A jittery performance from Wigan who looked like the pressure of being in the automatic promotion spots was telling on them narrowly escaped what would have been an embarrassing defeat against basement dwellers Colchester United thanks to a last minute go by hot shot top scorer Will Grigg’s 15th league goal of the season in injury time.
Wigan made two changes for the match with loanee Warnock going straight into the starting eleven and Morsy recalled following his one match suspension. They replaced the injured pair of Pearce and McAleny and there was also a change on the bench with a recall for forgotten man McNaughton in place of the suspended McCann.
Latics started the game on the front foot although most of it was long balls in the vague direction of the front three of Grigg, Wildschut and Colclough who tried hard to create space for a shot but were closed by the industrious and sometimes desperate defence who were twice beaten by the power of WIldschut down the left but the big Dutchman was thwarted by instinctive blocks from the limbs of Parish in the U’s goal.
Colchester looked a better side than the one that had capitulated at the DW earlier in the season and with Lee testing Wabara’s resolve down the U’s left wing it wasn’t a surprise that they created a chance with Jaaskelainen saving well from a shot by former Hammer Moncur
The game see sawed all afternoon, (what it lacked for in quality it made up for in commitment) and it was Wigan who took the lead, Grigg dispossessed Eastman in midfield and a lovely turn and pass saw Yanic fly down the left , he cut inside and calmly slotted the ball into the far corner to send to travelling Wigan fans at the other end of the pitch wild with delight.
One of Wigan’s problems this season has been a vulnerability after scoring and so it proved again when Latic sat back in midfield and Gibley fired a superb long range left footed shot into the far corner of Jussi’s net for a goal worthy of a goal of the month award
Back came Wigan again and again it was Yanic’s running down the left that made the difference when he bulldozed his was through the defence and found Colclough in the centre of the penalty area whose cool finish into the bottom corner of the goal showed a composure beyond his tender years.
The to and fro nature of the game continued at the start of the second half but it seemed that Colchester had benefitted the most from the half time cuppa as they upped the tempo against an increasingly nervous Wigan side who visibly wilted under pressure. Colchester’s second goal was almost a carbon copy of their first when Lee got a loose ball on the edge of the area and fired his shot into the bottom corner of the net to see Colchester level with their second superb shot of the afternoon.
Latics were rattled, Colchester were finding too much space down Wigan’s left where Warnock was all too often left to mark two opposition players. The pressure eventually told although there was a degree of controversy when Moncur raced into the area and the ball was cleared by Wabara for what most people assumed was a corner kick. The referee had other ideas however, pointing to the spot adjudging that Wabara had fouled Moncur and the Colchester player took his own won penalty and fired the ball into the net for the lead.
Two substitutes in five minutes saw Morsy surprisingly withdrawn with Kellett replacing him and then Davies’ for Colclough to create a more conventional 4-4-2 line up..
Wigan upped the tempo with Wildschut flashing a cross along the goal line with no one there to tap the ball home but all too often his team mates opted to put in an extra pass rather than shoot allowing Colchester the opportunity to break up the moves.
A header from Daniels following a Power corner landed on top of the net and just when it seemed that it wasn’t going to be Wigan’s day another late late goal occurred. Davies tried to shot, the ball spooned off a defender landing at the feet of the unmarked Grigg who fired the ball into an unguarded net and raced t celebrate in front of the ecstatic Wigan travelling faithful.
Vuckic had a chance in injury time to win it for the Latics but failed to find the target with his shot with Grigg perhaps in a better position but the full time whistle brought to an end a game which either side would have considered themselves unlucky to lose but the run of three successive draws sees Wigan in need of some fresh ideas if they are to maintain their promotion push.
Team Line Up and Player Ratings
Jaaskelainen …….6, couldn’t be faulted for any of the goals and made two fine saves
Wabara……………..5, struggled against the pace of Lee
Daniels……………..5, worked hard, withdrawn
Morgan……………..6, strong in defence
Warnock…………..7, a fine debut
Morsy………………6, busy all afternoon, withdrawn
Power……………….5, lacked his usual zip
Perkins………………8,MOM drove the team forwards and defended superbly
Wildschut…………..6, good going forwards but left Warnock exposed
Colclough………….6, a good goal but little else, withdrawn
Grigg…………….. 6.5, MOM well closed down but saved our blushes
Kellett for Morsy…..5, negligible impact
Davies for Colclough………..5, needs to read up on the offside rule
Vuckic for Daniels……6, provided a little spark that had been lacking until his appearance
Entertainment Rating…….6/10 end to end with Wigan lacking the killer instinct
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