When Gary Caldwell opens his filing cabinet at the end of the season he will surely find the match report from yesterday’s game filed under the heading of ” two points dropped” such was Latics total dominance of proceedings and yet too timid tactics in the second half almost resulted in Latics coming away from the game with nothing. Wigan made one change from the side which beat Fleetwood last time out with Barnett returning from suspension to replace Kenny who had been recalled by Everton from his loan spell. Striker Will Grigg returned from injury to the bench in place of youngster Ryan Jennings.
Latics dominated the first half against a very limited opposition whose main tactic appeared to commit niggling little fouls to destabilise Wigan’s attack, many of which went unpunished by the officials. For all Wigan were dominant the first real chance fell to Oldham when a Fulton cross was met by the large powerful forward Higdon but his header came back of the post following a fingertip save from O’Donnell.
That was it in the first half for the home team as Wigan with McCann and Jacobs breaking through at will dominated proceedings without Wigan creating any clear cut chances. The only effort in the first thirty minutes was a low shot from Flores easily saved by Cornell.
Wign made their midfield dominance count shortly afterwards when a good break by the dangerous James down the left saw the ball cut back to Power who was just outside the penalty area and he blasted the ball into the corner of the net for a wonderful goal, sending the large noisy away support at the other end of the ground into paroxysms of delight. One almost became two when Cornell produced a wonderful outstretched save low down to deny Jacobs and then the keeper was at his best again shortly afterwards to deny McCann with a close range save which looked like it would loop into the net but the keeper managed to scoop the balla way to safety.
Wigan left the field at half time to a thunderous ovation for a totally dominant performance which should have seen them three of four goals to the good.
Wigan started the second half playing controlled passing football without ever looking like creating anything for the ever willing Hiwula operating again as a lone forward. Once again Latics best chance was a long range shot from Jacobs, easily saved by Cornell.
Oldham were getting nowhere and it looked like Wigan would comfortably see out the game without any fuss when David Dunn opted to alter his line up bringing on the pacy Poleon and putting two forwards up front. This immediately galvanised the home side with Higdon laying off balls to Poleon the substitute started to cause the Wigan defence problems . Wigan as so often away from home so far this season ceded the midfield battle, backing off their opposition and attempting to defend the game along the edge of their penalty area thereby lifting the pressure on the home side, allowing them to press forwards.
Wigan’s midfield had been the subject of many niggling little tackles throughout the game, some penalised, some not and following yet another foul by Fulton, Flores showed his impetuosity by kicking out at the Oldham player in front of the referee who had no hesitation in brandishing a red card and Wigan were down to ten men.
Wigan manager Gary Caldwell opted not to re-organised, with the planned substitution of a like for like attacker Odelusi replacing Hiwula and within four minutes the game was level when Poleon reacted the quickest to a short ball from Fulton firing the ball into the corner of the net.
This had the effect of Wigan retreating further into their shell and Oldham who had been totally outclassed for the first hour pushed forwards in search of a winner which would have seemed unlikely at half time. Wigan’s defence plus midfield held firm however and full time whistle saw the large Wigan following depart in disbelief at how they had failed to turn their dominance into three points.
Team Line Up and Player Ratings (3-5-1-1)
O’Donnell…..7, once again some good saves.
Pearce……….6, injured in the first half, struggled on for a while, withdrawn
Barnett……….6, solid in defence
Daniels………..7, getting better game by game
James………….7, his best game in a Wigan shirt.
Power………….6, a fantastic goal, withdrawn
Perkins………….6, solid and workmanlike
McCann………..8 , MOM excellent performance
Jacobs……7, dangerous everytime he touched the ball
Flores……..5, a quiet game until the red card.
Hiwula…….6, starved of any quality ball but never stopped trying Subs Used
Odelusi ( for Hiwula)……..5, not suited to the lone forward role.
Chow for Power…………….5, little impact in a defensive role
Kellett for Pearce…………..n/a
Entertainment rating 5/10, too many spoiling tactics from the home side for it to be a good game.
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