A horrific double fracture of the right leg suffered by Ben Watson took the shine off a win which saw Wigan move up into seventh place in the Sky Bet Championship.
Wigan manager Uwe Rosler opted to freshen up his squad recalling Maynard, Waghorn and McArthur to the starting line up and immediately the team poured forwards searching for the first goal against relegation haunted Barnsley. With McClean looking particularly lively and the Barnsley defence seemingly incapable of communicating with their keeper and captain Luke Steele it seemed only a matter of time before Wigan scored with Maynard left wondering how he managed to head wide from good work from McClean.
The main talking point early on however was the injury to Watson, a loose ball was there to be won and both Watson and Woods went into the challenge, however Watson suffered a fractured fibula and tibia and immediately the stretcher was called for and the F.A.Cup hero was given oxygen before leaving the pitch to be replaced by McEachran.
Understandably losing a player in this fashion affected the Wigan team and for the next ten minutes or so the play was poor with neither side looking capable of putting the opposition keepers under any pressure. Wigan with McEachran prompting gradually came to and McCann failed to keep his hsot down when he fired way over the bar from inside the penalty area when he would have expected to place the ball on target at least.
Beausejour and McClean were working well together down the left and Beausejour beat two defenders firing a powerful cross over which eluded Maynard and went out for a throw in.
Wigan continued to pressure the hapless Barnsley’s defence whose only option seemed to be to put the ball into row Z and it was no surprise when Beausejour ghosted past his marker and crossed to Maynard who controlled the ball before firing into the net un challenged to give Wigan the lead.
For Barnsley chances were few and far between with Nick Proschwitz having the best of the half chances afforded tot he away side.
Wigan were very quickly two nil up when a McClean cross from the left found another loanee unmarked in the penalty area and Waghorn was left with a simple tap in. Half time brought muted boos from the away following with all the talk amongst the Wigan fans about the injury to Watson.
In effect it was game over by half time and if any criticism can be leveled at Wigan it was their inability to sit back and allow Barnsley to come at them after the break instead of trying to finish them off and if it hadn’t been for the wastefulness of Shea a half time substitution Barnsley may have got back into the game.
Wigan seemed content to defend deeply and counter attack with McCann and McClean the most potent threats although clear cut chances were few and far between until near the end when substitute Fortune broke down the right but with McClean unmarked in the middle the big striker chose to shot at the near post where Steele may the save.
Full time whistle brought to an end a competent professional performance as Wigan continued their progress up the table.
Team Line Up and Player Ratings;
Al Habsi…….6, a quiet night.
Perch……….6, defended well but ineffective when pushing forwards.
Boyce………6, read the game well.
Barnett……..7, another good performance.
Beausejour..7, excellent when roaming forwards.
McArthur…..7, a welcome return to the starting line up.
McCann……7, worked hard in both defence and attack.
Watson……..n/a a terrible night for the midfielder, withdrawn.
Waghorn…..6, a good first half faded after the break.
McClean…..8, a constant threat all evening, MOM.
Maynard…..7, took his goal well and a constant threat, withdrawn
McEachran…..6.5, filled in well for Watson, withdrawn.
Fortune……………6, did ok, wasted a good chance late on.
Espinoza………….6, ran around a lot, lucky not to be booked for a late challenge on McCourt.
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