A collective poor performance from Wigan against relegation strugglers Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium yesterday as Doncaster Rovers’ totally dominant performance ended Wigan’s twenty game unbeaten run which culminated in the sending off of midfielder Perkins for a professional foul.
Unsurprisingly Wigan opted to retain the same starting line up as that which secured a victory last time out against Coventry with a welcome recall to the bench for captain Morgan.
Doncaster needed a win to have any chance of avoiding the drop and started on the front foot and nearly scored within the first minutes when a free kick found the head of Williams but his glancing header fizzed across the front of the goal.
Wigan’s raucous away following hoped that this would galvanise their heroes into action but it was Rovers who were empowered with their midfield three of McSheffery, Coppinger and wily veteran Chaplow totally dominating their Wigan opposite numbers of Power, Morsy and Perkins.
Rovers attacked with pace and skill, they closed Wigan down, pressurised a ragged back four and broke up any attempts that Wigan had to break out of defence at will. Wigan’s only outlet was the runs of Wildschut but he was marked by two defenders every time he touched the ball.
In this first half hour, Rovers had four good chances but to the relief of the Wigan fans wedged in behind that goal , all of them went wide.
Wigan were so disjointed that in the fortieth minute, Wigan manager Gary Caldwell made his first substitution, withdrawing McAleny and replacing him with Jacobs. This substitution had an immediate impact as with his first touch , the attacking midfielder found Wildschut on the right who burst forwards. The big Dutchman seemed to have gone t far wide but he stopped and his audacious chip found the head of Grigg who was left with a simple header into the goal. He duly obliged and against the run of play Wigan had an undeserved lead.
Any hopes that this would knock Doncaster off their stride and spur Wigan on were immediately dispelled as a good break forwards saw Jaaskelainen save well from Rowe.
The half time whistle brought cheers of relief from the Wigan faithful no doubt hoping that the half time team talk would gee up their side and that the second half would see a much improved performance from the Latcs’ faithful.
How wrong they were, within thirty seconds of the kick off, Wigan had lost possession and Rovers were once again on the attack with McSheffery testing Jaaskelainen from distance. Wigan continued to give away possession all too easily and Rovers belying their lowly league position attacked with gusto.
Their dominance saw a slew of corners all of which troubled the Wigan defence and from one of these Butler rose unchallenged to head the ball in by the near post when really Jaaskelainen should have been better positioned to stop the chance.
Another Doncaster corner and another Butler goal, this time a shot through a crowded penalty area as the Doncaster player found the time to compose himself before shooting due to woeful defending of the set piece
This did spark Wigan into a semblance of purpose with Jacobs feeding Wildschut whose shot went narrowly wide of the goal. Doncaster still looked the most likely to score however with Williams and McSheffery going close. Grigg continued to plough a lone furrow for Wigan and the prolific Wigan striker forced Matthews into a smart save.
Wigan pushed forwards searching for the leveller but were caught on the break when a poor Wigan corner saw the Doncaster defence clear the ball to McSheffery who broke unchallenged into the Wigan half. With no one between him and Jaaskelainen in the Wigan goal , he was unceremoniously brought down by Perkins, the referee immediately handing the midfielder a straight red card but there was then a delay as to whether the foul took place in the penalty area. The referee eventually decided that it had and Williams converted the spot kick.
Rovers then saw out the last few minutes comfortably and the full time whistle saw Wigan troop disconsolately off the pitch knowing that their efforts on the day hadn’t been good enough and that they would have to produced much improved performances over the next four games if they were to secure promotion to the Championship.
Team Line up and Player Ratings
Jaaskelainen ……4, should have done better for the first two goals.
Daniels……………..4, struggled to get going, withdrawn
Pearce……………..5, tried to hold the defence together, failed
Barnett………………4,struggled against the pace of Rovers
Warnock……………7,MOM, only player to emerge with any credit
Morsy……………….4, over run in midfield, withdrawn
Power………………4, poor and when he’s poor the whole team is.
Perkins………………4, out fought by Chaplow, no complaints re sending off
Wildschut…………..5, drifted out of the game …. a lot
McAleny……………4, never got going, withdrawn
Grigg…………………5, good goal but starved of possession
Jacobs for McAleny…..6, injected some purpose into the team
Davies for Morsy…….4, little impact
Wabara for Daniels…..N/A
Entertainment rating………5/10, Doncaster played well, Wigan didn’t
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