McCann’s the man as Wigan reach the promised land

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A second half glut of goals saw Latics back into the Sky Bet Championship, with midfielder Chris McCann playing a key role in all four goals. Manager Gary Caldwell opted to make two changes from the side that destroyed Southend last time out with Morsy and Wabara starting instead of Pearce and Wildschut in a line up with reduced width, with Jacobs playing in a traditional number ten role behind Will Grigg.

Whether the team were uncomfortable with the new line up or the pressure of needing a point to mathematically secure promotion told on the team, the first half was a bitty affair for the Latics with too many passes going astray and too many long balls in the vague direction of Grigg. Blackpool fighting for their lives took heart from Wigan’s indecisiveness to put pressure on the Wigan goal, with Cullen and Philliskirk looking dangerous and causing problems for Morgan and especially Daniels. The first real chance fell to Philliskirk who broke through the Wigan defence but with only the keeper to beat his shot went too high and the chance went begging. Next up it was Cullen to test Wigan who burst down the right but his shot went agonisingly past the far post.

Cullen then broke through and was unceremoniously held back in the penalty area by Daniels which looked to everyone on the ground as a clear cut penalty, everyone bar the referee that is who to Wigan’s relief ignored the Blackpool appeals and played on.

Still Wigan struggled to create any cohesive play with only McCann and Perkins playing anywhere near their best and it was no surprise when Caldwell opted to make a change before half time, replacing Morsy with attacking winger Wildschut and alerting the set up to put the big Dutchman and Jacobs into more orthodox wing positions. Wigan immediately looked more comfortable going forwards but again it was Blackpool with the chances with Redshaw bursting through the static Wigan defence and shooting inches wide of the far post.

Wigan did give an indication of things to come when Power forced Doyle into a sharp save with a low powerful shot.

Wigan trooped off the pitch at half time knowing full well that if they were to win this match then they would have to dramatically up their game and this they did with Power driving the team forwards with McCann a constant threat everytime he touched the ball. McCann is out of contract at the end of the season and he gave the strongest evidence to manager Caldwell of why he should be given a new one with a superb second half performance. First he latched onto a misplaced block by the Blackpool defence on the edge of the “D”, flicked the ball up and volleyed a superb left foot shot into the net to send the three thousand travelling supporters wild with delight.

From then one Wigan were in total control with Wildschut causing mayhem down the left wing, once again though it was McCann who was the key, breaking unchallenged from midfield and slipping a lovely little ball to Wildschut who curled the ball past Doyle into the corner of the net.

Two soon became three when a slid rule through pass from McCann found Grigg in space, the prolific striker unselfishly passed to Wildschut who cut inside the defender and then shot into the left hand corner of the net.

Wigan were now totally dominant against a dispirited Blackpool side who had given their all in the first half but were now being steamrollered by a Wigan side brimming with confidence. WIgan indulged in twenty plus passing moves seemingly just eeking out time to the fulltime celebrations but man of the match McCann had other ideas, with a beautiful flick on from a
Power corner to the league’s top scorer Grigg who stole behind the defence for his trade mark simple tap in.

Full time followed shortly afterwards and Wigan Athletics players and staff joined their delirious fans in celebrations putting to rest memories of last seasons abject relegation

Jaaskelainen …….6, One good save
Wabara……………..6, nervous start but grew into the game, withdrawn
Daniels……………..5, poor first half, lucky not to concede a penalty
Morgan……………..6, solid at the back
Warnock……………7, one of the key signings of the season
Morsy……………….5, take off before he was sent off, withdrawn
McCann…………….9,MOM involved in everything good about Wigan
Power………………..6.5, grew into the game
Perkins………………8, another consistent performance from my player of the season
Jacobs……………….7, a solid performance, withdrawn
Grigg…………………. 7, right place right time, great anticipation for the goal

Substitutes used
Wildschut for Morsy…………..8, attacked with gusto, two fine goals
McAleny for Jacobs…………..6, pushed forwards well
Pearce for Wabara…………… n/a

Entertainment rating…………. 4/10 first half, 10/10 second half

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