New Era Starts for Wigan, same as the old one as Armstrong double seals the win
Latics made the trip done the M6 with new optimism and virtually a new squad accompanied by a large travelling support all enthused about the prospects of a league campaign much improved from last season’s relegation debacle.
Sadly for all it was much of the same as Wigan’s slick passing saw them dominate in midfield but looked toothless up front and uneasy at the back which gifted Coventry the three points.
How much Gary Caldwell has changed the playing squad was evident in the starting line up with no fewer than ten players making their debuts with only Chris McCann remaining from last season
Wigan started as they meant to go on building from the back and with man of the match Perkins controlling midfield looking to use the skill of Jacobs to create chances for Grigg. All too often however the moves broken down at the edge of the penalty area with no one seemingly willing to take a chance to shoot.
Coventry made Wigan pay for this indecisiveness when Armstrong on his debut on loan from Newcastle took advantage of the large gaps between the centre halves and burst through at pace, slotting the ball past O’Donnell and Coventry had the lead.
Latics had a chance to equalise when Francisco played in Grigg but his low shot was blocked by the home side’s keeper.
Armstrong continued to cause the Latics back three problems and with both wing backs pushed up field he used his pace to break through the defence forcing O’Donnell to save sharply at the second attempt
Wigan created very few clear cut chances resorting to long range shots or crosses which were easily dealt with by a Coventry defence ably marshalled by the veteran partnership of Ricketts and Johnson.
Any hopes that the second half woudl be better than the first were quickly dashed as Latics passing game was confidently nullified by Coventry. Gary Caldwell opted to change the personnel and formation, switching from a 3-5-1-1 to a 4-4-2 and introducing debutants McNaughton and Davies for Kenny and Junior.
Wigan’s policy of utilising the centre backs to bring the ball out of defence almost caught them out when a return ball to O’Donnell put the keeper under pressure and his mistimed clearance hit Amrstrong and to the Wigan keeper’s relief the blocked ball looped narrowly over the bar.
Wigan didn’t learn from this mistake and Coventry profited from their pressure and made it two nil when a Daniels throw in to O’Donnell was badly cleared to Fleck and his cross was clipped powerfully past O’Donnell by Armstrong and it was game over
Caldwell threw Murray on in an attempt to claw their way back into the match but Wigan failed to create any real chances and Coventry nearly made it worse when O’Donnell was beaten by a powerful shot by Maddison but his shot came back off the post.
The full time whistle ended the Latics fans misery and with so many players underperforming a much improved performance will be need if Wigan are to make any inroads into the one hundred point target set by the Chairman.
O’Donnell, Daniels (Murray), Morgan(c) McCann, Kenny(McNaughton), Power, Perkins, Fransisco Junior( Davis), James, Jacobs, Grigg
Perkins…..never stopped trying, didn’t deserve to be on the losing side