A hard fought three one away victory at Ipswich yesterday saw Wigan move firmly into playoff contention in fifth place, the only downside a worrying hamstring injury to key defender Leon Barnett.
Once gain Rosler, no doubt mindful of the plethora of upcoming games, opted to rotate his starting lineup making two changes from the side which secured a last gasp victory at home to Sheffield Wednesday in midweek by introducing Ramis and Fortune for Beausejour and Maynard respectively.
This victory may well be looked back on as a key factor in Wigan’s play off ambitions as for much of the game they were put under pressure by an Ipswich side themselves harbouring aspirations of the play offs. Ipswich had the better of the early play with Al Habsi forced to make a good save to keep out a shot from Murphy.
Latcis fell behind in the opening quarter when a free kick warded for a foul by McArthur wasn’t cleared by the Wigan defence and the ball fell to Smith who fired it past AL Habsi to the delight of the home fans.
Under Uwe Rosler Wigan’s strength of character and determination has grown and within five minutes they were level. Boyce found Fortune on the right and the ball was pulled back neatly from near the dead ball line to McClean who fired the ball home for the first of his afternoon’s brace of goals for Wigan.
Latics were forced to come from behind to notch up another three hard earned league points, and were made to withstand a good deal of pressure in the second half as Ipswich peppered a succession of dangerous balls into the box.
But McClean’s second with a quarter of an hour gone made the three points secure and although Town continued to their aerial bombardment, it was Latic’s who closed out the game strongest and looked the more threatening on the break.
Both sides continued to press forwards in search of the lead and it was Wigan who proved successful when following a foul on McClean, a free kick perfectly taken by Gomez found the head of Barnett who headed the ball into the net past Ipswich keeper Gerken
Ipswich responded strongly to McCarthy’s half time team talk and came out very much on the attack with Wigan forced to cope with a barrage of high balls and some scrambling defence to ensure that the home sides attacks came to naught
Wigan did have their chances the best being another free kick from Gomez which was angled again towards Barnett but the powerful defender was unable to reach the ball.
Gomez continued to be Wigan’s most creative threat and was instrumental in Wigan increasing their lead when the Spaniard played Fortune through on the right and his cross found McClean backing up who made no mistake with his finish and Wigan were two goals to the good
Ipswich continued to pressurise Wigan in an attempt to get back into the game but under sustained pressure Wigan held firm to record yet another win and further cement their reputation as the side to fear in the playoff chase.
Team Line up and Substitutions
Al Habsi, Boyce, Ramis, Barnett (Kiernan) Perch, McArthur, Gomez, Tunnicliffe, Waghorn ( Powell ), Fortune, McClean (Crainey )
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