A last gasp header from James McArthur gave Wigan a point they didn’t deserve after a second half performance in which they spent a large part desperately defending against a Reading side which seemed to be fitter and play with more purpose.
Uwe Rosler opted to introduce four of his new signings from the off, creating a line up in which only four of the eleven were even at the club two seasons ago such has been the change around since Roberto Martinez’s departure.
The first fifteen minutes were tepid with both sides eschewing a passing game in favour of aimless high balls to no one in particular. In fact the play was so poor that it looked like it would take a mistake to create any sort of a chance and so it proved with the normally dependable Boyce getting caught in possession by Pobgrebnyak who went down the left flank and showed good vision when instead of shooting from a narrow angle crossed to Edwards who was better placed but his shot was well saved by Carson.
From the resultant corner Taylor attempted to clear the ball but instead managed to head into onto his own post for the first of a few narrow escapes for the home team
This stung Wigan into action and with new loanee Huws and McArthur driving the side forwards they began to look dangerous especially when they found a willing runner in McManaman. The mercurial flanker gave the defence a torrid time in the first half and was rewarded for his persistence when he broke inside the left back and shot for goal. Federici blocked the shot but the ball came back to him via Waghorn and he made no mistake with his second chance and Wigan had the lead.
Wigan continued to press forwards without creating any chances but didn’t have it all their own way with the Reading central midfielder Obita constantly probing looking for a weakness in the Wigan defence, the WIgan back line well marshalled by Kiernan had to be on top of their game.
The half time score just about reflected that performance but the second half was a very different story.
Reading tore into Wigan from the off, Wigan sat further and further back and with Riera cutting a lone figure on his own in the Reading half, totally devoid of any quality ball , the away side turned the screw against a Wigan team who seemed to be struggling in terms of stamina and fitness
Carson was forced into a couple of smart saves most notably from new signing and substitute Cox and Blackman but he was eventually beaten by Cummings whose shot from distance left Carson stretching in vein to give the away side the goal that their endeavors deserved.
With Wigan, unwilling or unable to exert any pressure on Reading the Royals continued to push forwards in search of a winner and a powerful shot from Blackman hit the post and then a simple move from a free kick gave the away side the lead. Guthrie’s short free kick was lobbed into the area by Pearce and Morrison headed the ball into an empty net with the Wigan defence all looking at each other trying to establish who should have picked him up.
This sparked the Wigan walk as some fans voiced their displeasure with their feet leaving the stadium but those who did leave didn’t reckon on the character of Roslers’s side as with their only meaningful attack of the half a clever flick by McManaman found McArthur and his header nestled in the back of the net for an unlikely equaliser.
Line up and Player Ratings
Carson…..7, some fine saves, couldn’t be faulted for the goals.
Perch……5, looked good going forward, not so good defending.
Boyce……5, struggled with the pace of the game.
Kiernan…..6, had to work hard and did.
Taylor…….5, poor both in defence and attack. withdrawn
Cowie……5, sound defensively, a couple of good blocks.withdrawn
McArthur…..8, MOM, his never say die attitude an inspiration to the others.
Huws……7, some promising touches, a fiesty performance.
McManaman…..7.5, a great first half performance, starved of the ball in the second half.
Riera……5, received absolutely no quality ball all afternoon.
Waghorn…..5, lots of effort but little application, withdrawn
Maloney for Waghorn…..5, didn’t impose himself on the game.
Tavernier for Cowie……5, little impact
Fortune for Taylor……n/a
Entertainment value…………….4, too much high balls, very few chances for either side, must do better.
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