0-0 WALSALL

Wigan started the second-half in the ascendancy.

On 49 minutes, Jacobs pierced the Walsall defence with a penetrative pass through to substitute Yanic Wildschut.

The Middlesbrough loanee fired a right-footed effort goalwards but Saddlers keeper Neil Etheridge spread himself well to block with his chest.

The lively Wildschut then weaved his way into the box but O’Connor was again on hand to make an excellent last-ditch challenge.

Romaine Sawyers Wigan A 460x345

Shortly after, the menacing Morris wriggled free of two home defenders before steering a low left-footed shot wide of the far post.

The hosts really should have taken the lead midway through the second period.

Wildschut crossed from the left but Grigg, six yards out, failed to make sufficient contact at the near post.

Daniels then delivered a low centre from the other flank, but the unmarked Wigan striker again couldn't convert from close range.

Wigan were reduced to ten men five minutes later, when Morris was felled by Morgan on the edge of the box.

The referee deemed the Latics' skipper to be the last man and gave him his marching orders.

Anthony Forde curled the following free-kick over the wall but wide of Jaaskelainen's left-hand upright.

Walsall - chasing back-to-back away wins - looked to make their numerical supremacy tell.

Milan Lalkovic Wigan A 460x345

Morris stung the palms of Jaaskelainen with a rasping 20-yard drive, Bradshaw miscued a header when well positioned, and Cook blazed disappointingly over.

The latter then curled wide in stoppage time, ensuring the spoils were shared.

FULL-TIME: WIGAN 0-0 WALSALL

Team: Etheridge, Demetriou, Taylor, O’Connor, Downing, Chambers ©, Mantom, Bradshaw, Sawyers, Lalkovic (Forde 66’), Morris (Cook 80’).

Subs not used: MacGillivray, Baxendale, Henry, Preston, Flanagan.

Attendance: 8,636 (748 Walsall supporters).

    QUICK FACTS

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