A soporific goaless draw at the DW last night as Wigan were frustrated by a QPR side determined niot to concede along with little desire to score sees Uwe Rosler’s men travel to Loftus Road on Monday seeking to secure a play off final spot.
Rosler returned to his preferred starting eleven following the experimental side which took the field against Blackburn last Saturday which meant eight changes with Carson, Caldwell and Kiernan the only players backing up.
Football matches hinge in split second decisions and if Wigan fail to progress to the final the two most talked about will be the failure to award Wigan a penalty following an elbow by Hill on Kiernan which left the young Wigan defender pole axed and Fortunes blast over the bar when well placed in the second half
Harry Redknapp talks a good game and his promise to take the game to Wigan proved to be just that ….talk as Rangers with experienced defenders Hill and Dunne, defended deep and frustrated all Wigan’s attacking acumen. In midfield Wigan’s potent attacking threats of Maloney and Gomez were largely nullified by Barton and O’Neill and up front Fortune cut a lonely figure, devoid of support and any opportunity to trouble Rob Green int he Ranger’s goal.
This meant that talkign points from the first half were few and far between but what there were sparked enough controversy.
The first was when McManaman broke down the right, he pushed the ball past Dunne and with Maloney and Fortune breaking into the area in support looked well place to deliver a cross. Dunne however had other ideas, a cynical challenge earning him a yellow card when maybe a red would have been awarded had the challenge been later on in the game
The next moment saw McArthur and McManaman booked in the space of ten seconds, James Mc for a block that Mike Jones allowed advantaged followed by a two footed rash challenge by Callum which has seen him awarded red cards in the past
Actual football chances were almost as rare as hen’s teeth with McArthur blockign a shot from O’Neil and a fanstastic chest down and shot from Gomez which Grenn blocked only to see the ball hit the post and spin away.
The next contentious decison involved Hill and Kiernan with the Rangers defender appearing to catch Keirnan with an elbow int he penalty area, a transgression which went unchallenged but could certainly have brought a red card and penalty had Mr Jones seen fit to take action.
Another off the ball challenge saw Caldwell booked for what the Rangers players were clearly indicating was a challenge to the head, the referee was unsighted and the foul was highlighted by the assistant on the far side, a factor which probably speared Mr Caldwell an early bath.
The half drew to a close with Wigan totally dominating possessions and territory but having nothing to show for their efforts.
Rangers started the second half the brighter with ten minutes of pressure showing that they have the skill and pace to trouble most teams in the division and Carson was forced into a couple of saves including one superb one handed save at full stretch.
QPT quickly returned to their shell however, content to allow Wigan to blunt their attacking moves at the edge of the penalty area, giving Rob Green one of the quietest nights of his career
Latics’ best chance fell to Fortune and left the big striker with his head in his hands. A corner from Maloney was only half cleared, man of the match Kiernan fired the ball back across to Fortune who was unmarked in the area with a large amount of unguarded goal to aim at. However the ball was blazed high over the bar and Wigan’s best chance of the night went with it.
After that it was half chances, a Fortune shot was half blocked and despite the introduction of Maynard and Waghorn for McManaman and Fortune, Rangers comfortably saw the game out and must feel that they have the advantage in front of their home crowd on Monday.
For Wigan, Rosler’s team will travel to London knowing it is still in their hands and that they have the ability to cause problems for Rangers but after three games against the hoops this season with no goals scored to they have the firepower?
Team Line up and Player Ratings
Carson……7, a couple of good saves.
Boyce……6, steady in defence few chances to attack.
Caldwell…..6, an unfussy hard working performance.
Kiernan…..8, MOM superb in defence dangerous when in attack.
Perch….6, solid in defence lacked his usual attacking acumen.
Beausejour….5, steady in defence, reluctant to take players on , too often passing backwards.
Gomez…..6, well shackled by Barton, one fine shot in the first half.
Maloney….5, strangely subdued..
McArthur…..7, hard working and industrious.
Fortune…..5, missed a good chance. withdrawn
McManaman….6, started brightly and then faded. Withdrawn
Maynard for Fortune……5, little impact.
Waghorn for McManaman…..5, little impact
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