A total collapse by Wigan in the second half against a resurgent Bolton side saw the home side take the spoils leaving Wigan on the cusp of the relegation zone and leaving unanswered questions about botht he future of the players and the manager
As per usual, Wigan manager Uwe Rosler once again rotated the starting line up, recalling fresh again Huws and Fortune and bringing McManaman off the bench with Barnett also returning after serving a one match suspension. These four replaced McClean, Waghorn, Cowie and Tavernier all of whom dropped to the benc
Wigan started the game on the front foot with Forshaw dominating the early midfield battles and feeding the ball trough to the industrious McManaman and Fortune.
McManaman was playing on the left and his endeavours almost bore fruit when his ball found the onrushing Maloney whose shot went narrowly wide. McManaman then hit a powerful shot against the cross bar.
As the half wore on Bolton grew in stature led by the two Davies’; Mark in midfield and Craig up front, the latter gave Wigan’s central defenders a torrid time who were unable to deal with his powerful running
Bolton’s Lee was given a free role in midfield and one of his mercurial forays forward saw him lay the ball off to Clayton but his shot was blocked by Carson.
Bolton continued to press Wigan back with the away side seemingly unwilling or unable to push out of defence. Barnett and Kiernan both seemed incapable of clearing the ball away from danger with every ball seemingly landing at the feet of a home player thereby increasing the pressure on the embattled Wigan defence
McManaman continued to be Wigan’s dangerman and he broke from midfield and once again hit the goal, this time the post.
Whatever was in the half time cuppa for Wigan didn’t work as they turned in a forty five minutes best described as abject. An inability to close Bolton down in midfield increased the pressure on an already struggling defence and this led to the first goal when Clayton got behind a static Barnett on the left hand side of the penalty area, firing the ball through the legs of the onrushing Carson.
One quickly became two as once again the central defence failed to do its work , this time leaving Craig Davies unmarked for a simple header into the net.
Wigan were stunned and were all at sea when Clayton broke through following yet another defensive error but his shot went narrowly wide of the post.
Their persistence was rewarded when Mills was rightly adjudged to have been hauled down by the hapless Barnett, Lee making no mistake with the penalty
Wigan looked to minimise the impact of the Bolton resurgence and with substitutes McCann and especially McClean providing a spark so sadly lacking in many of the starting eleven. A fine break by McClean down the left saw the Irishman pull the ball back for a fine finish by McManaman
It was too little too late however and the result was never in doubt after the first goal and despite Wigan’s huffing and puffing in the latter stages, the referee’s full time whistle brought an end to the long suffering misery that the large following of away fans had endured for the majority of the ninety minutes.
Team Line up and player ratings
Carson…….5, left exposed by those in front of him.
Perch………4, caught for pace time and again.
Barnett…….3, his worst game in a WAFC shirt
Kiernan……3, see Barnett
Figueroa….5, The only defender to emerge with any credit
Forshaw….6, tried to push the team forwards ( withdrawn)
Huws……..5, out played by his Bolton opposite number (withdrawn)
Maloney….5, flitted in and out of the game ( withdrawn)
McManaman….7.5, MOM, only attacking threat, deserved his goal.
Espinoza……5, failed to impose himself on the game.
Fortune……….5, worked hard but limited.
McCann for Huws……6, instilled some steel into midfield.
McClean for Maloney…….7, showed an attacking prowess sadly lacking in others.
Kvist for Forshaw…….N/A
Entertainment rating….5/10 over as a contest shortly after half time
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