The short trip through Lancashire seeking to end a run of three away league games without a win or even a goal. A mediocre performance against a well drilled Blackpool side saw this grim run continue with Wigan’s away form rapidly becoming a cause for concern.
Owen Coyle opted to rotate his squad from the last league game with Shotton and Beausejour dropping to the bench with Boyce and McManaman their replacements.
Wigan started brightly with Watson and man of the match McArthur controlling the game through a five man midfield, looking to release McClean and McManaman down the wings with Powell an industrious lone target man.
Owen Coyle’s decision to leave fit again forwards Holt and Fortune on the bench looked to be the wrong one when Powell headed wide from a Rogne flick on, when it seemed easier to score, a chance that would have suited Grant Holt.
Blackpool endured this spell of Wigan domination and slowly clawed their was back into the game with the mercurial Ince the main focal point of their attacking moves, ably supported by Dobbie and Fuller. This resulted in a spate of corners which Wigan dealt with comfortably without any real threat.
The turning point came in the twenty fourth minute when an oh so simple lob from Bishop left the Wigan defence in tatters and as Gosling entered the penalty area, he slipped the ball past Carson who was ruled by the referee to bring the Blackpool man down and a penalty was awarded.
Tom Ince stepped up to take the penalty, sent Carson the wrong way and the home side had the lead.
For the rest of the first half,WIgan huffed and puffed but all too often the efforts of Watson and McArthur were wasted by their more attack minded colleagues in McManaman, Gomez and Powell , the latter going close however with a neat little flick from a Watson cross. Indeed the best effort came from the makeshift left back Perch.
Half time came with the away side not having one attack on goal and needing an inspirational team talk from Owen Coyle to drive the team forward.
Whatever was said at half time, it was Blackpool who were the early beneficiaries as Fuller gave Rogne the slip but thankfully he couldn’t complete the move with a goal.
Wigan were continuing to struggle to create any meaningful chances with McClean’s widely fired wide shots the best they had to show for their efforts.
Coyle decided that changes were needed, bringing on Holt and Fortune for Powell and the ineffective Gomez, switching from the usual 4-5-1 formation to a more attacking 4-4-2 with the tactical switch resulting in a more direct style of play with long balls being 2lumped2 up field from the back.
The tactic almost bore fruit with Holt using his aerial prowess to win headers, two of which came back off the bar and a half clearance from one of these fell to Barnett whose powerful goalbound shot was saved by Gilks, the other fell to Boyce whose shot was cleared off the line.
For Blackpool , Ince had two good chances both of which were well saved by Carson.
Wigan’s miserable afternoon was compounded by the straight red card awarded to McClean for lashing out against McKenzie, the Irishman vehemently protesting that he had been stamped on .
The full time whistle brought to an end a disappointing afternoon for Wigan on the Fylde coast and any ambition to be challenging for promotion will have to be met with far better performances than this.
Carson….7, some fine saves as usual
Boyce……6, worked hard, unlucky not to score
Barnett…..7, the best defender for Wigan.
Rogne….5, poor, laboured in defence and poor passing options.
Perch….6, did ok out of position.
Gomez….4, very poor, withdrawn
McArthur…..9, by far and away Wigan’s best player MOM.
Watson…..7, never stopped trying to take Wigan forwards.
McManaman…5, a shadow of the player he was last season. withdrawn
McClean…6, tried hard, unlucky to be sent off.
Powell…..6, led a lonely existence up front, withdrawn.
Holt….6.5, showed his value with two wonderful headers which hit the woodwork.
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