A goal from Vuckic’s goal late in the second half enabled Wigan to retain their position in the automatic promotion places by securing all three points against the division’s form team Bradford City at the DW Stadium yesterday.
Wigan manager Caldwell showed faith in naming the same starting line up from the high scoring draw at Colchester last week with a home debut for loanee Stephen Warnock. There was one change on the bench with Hendry replacing McNaughton
Bradford, roared on by a raucous away following, took the game to Wigan and had the first chance when Morgan dallied on the ball for too long on the edge of his area and was dispossessed by Reid whose powerful shot was half saved by Jaaskelainen, the ball spinning away for the first corner of the game.
Latics looked to use their skilful wingers and catch Bradford out wide with pace and Colclough had early success on the right with a superb run and cross but unfortunately for Wigan there was no one in the six yard area to attack the cross and the opportunity went begging..
Clear cut chances in the first half were rare although Wigan fans were left with their heads n their hands when Wildschut broke down the left, cut inside and fired a rasping drive which hit the near post with the keeper Williams well beaten.
The majority of the game was played in the centre third of the pitch with Perkins, Morsy and Power going toe to toe with their physical opponents led by Cullen and McMahon
Wigan dominated possession and secured a plethora of corners, the majority of which were taken short but the Bradford defence superbly marshalled by Clarke held firm.
The half time saw both sides troop off the pitch n doubt satisfied with their effort but knowing that they would have to up the ante if they were going to secure the valuable three points.
The second half started with both sides pushing forwards in an end to end game with Wildschut coming more and more into the game ably supported down the left by man of the match Warnock. Wildschut’s running at pace opened up the Bradford defence on several occasions but neither the big Dutchman or his attacking compatriots could find a way past a resolute defence.
Bradford were by no means second best and Billy Clarke was presented with a gilt edged chance but shot narrowly wide despite being unchallenged.
Gary Caldwell opted to bring Vuckic on for Morsy on the hour mark and the Premier League loanee for the second week on the trot sparked the Wigan attack into life with his skilful lay offs and supporting runs which gave more space to Grigg and Wildschut.
Reid and Evans both had good chances for the visitors but neither of them could get the ball on target to trouble Jaaskelainen in the Wigan goal The visitors best chance fell to Clarke who shot well wide when seemingly set to score unmarked in the middle of the penalty area.
Wigan seem to make a habit of scoring late on in games and so it proved again yesterday when substitute Davies held the ball up well with his back to goal and fed it out to Vuckic who slotted it past the advancing Williams from a narrow angle and Wigan had the lead.
Bradford threw everything at Wigan in the dying embers of the game but despite a triple substitution by the Bantams manager Phil Parkinson, the home side held firm with the best effort being a host from Thomas which went over the bar, an effort which summed up Bradford’s day.
Full time brought a cacophonous round of applause from the Latics faithful who were under no doubt of what a massive three points their team had just secured.
Jaaskelainen …….6, a quiet afternoon, made lots of friends in the away end
Wabara……………..5, solid in defence but struggled going forwards
Daniels……………..5, worked hard, withdrawn
Morgan……………..5, not his finest hour ( and a half)
Warnock…………..8, a fine home debut MOM
Morsy………………6, busy all afternoon, surprisingly withdrawn
Power……………….5, lacked his usual zip
Perkins………………7, covered every blade of grass
Wildschut…………..7, good going forwards but drifted in and out of the game
Colclough………….6, a good first half but faded after the break, withdrawn
Grigg…………….. 6.5, well marked out of the game but never stopped working
Vuckic for Morsy…..7, unpredictable play caused the Bantams problems, excellent goal
Davies for Colclough………..5, needs to read up on the offside rule
Barnett for Daniels……5, nearly scored an own goal
Entertainment rating 6/10 with so much at stake for both teams it was never going to be pretty
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