Uwe Rosler saw his new charges break a six game losing streak with a hard won three two victory which saw his team hanging on at the end as their much discussed fitness levels saw them fade towards the end of the game.
Rosler opted to change the team who went down to a gallant defeat in Europe on Thursday with recalls for Boyce, Ramis, Watson and Holt, with Perch, Rogne, Gomez and Espinoza the ones to make way.
Wigan started off playing with a lot more pace and direction than was on show at the last home game, the abject defeat against Derby which spelled the end of Owen Coyle’s tenure. Grant Holt played as the target man with Powell and McManaman looking to attack the Bolton flanks. McManaman was a revelation with Rosler seemingly having cut the invisible shackles which had stymied many of his performances this season he constantly attacked Baptiste down the right both on the outside and cutting inside putting over telling crosses for Holt and his supporting cast of attacking midfielders.
Wigan’s first goal had a degree of controversy about it, a snap shot from Holt appeared to be deflected of Mills out for a corner. However the Wigan players were appealing for a handball which was confirmed by the assistant referee and Watson converted the resultant penalty for the lead
Wigan continued to pour forward, showing an attacking flair which was pleasing on the eye and a steel in midfield with McArthur and McCann working tirelessly to close down Bolton’s attempts.
Wigan doubled their lead when good work again by McManaman down the right found McCann in the centre of the penalty area, his shot was poor but the ball looped through the air and Powell performed an overhead kick which sailed into the net over the stranded Lonergan in the Bolton goal.
Wigan were cruising but committed the cardinal sin of sitting back and trying to defend the lead and Bolton took heart from this with Lee and Danns constantly probing for a weakness. Carson had to be alert to save from mason as did Barnett when he cleared off the line a shot from Moritz.
These should have served as a wake up call for Wigan but within three minutes of the restart, Bolton were back in the game when Carson could only palm the shot out to Danns who headed the ball into an open goal.
Wigan opted to make a double change, removing the tiring Beausejour and Holt with Cainey and McClean in an attempt to stymie the Bolton pressure but although McClean looked sharp and created a good couple or chances for Powell, Bolton continued to dominate midfield against a tiring Wigan three and the pressure told when Lee fell down in the penalty area clutching his face following a challenge from Boyce. Mr Friend ruled that the Wigan captain’s foot was dangerously high and had caught the Bolton player although Boyce’s reaction suggested he felt the midfielder had made a meal of the challenge. Mr Friend was unmoved and booked Boyce in the process. Moritz converted the penalty and it was all square and very much game on.
Rosler swapped the wingers over and Wigan immediately looked more balanced with McClean on the left and McManaman on the right with Baptiste once again feeling the pressure from the mercurial England under twenty one international.
Wigan took the lead again when good work from Boyce following a corner found McManaman and he fired home a shot from a narrow angle to give Wigan the lead.
Bolton responded well and Carson once again had to pull off several reflex saves as Bolton poured forward sensing an equaliser but Wigan held firm and the roars at full time were of relief and whilst it was a valuable three points it can have left Rosler with no illusions of the task facing him especially around the collective fitness of the team.
Team and Player Ratings
Carson……8, kept Wigan in the game with some fine saves
Boyce…..6, Kept driving the team on
Barnett……7, another fine performance
Ramis…..6, slowly getting back to his best.
Beausejour…….6, supported well in the first half but tired, withdrawn.
Watson……6, tried hard, poor set pieces, withdrawn
McArthur….7, played well.
McCann…..6.5, worked hard
Powell….7, another fine creative performance.
Holt……5, looked off the pace, withdrawn.
McManaman…..9, a classy performance from the man of the match.
Crainey ( 6 ) for Beausejour.Linked up well
McClean ( 7 )for Holt. A dynamic attacking foil for Powell.
Perch ( 6 ) for Watson. Held the back line together.
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