Wigan and Tottenham had to settle for a point each in a goalless stalemate at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
With Wigan starting the day rock bottom of the English Premier League and Tottenham still in the hunt for a top-four finish, both sides’ seasons still hang very much in the balance.
But with the two managers desperate for all three points, neither team was able to snatch a winning goal.
This was not your average scoreless draw, however, and there was little sign of caginess from either side in an entertaining first half.
However, it was not until the 23rd minute when either team had a real glimpse of goal.
Jermaine Jenas, who was given a rare start by manager Harry Redknapp, let fly with a thumping strike from 25 yards, which goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi was unable to hold, although he managed to recover to thwart Jermain Defoe on the follow-up.
Wigan’s first real chance fell to Victor Moses, who fashioned himself an opening following Ben Watson’s corner, only to lash his strike over the bar.
After such an even first half, there was only one team that looked likely to score in the opening stages of the second period as Wigan dominated possession and created chances at will – but missed them too.
Tom Cleverly looked as if he had finally broken the deadlock after cutting inside and steering a curling effort towards the top corner. But somehow Heurelho Gomes was able to claw the strike wide.
Tottenham brought on Peter Crouch and Aaron Lennon for Defoe and Rafael van der Vaart at either side of the hour mark, and the substitutions revitalised the visiting side.
That said, they were still unable to find a way through Wigan’s backline – and whenever they did, Al Habsi was in fine form.
When the sides last met at White Hart Lane back in August, Tottenham conceded a last-gasp goal – and they almost repeated the trick at the DW Stadium.
But when substitute Conor Sammon’s low effort looked destined for the bottom corner, Gomes was able to hold on with just a minute to go.
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