No one does coming back down to earth like Wigan Athletic, a simple narrow defeat? No not for us for we are Wigan Athletic and we can’t do normal.
We either have to be the best in the world or the worst in the world (in the eyes of some of our support at least) – Tuesday night was a case in point.
Latics flying high after three straight victories facing a Charlton side on a run of two consecutive defeats, you would have expected Shaun Maloney’s side to come out on top.
But alas football doesn’t work like that.
Eyebrows were raised before kick-off as three changes (one enforced) were made by Maloney, a return for Charlie Wyke that had been clamoured for by a lot of the fan base. Starts for Callum Lang and Tom Pearce who came in for Steven Sessegnon.
To say the changes upset Latics rhythm would be a huge understatement, gone was the swift attacking interplay of the last three games and the defending as a team as Latics were completely over run by a very impressive Charlton side.
At the time I didn’t think Latics had played ‘that’ badly in that first half, it certainly didn’t feel like a 3-0 hammering but a 3-0 hammering was what it was.
Callum Lang’s strike against the bar from a freekick and a chance from Thelo could have meant a different outcome of that first half but if you don’t put your chances away you leave yourself open to what we did on Tuesday evening.
The second half saw the introduction of Humphreys, Godo and Scott Smith that made a huge difference. Pulling it back to 3-2 on the stroke of 90’ made it feel like we were looking at a famous comeback, sadly Sam Tickle couldn’t become Jimmy Glass so our last chance of note sailed harmlessly over the bar.
Maloney came out immediately and held his hands up for making a mistake in his selections which was refreshing but only told half the story. I suspect some complacency and an expectation only to turn up had crept in. It was referenced by Maloney in fact and I imagine won’t happen again.
We’ve a young manager and a young side, they will make mistakes but we will get better and with more experience for the lads in the side and the lads in the dugout results like Tuesday will become the exception rather than the rule.
For a team that is aspiring for mid table mediocrity (after one of the most damaging and horrific periods in the clubs history) you will win some games and you will lose some games.
The days of us steam rolling League One on our way back to the Championship for now are at an end.
If we are to finish in mid table this season with that points deduction and a side with an average of 22 we’ll have done well.
Currently we’re right on target for that.
Speaking of our academy, considering the players we’ve signed from elite academies this summer it’s actually our own home grown talent – Tickle, Adeeko, Smith, Hughes, Stones even Lang and McManaman that are shining brightest.
That’s great credit to Gregor Rioch and his work across the last decade.
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