Jewell pleased with Latics’ battling draw

WIGAN manager Paul Jewell praised the commitment and desire of his side as they held out for nearly an hour with 10 men to claim a vital relegation point at Aston Villa.

The Latics had gone ahead through Emile Heskey before Antonio Valencia was sent off for a two-footed lunge at Wilfred Bouma. But Villa could only manage a second-half equaliser from Gabriel Agbonlahor — and even that was disputed by Jewell who was unhappy with the overall performance of referee Mark Halsey.

Jewell said: “Villa’s goal was offside. It wasn’t even close. The official got the sending-off right.”

“It was one of the few decisions that he got right. After the sending-off, it was all about us defending and we rode our luck at times but, like I said, their goal was two yards offside.

“They were the better side but we battled and fought and John Filan made some important saves. We didn’t have a shot in the second half but we deserved our luck.”

Villa manager Martin O’Neill felt Wigan’s goal could have been disallowed after his keeper Thomas Sorensen appeared to be impeded before Heskey turned the ball home.

He said: “I thought initially it was a foul. It looks that way. I’ve seen it back on the replays and some have given it and some haven’t in the past.

“But we should’ve won the game. We started brightly, fell behind and were on the back foot for a while. Their man being sent off meant we were going to get a lot of possession and we tried to use it as best as we could.

“After we equalised, I thought we would go on to win the game but it was not to be and they defended stoutly.”

ASTON VILLA: Sorensen, Bardsley, Mellberg, Laursen, Bouma (Young 38), Gardner, Petrov, Berger, Barry, Maloney (Moore 73), Agbonlahor.

WIGAN: Filan, Hall (Skoko 52), Jackson, Baines, Unsworth (Taylor 46), Valencia, Scharner, Landzaat, Kilbane, Heskey (Folan 84), McCulloch.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

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