Wigan produced a tremendous fightback from two nil down at the DW Stadium on Thursday night with a last minute of injury time winner from captain Craig Morgan after Wigan had seemed dead and buried against a Gillingham side who thoroughly deserved their two goal lead and could have been further ahead had Bradley Dack had the luck his exciting football deserved.
Wigan made two changes to the side which had drawn at Scunthopre, one enforced with Wildschut returning to his parent club, surprisingly replaced by central defender Leon Barnett with Daniels moving to the wing back role and the second change a tactical one with James earning a recall in a straight swap for McCann
Both teams started brightly but mindful of each other’s ability both teams seemed reluctant to commit too many men forwards in case they got caught on the counter attack. The screens on the concourse prior to the game were highlighting the oppositions key player and for Gillingham Dack was the man highlighted and he almost repaid that opinion in spades when a wonderful free kick was curled around the wall, beating Jussi in the Wigan goal all ends up only to see the ball come back off the post into open play allowing the Wigan defence to scramble the ball clear.
Latics hit back quickly and good work by Daniels down the right saw a powerful low cross met by Pearce who hadn’t retreated from a previous move but the defender couldn’t get a clean bit on the ball and the chance went begging.
Gillingham’s enterprising play bore fruit soon afterwards when a fine through ball saw Samuel the on loan striker from Reading beat the offside trap and coolly slot the ball past
Jaaskelainen at his near post much to the Finnish keepers chagrin.
Again Wigan tried to hit back with Power forcing Nelson into a fine save and then Kellett header the ball wide from a corner.
Wigan continued to press for an equaliser but with Grigg cutting a lonely figure up front on his own, Gillingham looked comfortable in dealing with whatever Wigan could throw at them up until half time.
Both sides started the second half brightly and once again dangerman Dack was at the fore of the away sides’ efforts and a brilliant swivel and turn saw his powerful goalbound shot blocked by the head of Craig Morgan although the defender seemed to know little about it. Gillingham soon doubled their advantage however when a crossed ball from Loft reached Donnelly unchallenged who headed the ball home for an easy goal with questions being asked of Daniels’ defending in the lead up to the goal.
Wigan immediately made a double substitution, bringing on Hiwula and McCann for Kellett.
and James respectively switching to two forwards up front. This new set up immediately looked more dangerous and within a minute Hiwula had broken free of the Gillingham defensive shackles but his shot was too high to trouble the keeper. Hiwula was involved in the first Wigan goal a few minutes later however when his fine run and cross down the left was met at the back post by Jacobs whose header across the goal found Grigg who rifled the ball home from close range.
Both Wigan and their fans were lifted by this goal and the Latics players suddenly pushed forwards looking for an equaliser, the goal came when a long range powerful shot from Power was spilled by the keeper and the balled trickled over the line to the despair of the hapless Gill’s keeper.
That man Dack looked to win the game on his own, jinking past three Latics’ defenders until he only had the keeper to beat and just when it seemed the mercurial midfielder would score, he managed to lose control of the ball which spun away from him for a goal kick.
Gillingham looked to have settled for a point but Wigan weren’t to be denied a victory and after Garmston conceded two corners in a minute, for the second one, Power swung over the ball for Morgan to rise majestically to head home unchallenged for Wigan and the victory.
Team Line Up and Player Ratings
Jaaskelainen………6, should have saved the first goal, poor kicking again.
James……………….6, too timid going forwards, withdrawn
Morgan……………..7, played well and took his goal superbly
Barnett……………..6, not his best game
Daniels…………….6, attacked well down the right but at fault for the second goal.
Perkins…………….6, subdued and second best to Dack
Power………………8, another excellent performance
Kellett……………….6, started well then faded, withdrawn.
Jacobs………………9, a class act MOM again, withdrawn
Grigg………………..6, lost as a lone forward, looked better when working in a pair
Hiwula for James……….7, made a difference
McCann for Kellett……..8, excellent down the left
Davies for Jacobs……… n/a
Entertainment Rating………… 8/10, a game with pretty much everything
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