A dominant performance against a poor Cardiff City team came to naught last night as Cardiff hung on for a victory that there performance didn’t deserve leaving Wigan to rue two borderline offside decisions both of which went in Cardiff’s favour and denied two goals to the home side. There were three changes from the starting line-up against Charlton, with debuts for the Pennant and Bong and the return for club captain Boyce for his 250th appearance for the Wigan side. Latics started on the front foot, using the width given to them by Ojo and Penant to stretch to the Cardiff defence but as so often this season, good approach play didn’t result in trouble for the away keeper. Latics best effort was a header from Pennant following good work down the left by Bong which went narrowly wide.
Cardiff who showed no signs of their pre season promotion favourites tag seemed content to sit back and defend and when they did attack it was with high long balls to target man Jones who had a terrific battle with Wigan’s own man mountain Maguire. On the one occasion that they did keep the ball on the floor however the venture bore fruit when Gunnarsson broke down the left eluding the challenges of three defenders and fired the ball past Al Habsi into the goal for a lead that their play didn’t deserve. Wigan showed character and continued to pour forwards in search of an equaliser and with Perch and man of the match Kim dominant in midfield it seemed only a matter of time before they equalised. Veteran Boyce went on a forward run and as the defence seemed to open up in front of him , ti seemed as he was squaring to shot but in response to shouts from Fortune , he instead attempted to put the forward in but Fortune failed to anticipate the velocity of the pass and the chance was lost. Shortly before half time Wigan thought they have squared the score when a powerful header from McClean following good work from Bong beat Marshall but the assistant referee raised his flag for a contentious offside decision, a decision symptomatic of Wigan’s current luck, all bad Both tems left the rutted pith at half time with the knowledge that the score didn’t reflect the effort and chances created although barring the goal ruled offside, Wigan’s first shot was from perch in the 43rd minute. Wigan started the second half like a whirlwind with once again Kim exerting total dominance over his former Cardiff colleagues. The first real chance of the half fell to Fortune who received the ball on the deadball line and with a superb turn fired the ball across the goal narrowly missing the far post. The next major chance fell to the unlikely culprit in Maguire who was allowed to run unchallenged through the midfield and his powerful shot was palmed away by Marshall in the Cardiff goal. Another goal, another offside flag from an assistant referee. Waghorn rose majestically to meet a cross from Boyce to powerfully head the ball home but again controversy reigned as the assistant riled that Waghorn was offside when the ball was played in, another marginal decision.
Kim then produced another fantastic save from Marshall, the ball going out for a corner.
Cardiff’s total attacking acumen apart from the goal was totally zero for the majority of the game although as Wigan pushed forwards in search of an equaliser, Cardiff made a rare foray into the Wigan penalty area and from a Whittingham cross, Morrison headed unchallenged over the bar Wigan strove for an equaliser right until the bitter end up after four minutes of time added on the referee drew to a close a poor game which Wigan although nowhere near their best will feel that they should have won.
Team Line up and Player Ratings.
Al Habsi….5, one action, to pick the ball out of the net.
Boyce…….5, steady in defence and attack.
Pearce……5, caught out of position on occasion.
Mguire…….6, immense in defence, adventurous in attack.
Bong……….6, a fine debut.
Pennant……5, injured early on, a solid debut, withdrawn.
Kim………….8, MOM, an effervescent bundle of creative energy,
Perch……….7, played out of position but dominated his more illustrious opponents.
McClean……6, unlucky to have a goal disallowed.
Ojo…………….6, like the curate’s egg, good in parts.
Fortune……….6, never gave up trying, withdrawn.
Waghorn……..6, for Fortune, unlucky not to be awarded a goal.
Cowie …………5,for Pennant, little impact.
Att……….. 10, 016
Entertainment Rating …… 2/10
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