No partying like it’s 1999 – this season

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Well – what a strange old week that was, a well earned FA Cup win over Crawley Town, followed by the best draw we’ve had in years. Topped off with a bizarre evening in the Checkatrade on Tuesday.

Let’s start with the good stuff, Paul Cook was true to his word on Saturday and named a strong starting eleven against Harry Kewell’s Crawley, the selection was one that wouldn’t have looked out of place in League One so it was quite a surprise to see us fall behind just before the half hour mark.

Crawley’s goal was excellent, but Latics class eventually told – first an excellent predators goal from Ivan Toney. Followed by a virtuoso goal from Lee Evans to eventually win the tie.

After spending Saturday evening watching all of the days goals at work on a loop I didn’t see one that came anywhere close to Evans goal. It was so similar to that one he scored against Bury, maybe it’s a knack he has.

It was a goal that came at the right time and meant Latics avoided a tricky replay in Sussex, it was also announced on Saturday much to mine and a couple of thousand other’s disappointment that Rochdale this coming Saturday would be postponed.

Lee Evans who replaced Emyr Huws of the fibre glass knees in the Wales squad, took the amount of call ups to four which obviously meant a postponement. Which made the events of Tuesday night all the stranger.

Latics looked favourites to qualify for the knockout stage of the Football League Trophy after a mix of fringe first team players and talented youngsters had got themselves in a position  where a point from the Accrington Stanley game would have seen us qualify.

Paul Cook has made his intentions known that it would be a young side taking the field against Accrington, but me and many others didn’t think it would be so young.

Only Terrell Thomas who was made captain for the night could be considered part of the first team set up, and he’s only made fleeting appearances in the cups this season.

The rest of the side and the bench was completely made up of our under eighteen side, and sadly it showed. The youngsters under the guidance of Nick Chadwick performed admirably but it was men against boys stuff and Accrington’s 4-0 scoreline could have been far more severe.

Paul Cook said that selection  would be with the next league match in mind, but with no match until Bradford on the 18th of November there was a two week period without a match where players on the fringes of the first team squad would have benefited from the game time.

Will Grigg, David Perkins, Ryan Colclough, Noel Hunt and Alex Bruce all would have been expected to feature at some point and would still have allowed for all our talented youngsters to feature as well.

As it was it felt more like lambs to the slaughter and although I would never suggest we had thrown a game, it felt as good as we had decided that progression wasn’t for us. Which makes me question why we took a different approach to the first two matches.

Wigan lose to accrington

I know it isn’t a competition high on our agenda, and I know that a lot of people won’t support the competition in it’s current format but equally I’d have expected us to at least have a go on Tuesday. We put a stronger side out in the Lancashire senior cup in September which must be even further down the competition pecking order than the Football League trophy.

Speaking of cup competitions, what a draw it was for us on Monday night. Certainly the most exciting since Macclesfield in 2013 and what a draw for Fylde as well. The eyes of the world will be on that little bit of the Fylde coast in December and with a Friday night match adding to the atmosphere it should be a great night.

Sean Livesey

First published in the Wigan Post, Friday 10 November 2017

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