If these sides are to have any hope of competing for survival in the Championship this season, then the simple fact is, their finishing will have to improve from what they put on show in this eventful if underwhelming goalless draw at the DW Stadium.
For all the chances both Wigan and Barnsley enjoyed across the course of the 90 minutes, it would have been hard to make a case for either side to have deserved the three points here, in a game were the momentum swung one way then the other throughout.
It was the hosts who started the brighter, with former Barnsley man Kieffer Moore headed over what would prove to be just about his only of the game at the side he left in the summer from Michael Jacobs’ corner inside the opening 60 seconds, before Nathan Byrne’s cross grazed the Barnsley crossbar, with Latics captain Sam Morsy firing wide from inside the area as the Latics worked the ball back into the box minutes later.
Barnsley were not without early chances of their own however, with their clearest one coming 15 minutes, a free-kick 30 yards from the Wigan was rolled short to Mamadou Thiam, who unleashed an absolute rocket of a shot which was well tipped over by David Marshall in the Latics’ goal.
Despite that, the pace of Jamal Lowe looked to be giving Wigan the greater threat going forward. After Aapo Halme received a booking for bringing down the Wigan man as he broke clear down the Barnsley left, the summer signing from Portsmouth then tried his luck down the right, only to be well dealt with by the Tykes defence.
This however, was a game with momentum swinging one way then the other, and it was Barnsley who had the next chance, as Wigan’s Chey Dunkley headed a cross right to the feet of Conor Chaplin, only for the attacker to fire wide from inside the area.
Then it was Wigan’s turn to threaten again. Halme was arguably fortunate not to receive a second yellow within half an hour for bringing down Gavin Massey on the edge of the Barnsley area, with Charlie Mulgrew whipping the resultant free kick towards the top corner, only for Barnsley ‘keeper Brad Collins to tip behind at the last moment.
For all the chances throughout the course of the half, there seem to be a distinct lack of a killer instinct from either side, which was perhaps best summed up late in the opening 45, when what started out as a well worked free kick routine from Wigan, ended in something of a goalmouth scramble, with Toby Sibbick comfortably clearing Jacobs’ tame header towards goal.
Having ridden out that Wigan pressure late in the first half, it was Barnsley who started the second half looking the more threatening.
After enjoying plenty of possession in the wide areas of Wigan’s half without any success in the first five minutes after the break, Ben Williams then took matters into his own hands, breaking into the Wigan area from the Barnsley left, only to see his cross cum shot flash across the face of goal.
Minutes later, and the Tykes should have been even closer to opening the scoring, as Luke Thomas found Chaplin in space inside the Wigan area, only for the striker to scuff his shot so well wide of the mark.
It would be some time until the next chances came in the game, but when they did, David Marshall once again showed his ability between the posts for Wigan.
First, the goalkeeper parried Mike Bahre low drilled effort away from the bottom corner, before showing some brilliant reactions to get across to his back post and deny Luke Thomas from the resulting corner.
Now Barnsley were in the ascendency, and after one cross from Thiam flashed across the face of goal, another from Ben Williams was somehow put high and wide from all of two yards out by substitute Patrick Schmidt with just ten minutes remaining.
There was still however time for one last swing in momentum, and after Evans headed a Mulgrew free kick straight at Collins from close range, the hosts were handed a huge incentive on the stroke of 90 minutes, as Ben Willimas, was sent off for a horror challenge on Wigan substitute Lee Evans.
Try as the hosts might though, they were unable to force Collins into action again, with The Tykes ten men hanging on for a point that leaves both sides lingering around the drop zone heading into the first international break of the season.