EVERTON 0 WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
EVERTON squandered another clutch of chances at Goodison Park today to let relegation rivals Wigan escape with a goalless draw.
Tim Cahill struck a post, Seamus Coleman was denied by goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi's legs and Steven Pienaar fired over from an inviting position as Goodison echoed to a chorus of groans and boos once again.
The result leaves Everton just two points above the bottom three with a trip to in-form Manchester City up next.
Everton started very brightly and had two legitimate penalty claims in the first four minutes.
First Tim Cahill appeared to have his heels clipped as he pulled back the trigger, after chesting down Phil Jagielka's long ball, then Steve Gohouri shoved Marouane Fellaini in the back as he was about to rise to meet Leighton Baines free-kick.
Neither the crowd nor the Everton players - Cahill and Fellaini apart - made much of either incident, but it underlined Everton's desire to start the match the way they ended last week's at Stamford Bridge.
Louis Saha headed wide under pressure from Leighton Baines' far post free-kick, but Everton's hopes of an early breakthrough dwindled as the match began to become increasingly fractured.
Phil Neville was booked for a clumsy trip on Charles N'Zogbia, then Marouane Fellaini needed lengthy treatment after Hendry Thomas led with his elbow in an aerial challenge and connected with the Everton midfielder's jaw.
Steven Pienaar followed his captain into referee Mike Oliver's notebook for a cynical trip then Hendry Thomas was cautioned for exacting retribution on the South African schemer.
In amongst all the niggles Everton were trying to chisel a way through Wigan's dogged back four but the closest they came was Jack Rodwell's header from Distin's head-back which bounced off Watson and balooned onto the roof of the net.
An increasingly edgy home crowd wasn't helping the home side find any rhythm to their play, but four minutes before the interval Fellaini drove a supremely inviting low cross inside the Wigan six yard box and Cahill was inches away from connecting as he slid in dramatically.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez replaced Tom Cleverley with Ronnie Stam at half-time, but it was Everton who started the half the more positively again.
A typically forceful Seamus Coleman run ended with Tim Cahill pulled up for offside, then Steven Pienaar finally called goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi into action with a long range drive which the keeper beat away spectacularly.
After 49 minutes Baines drove a fierce cross into the box which Jagielka flicked goalwards but again Al Habsi was in the right position to collect the effort.
Everton were starting to look increasingly like a break through and in the space of two minutes they carved out and squandered FOUR excellent openings.. After 58 minutes Saha brilliantly took Pienaar's driven pass in his path, held off his marker and drove a rising shot which Al Habsi superbly beat away. A minute later Cahill hung in the air beautifully to meet Baines cross but saw his downwards header bounce off the foot of a post. Then Seamus Coleman raced clean through waited until he could almost see the whites of goalkeeper Al Habsi's eyes before trying to drive the ball under him, only for the keeper to block with his legs then finally Pienaar found himself in an excellent shooting position eight yards from goal but lifted his angled effort over the crossbar.
David Moyes had seen enough and with half-an-hour remaining introduced Jermaine Beckford for Saha. That substitution was welcomed by the Blues fans, but the switch which followed five minutes later wasn't. Steven Pienaar was limping heavily and David Moyed furiously exhorted Victor Anichebe to get himself ready for action.
After what seemed like an age the young striker, reported to have turned down a contract offer in excess of £30,000 a week earlier that day, ran on to a chorus of boss.
Anichebe's first touch was also booed, and with the home crowd becoming increasingly agitated at Everton's inability to force a breakthrough the atmosphere was more and more tense.
Beckford thought he had finally broken the deadlock with 20 minutes remaining when he sprinted clear onto Anichebe's pass and finished clinically, but the substitute was denied by a fractional offside decision.
Jack Rodwell was just as close 13 minutes from time. He let fly from 20 yards and the ball just skipped up in front of Al Habsi put flew narrowly wide.
With six minutes left the two frustrating sides of Jermaine Beckford were in evidence again. The striker's movement found him in acres of space on the edge of the Wigan penalty area, but a heavy first touch saw the sniff of an opening extinguished.
In time added on Everton almost experienced the ignonimy of an ill-deserved third home defeat in succession when Ronnie Stam was denied one-handed by Tim Howard in a rare breakaway.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman, Fellaini, Rodwell, Pienaar (Anichebe 65); Cahill, Saha (Beckford 60 mins). Unused substitutes: Mucha, Bilyaletdinov, Osman, Yakubu, Duffy.
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-2-3-1): Al Habsi, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Thomas (McArthur 64), Watson, N'Zogbia, S Caldwell, Cleverley (Stam 45mins), Diame, Figueroa, Rodallega. Unused substitutes: Pollitt, G Caldwell, Gomez, McManaman, Boselli.
Referee: Mike Oliver. Bookings: Neville (7 mins) foul, Pienaar (26) foul, Thomas (31) foul, Gohouri (80) kicking ball away, Figueroa (89) foul. Attendance: 32,853.