A first minute goal from loanee Gardner was enough to win a tepid affair on the South coast last night as Wigan for all their possession failed to turn this into any sustained pressure on the home sides goal and on the occasion when young keeper Walton standing in for Wigan loanee Al Habsi was trouble he was more than up to the task.
Wigan in an effort to keep the team fresh with a local derby looming against Bolton on Friday made four changes with Perch returning as captain and recalls for McClean, Maloney and Waghorn, the latter employed as a lone forward. Once again there was no place in the starting line up for summer striker signings Delort and Riera, the former not even making the bench.
There were however welcome returns to the bench for Watson and McCann after lengthy spell out with broken bones
There has been much discussion amongst the Wigan faithful about the lack of defence security on the right flank and so it proved again when in the first minute Bennett broke past Cowie and Tavernier and his cross wasn’t cleared by the Wigan defence allowing Gardner to take the ball from under his feet and fire past Carson sparking wild celebrations in the home stands ( and from one Wigan fan who had forgot we weren’t playing in blue and white stripes!)
Wigan quickly settled into a pattern of play with Forshaw and Maloney directing the ball from midfield with McClean and Espinoza will runners forwards however as was to be the story of the night , these forays often broke down at the edge of the penalty area. Brighton for whom their last win was a very distant memory continued to play like the away side using their pacy skilful players to try and catch Wigan pm the break but the majority of these moves were lone forays rather than team play.
Brighton however did have the next clear cut chance when Texeira’s shot came back off the Carson well beaten, Kiernan managing to scramble the ball away
Latics dominance grew from that point with Waghorn being the key figure in the majority of the attacks seeing headers and shots go narrowly wide and on two occasions the Wigan striker’s efforts were thwarted by fine keeping by the England youth international
A set piece from Tavernier following a foul on Waghorn saw the keeper move smarty to save as Wigan continued to dominate the play but half time came without them being able to turn this advantage into goals.
The second half saw Wigan continue to have the better of the exchanges but create very few goal scoring opportunities, best being a header by Keirnan which was blocked and cleared and a double save by Walton from Waghorn and Forshaw.
Wigan tried to vary the play introducing first McManaman and then Riera followed by a welcome return for McCann but other than a Maloney piledriver very little troubled the home keeper.
Wigan were awarded a free kick deep in time added on which seemed tailor made for Figueroa who stood over the ball with Maloney , however the diminutive Scotsman took the shot which sailed harmlessly over the bar and as the referee blew his whistle Wigan remained firmly in a relegation dog fight with a match against the resurgent Bolton up next in just three days time.
Team Line up and Player ratings
Carson…..6, caught cold for the opening goal, some fines saves afterwards
Tavernier…..5, better going forward than defending.
Kiernan……..6, grew in stature as the game wore on.
Perch……..7, played well at entre half.
Figueroa……6, solid and no frills
Forshaw…….7.5, getting better game by game.(withdrawn)
Maloney…….7, his best game for Wigan this season.
McClean….5, not his best game for Wigan this season.(withdrawn)
Cowie……..5, anonymous (withdrawn)
Espinoza….6, failed to produce the spark of the last 2 games
Waghorn……8, MOM, nearly all Wigan’s best chances fell to him, thwarted by home keeper.
McManaman for McClean….6, a few nice touches but didn’t impose himself on game enough
Riera……5, no impact upon game
Entertainment rating……4/10 boring
We are all …
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