A header in the last minute of normal time earned Wigan a point they just about deserved following a spirited second half performance against a well drilled and highly motivated Doncaster side.[PPD_PAYTOREADMORE]
Wigan manager Owen Coyle opted to make two changes for his home league debut, introducing McCann and McClean with Beausejour and McArthur the players to make way. On hte bench McManaman’s enforced absence saw a recall for Nouah Dicko.
The game started brightly with both sides attacking with gusto with Holt looking more comfortable with the support of McCann and Maloney and McCarthy now back in hsi familiar defensive midfield role.
Wigan were denied what seemed a blatant penalty when Holt was rugby tackled in the penalty area but the referee Mr Boyeson who was well placed incredibly waved away the appeals.
McCann then went on a fine run through the centre of midfield but could only shoot tamely at Turnbull and then fine interplay between Maloney and Boyce saw the latter’s cross scrambled away for a corner as Wigan ramped up the pressure.
Doncaster gradually came more into the game with Wellens in centre midfield running the show and the Wigan players seemingly content to give Rovers the space with which to attack.
Robinson up front for Doncaster was a handful for the Wigan defence all night with his powerful running and he open the scoring when two Wigan defenders allowed him to turn and fire a powerful shot past Carson.
This should have stung Wigan into life but the confidence that the home had displayed in the early stages seemed to drain as Rovers slick passing stretched the defence which was compounded by too many passes from the home side going astray with Watson the main culprit.
Things went from bad to worse when a simple header across goal by Khulmalo wasn’t’ challenged by the Wigan defence allowing Brown an easy header and Wigan were two behind.
Wigan tried to fight back but the half time whistle brought a chorus of boos from the dissatisfied Wigan faithful who clearly expected better from their players.
Coyle opted to make a change at half time bringing on Fortune for Watson but Wigan almost went three down within a minute when Khulmalo rose unchallenged above the Wigan defence but fortunately for the home side his header came back off the post and was cleared.
This provided the impetus Wigan needed and with Maloney to the fore Wigan gradually began to take control of the game. Clear cut chances were few and far between however with headers from Holt which went over the bar the best they had to offer.
This changed however when Wigan were awarded a free kick just outside the area and Maloney stepped up and his free kicked curled into the net with Turnbull left stranded.
Coyle brought on Beausejour for McClean and the Chilean immediately started causing problems for the Rovers defence however he too often over hit his crosses and the chances went begging.
When it seemed like Wigan were going to start their home campaign with a defeat but their fears were allayed when Barnett fired home thorough a crowded penalty area for the equaliser.
There was time for another chance to win the game although this one fell to Paynter who chance was brilliantly saved by Carson onto the cross bar and Wigan manager=d to scramble the ball clear.
The full time whistle brought to an end an entertaining committed game which Wigan just about deserved but no one leaving the DW can be under any illusion that the Latics are going to have to up the game if they are to secure a return to the Premier League
Carson…….7 not a fault for goals, superb save late on
Boyce…….6, best of back four
Crainey…..4, slow and out of position
Barnett…….5.5 redeemed an iffy performance with a goal.
McCann…….5.5 industrious but ineffective
Maloney……8, a beacon of excellence in a sea of mediocrity
McClean……6, some good run, crosses let him down
Holt…………6, looked better with Fortune in support
Fortune for Watson……..7, kick started the revival with a good performance
Beausejour for McClean….6, showed some good skill
Gomez for McCann…………n/a
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