A goal on his debut start for Wigan Athletic by Jordan Flores followed by a second from Michael Jacobs was enough to secure the three points for Wigan in a game high in endeavor but low in chances.
Wigan were forced to start the game with three changes due to suspension and injury to the side narrowly defeated at Port Vale on their last outing with Barnett, Vuckic and Davies resulting in first team debut starts for the aforementioned Flores and Hiwula along with a recall for Max Power.
Both teams started brightly playing the ball along the ground in a manner which was a far cry from football at this level some ten years ago. For Wigan Flores and Jacobs stood out and both Jacobs and Pearce had early chances to open the scoring but both were from long range and didn’t trouble the keeper. Power went one better and forced a save from Maxwell in the Town goal. Fleetwood were industrious without causing significant trouble to O’Donnell in the Wigan goal and the most noticeable contribution from the away side was a bad foul on Hiwula by Ryan for which the tenacious midfielder earned a yellow card. Hiwula then had a good chance from close range following good work by Kenny on the right but the striker could only shoot wide of the far post.
Fleetwood’s first real chance followed soon afterwards but Matt fired wide when he should have at least troubled O’Donnell in the Wigan goal.
Wigan made Fleetwood pay for this wastefulness soon after when Jacobs powered down the right and fired over a good cross which was scrambled clear by the Fleetwood defence. The ball only went as far as Flores whose powerful left footed shot rocketed into the goal with Maxwell having no chance of stopping it.
Wigan looked dangerous from set pieces, both corners and free kicks and it was from one of the latter that their next chance came when a long range shot from Power only narrowly missed going in at the far post.
Ryan was lucky not to earn a second yellow card and an invite to be the first in the shower when another bad tackle, this time on Flores earned him a telling off rather than the card it deserved.
Wigan are making a habit of scoring very quickly after half time and so it proved again when James showed his attacking prowess down the left and his pinpoint pass found Jacobs who didn’t hesitate, drilling a low shot into the net. This should have been the cue for Wigan to dominate the game but not for the first time this season they opted to cede position and defend deep against a team that switched its formation to 4-4-2 from 3-5-2 and upped the tempo. Their efforts were rewarded on the hour mark a Sarcevic free kick fortuitously found its way to Hornby-Forbes who stabbed the ball home from close in much to the angst of O’Donnell in the Wigan goal.
This spurred the away side to attack with gusto but the Wigan defence stood firm, looking to counter attack at pace with Jacobs as so often this season the key man. The best chances to Wigan fell to substitute Odelusi whose woeful effort when the least he should have done was put the ball on target but instead rolled up to the corner flag and a header from man of the match Jacobs.
Fleetwood created enough chances late on to win the game with Proctor heading over the bar and then substitute (and former Wigan trialist) David Ball shot against the post when receiving the ball from a corner.
Wigan looked to be on the ropes for the last fifteen minutes but hung on for a victory their first sixty minutes effort just about deserved.
Team Line up and Player ratings
O’Donnell……6, did everything asked of him.
Kenny…………6, an improved performance from last week
James…………7, showed good attacking flair down the left
Pearce………..6, solid unfussy performance
Daniels………..6, a no frills performance
McCann………6.5, some great runs out of defence
Power…………6, competent (withdrawn)
Perkins……….7, another superb linchpin role in midfield
Flores…………7.5, quick on the ball, tenacious in defence and superb goal. (withdrawn)
Jacobs……….8, at the heart of everything Latics did well
Hiwula………..6, starved of possession for most of the game, (withdrawn)
Chow (for Power)……..6, a solid return to the fray.
Odelusi (for Hiwula)….6, missed a really good chance, badly
Kellet (for Flores)……….6, quick to the ball and good lay offs
Att ………………. 8,603
Entertainment rating….5/10, didn’t set the pulses racing but hey its three points in the bag
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