For the second time in a week, Wigan secured a two all draw at home against opponents who they should have expected to beat on paper but in reality as Wigan trooped of a sun kissed DW stadium at the end, they could consider on the basis of chances that they were fortunate to have secured a draw.[PPD_PAYTOREADMORE]
Owen Coyle made three changes from Tuesday’s game, with Maloney an absentee due to a foot injury and McClean and Watson having to make do with a place on the bench, their replacements being Fortune, Beausejour and McArthur as Coyle looked to a 4-4-2 system in an effort to secure the first home win of his tenure.
‘Boro lined up with a defensive minded 4-51 with Jutkiewicz in the lone striker role but the away side started the brighter and Jutkiewicz forced the first of many fine saves out of Carson within the first two minutes when with an ominous portent of things to come, he got away from the attentions of his marker and fired low and hard towards the goal . Thankfully for the home side Carson was aware to the danger.
Boro continued to look tom play attractive football with Carayol the main danger man ably supported by Leadbitter and Varga against a Wigan midfield who gave them far too much room.
For Wigan Fortune looked sharp with Beausejour as the main creative outlet but all too often opted for the long ball which the ‘Boro defence dealt with comfortably.
Wigan’s best chance in the early stages fell to Fortune but he was clumsily bundled over in the area for what appeared to be a clear cut penalty. Referee Mr Coote waved away the home sides protestations but didn’t book Fortune which appeared to be the logical alternative to a penalty.
Mr Coote redeemed himself in the Wigan fan’s eyes a few minutes later however, when Fortune was adjudged to be having his short pulled in the area by Friend. The decision which did seem somewhat soft was gleefully seized upon by Grant Holt who converted the spot kick to put the home side into the lead.
If Wigan fans thought that this would be the catalyst for them favourites to dominate the game they were mistaken as Boro spurred on by a noisy 2,000 supporters continued to play enterprising football that frequently had Wigan back pedalling and once again Carson had to rescue the situation with a fine save once again from Jutkiewicz.
Wigan looked to have done enough to go into half time with the lead but Friend who was a constant threat down the left had other ideas.
He pushed forwards and with Wigan again sitting off him got to the edge of the penalty area where he was fouled by McArthur, Friend refused to go down however and with Mr Coote playing a good advantage he pushed into the area and unchallenged fired a powerful shot past Carson and Boro were level.
Half time witnessed the surreal sight of the victorious Wiagn Warriors parading their Challenge cup in front of a largely appreciative Laics’ crowd along with Mr Whelan with our F.A.Cup.
The second half started with no changes to the line ups and Carayol continued to pose a threat to the Wigan defence along with former Wigan target Adomah who came more into the game as the match went on.
Carson was forced into two more smart saves as Wigan gave far too much time to their opponents allowing their slick passing and turning to wrong foot them and Wigan were made to pay for this carelessness when substitute was allowed to turn at the edge of the area and Leadbitter seized on the ball to fire the away side into the lead.
Wigan with Gomez and Espinoza on had reverted to a 4-51 but pushed forwards in search of an equaliser and Steele in the Boro goal had a lucky escape when McCarthy’s shot bounced off his legs but slowed dramatically as it edged towards the goal allowing the keeper to scramble back.
Wigan for all their enterprising play in the last half hour didn’t seem to be able to gain the equaliser with too many crosses either over hit or too few Wigan players in the danger area.
A soft free kick on the edge of the area for a foul on Espinoza allowed Gomez the chance to rectify the deficit. With the shot probably being too close for an “up and over” he adopted for power and his shot flew through the wall into the net for the leveller.
Boro hit back and Carson had to save well with his legs from Emnes who then shot just wide but Mr Coote finally brought to an end an entertaining game which leaves Wigan with one win from four and Coyle with some work to do on both team selection and tactics if Wigan are to bounce straight back
Player ratings and Man of the Match
Carson…..8, MOM, but for him ‘Boro would have been out of sight.
Boyce….6, Best of a very poor back four
Barnett…..5, struggled against pacier opponents.
Perch…..4, very poor
Crainey….5, Better going forwards than defending
McArthur……5, Struggled, withdrawn
McCann…..5, Stood off his opponents far too much, withdrawn.
McCarthy…..5, A shadow of the player of last season.
Beausejour….7, Looked dangerous going forwards.
Fortune……6, a good first half faded badly.
Holt……6, industrious but ineffective
Gomez for McArthur……7, Gave the team some creativity it was lacking.
Espinoza for McCann…..7, Looked sharp.
McClean for Holt……6, Little chance to shine
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