A man of the match performance from Wigan keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen was the only positive in a poor Wigan Athletic performance at the DW Stadium yesterday against local rivals, the relegation threatened Oldham who deserve credit for a thoroughly committed team performance which sought to and succeeded in nullifying Wigan’s creative threats
So timid was Wigan’s performance that the first shot on target arrived in the seventieth minute.
Wigan made just one change to the side which won at Sheffield United last week, with Wabara returning to the side in place of Morsy and a reverting to a 352 formation from the previous week’s fluid 4411
The main talk amongst fans prior to the game was whether the newly laid pitch would have any bearing on the game and apart from one slip by Oldham’s Forte, the pitch played pretty true.
Both sides were tentative in the first ten minutes as if unsure as to how the pitch would play but as players got more confident with the surface then the play opened up. Wigan looked to use the attacking threats of Wildschut and Power but both players were shut down effectively by the Oldham teams committed approach
The first real chance fell to Wigan, a superb run by Wildschut found McAleny whose shot went just wide of the Oldham goal. McAleny then went on a superb run of his own before being brought down in spectacular fashion by Gerrard who received a yellow card for the challenge. McAleny took the resulting free kick and from just outside the area beat the wall but hit the side netting.
Despite these two chances , Oldham were the better team, their organisation and determination to chase every ball making up for the fact that Wigan were the classier side when in possession.
Oldham almost scored when Winchester fired a long range shot which seemed destined for the top corner of the Wigan goal before veteran keeper Jaaskelainen produced a superb diving save to tip the ball over for a corner. Jaaskelainen had to be at his best shortly after to deny first Fonte and then Winchester again.
Wigan were very flat and without their usual zip and drive trooped off at half time to grumbles of discontent from the home fans used to watching creativity flair based football something that had been sadly lacking in the first forty five minutes.
Wigan responded at half time to their poor first half showing by replacing Daniels with Morsy but in truth although Wigan increased the amount of time in possession, they did very little with it to suggest that they would score. It really was a poor game from a Wigan perspective, so much so that when Wildschut fired a shot at Coleman half way through the second half, the stadium resounded to ironic cheers for Wigan actually troubling the keeper.
Still Oldham looked the more likely to score and went close through Palmer who shot just wide from outside the area and then Lafferty who was thwarted by another good save from
Wigan left it late to try and steal the three points when Grigg who had toiled manfully on his own up front, fired a sharp shot on the turn which was saved well by Coleman.
The full time whistle brought to an end a game which failed to benefit either side with Wigan dropping to fourth and Oldham remaining firmly anchored in the bottom four although the visitors will take heart from a thoroughly competent performance.
Team Line up and Player Ratings
Jaaskelainen…… 8, MOM, kept Wigan in the game.
Wabara……………5, little attacking input, solid at the back
Pearce…………….5, possibly lucky not to be sent off.
Daniels…………….5, little chance in influence the game, withdrawn
McCann…………..7, best creative player
Perkins…………….5, lost the midfield battle, withdrawn
Power……………..6, effectively shackled by Kelly
Wildschut…………6, poor first half, better second
McAleny………….5, one good free kick, little else, withdrawn
Grigg………………6, toiled manfully
Morsy for Daniels…….6, did ok
Coleclough for Perkins…….5, little impact
Davies for McAleny………….6, provided support for Grigg but too little too late
Entertainment rating 2/10 ….. yawn
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