Wigan made the pre Christmas trip to Royal Berkshire looking to build on two fine performances in the past week and close the gap on the teams in the play off places one of whom was today’s opponents Reading.
Uwe Rosler made three changes from the team that performed so well in Wednesday’s abandoned game , one of which was enforced with a welcome return for Ali Al Habsi in the Wigan goal in place of the injured Carson, the other two being tactical with Beausejour and McManaman replacing Crainey and Gomez respectively.
Star striker Grant Holt had to be content with a place ont he bench having not scored for nearly four months which meant that top scorer Nick Powell had to reprise cis role as a striker. On the bench there was no place for skipper Emerson Boyce or Marc-Antoine Fortune
Wigan started brightly and within ten minutes they were ahead. Good work by McClean down the wing found McCann and his effort found the back of the net as Wigan continued their resurgence under the new management regime..
Within two minutes the lead had doubled to two when Rogne found Powell and the in form loanees powerful shot beat McCarthy in the Reading goal.
Wigan continued to exert the pressure, playing high tempo football which unsettled their opponents and the away side had further good chances to McCann and Watson.
Reading gradually clawed their way back into the game, with their first real chance falling to Pogrebrnak who forced a fine save out of Al Habsi and Wigan defence reacted well to block a powerful shot from Drenthe.
Wigan trooped off at half time satisfied with a forty five minutes well done with former Wigan keeper Nigel Atkins being left with no illusion as to the task ahead of his Reading chargers if they were to get anything out of the game.
Both sides opted to make changes at half time. Wigan with Uwe Rosler maybe having one eye of players fitness levels and a number of games over the festive period withdrew McManaman and Powell for Gomez and Keane and Reading brought on Obita for Cummings.
Reading started the second half brightly and with ten minutes they ahd the chance to come back into the game when McCann fouled Gunther in the box. Billy Sharp stepped up to take the penalty but blazed high over the bar and Wigan’s lead remained intact.
.The game continued to be end to end with Sharp and McArthur frustrated with good shots for the home and away sides respectively.
Reading gradually took control of the midfield and eventually gained a foothold in the game when Pogrebrnak rose majestically above the Wigan defence to head a Guthrie corner intot he top corner of the net with AL Habsi helpless to react.
Uwe Rosler’s reaction was to try and shore up the defence, replacing the adventurous Beausejour with the more defence minded Crainey.
For Reading Nigel Atkins opted to bring on forward Le Fondre to replace the midfielder Drenthe in an attempt to secure at least a draw out of the game. Reading continued to attack looking for the goal that would earn them a point with Wigan content to soak up the pressure and try and catch Reading on the break, the best chances for Wigan falling to Keane and McClean.
The full time whistle saw Rosler continue his unbeaten league start to his Wigan tenure with a team performance full of vim, vigour and no little skill.
Latics Line Up; Al Habsi, Perch, Barnett, Rogne, Beausejour, Watson (c), McArthur, McCann, McManaman, Powell, McClean
Gomez for McManaman 45 mins
Keane for Powell 45 mins
Crainey for Beausejour 70 mins
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