A hard fought game was eventually sealed by the predatory instincts of Grigg as the Latics seized what could be a critical three points in their battle to be promoted back to the Championship at the first attempt.
Wigan made one change from last week’s superb victory away at Shrewsbury with Barnett starting in place of Wabara who had to be content as a role as a substitute.
Latics started brightly with Wildschut and McAleny stretching Coventry out wide but Coventry lead by Fleck worked tirelessly to snuff out any clear cut chances for the home team.
Indeed so effective were Coventry t snuffing out Wigan chances it was the away side who had the first sighter on goal when first Armstrong and then Fleck forced saves from Jaaskaleinen, the second a superb reflex save following a wicked deflection.
Wigan’s first chance fell to their talismanic striker Grigg who showed excellent anticipation to get on the end of a good pass from Warnock but his shot was blocked by Bigirimana .
Play ebbed and flowed with little clear cut opportunities as the game descended into a midfield battle with Wigan dominating possession through Morsy , Perkins and Power. Their industry created half chances for McAleny and Barnett but attempts on goal were rare and there was a scare at the other end when Jones was thwarted only by the quick reactions of Jaaskelainen.
Half time saw the team troop in scoreless with Wigan having the lion’s share of possession but once again at home being thwarted by a negative somewhat over physical opposition.
The second half started very much in the same vein with Wigan very much on the front foot and Coventry working hard to break up the play sometimes by committing challenges that were outside the laws of the game. Wigan weren’t deterred however and the irrepressible McAleny shot narrowly wide.
Wigan eventually made their pressure tell when a Barnett pass to Power was allowed to run on untouched to Warnock whose powerful low cross was met by Grigg whose quick reflexes saw him anticipate the position of the ball and fire the cross into the net for what turned out to be the winner
Former England midfielder then earned the ire of the home crowd with a bad foul on the rampaging Daniels whose runs down the right flank caused no end of problems for the Coventry defenders.
Wigan were finding more space as Coventry tried to get back into the game and as McAleny sprinted into the box a clumsy tackle saw the referee wait for what seemed an eternity before awarding Wigan a penalty for a foul by Fleck.
Grigg took the penalty but in truth it was a poor kick, slow to the keepers left who palmed the ball away for a corner.
This put Wigan under more pressure than they should have been but Coventry couldn’t take advantage with the best they had to offer was a good run by former Wigan man Fortune whose resultant shot was high wide and not very handsome.
Cole continued to ride his luck with the officials with three tackles , all of which were worthy of a yellow card in their own right but the referee spared the midfielder the indignity of being sent off.
Wigan looked to catch Coventry on the counter attack with substitute Jacobs creating a chance for Grigg combination almost bearing fruit again, the chance being stymied by some desperate defending.
Tensions rose as the clock ticked seemingly at half pace towards the full time whistle but it eventually came to raptures of delight from the home faithful whose mobile phones had already told them that their main challengers for promotion, Burton and Walsall had both been defeated laving Wigan in the driving seat.
Team Line up and Player Ratings
Jaaskelainen ……7, two fine reflex saves.
Daniels……………..8, solid at the back, attacked with gusto down the right flank
Pearce……………..7, a fine captain’s performance
Barnett………………6, does exactly what it says on the tin, defends
Warnock……………8, excellent defending and good work for the goal
Morsy……………….8, solid, unspectacular, quietly effective
Power……………….7,some good work as usual.
Perkins………………10,gave it everything, superb
Wildschut…………..7, looked dangerous every time he touched the ball, withdrawn
McAleny……………8, very lively, withdrawn
Grigg…………………7, good goal, poor penalty, withdrawn
Wabara for McAleny………………..6, solid at the back
Jacobs for Wildschut ……………….7, provided some impetus as the half wore on
Vuckic for Grigg………………N/A
Entertainment rating 6/10 , too tense to be enjoyable
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