Wigan’s winless win at home under Malky Mackay extended to eleven with a two nil home defeat to high flying Watford.
Wigan Athletic made just one change to the side which beat Rotherham on Saturday, with Clarke replacing the suspended James McClean. On the bench McCann and Waghorn made way for new loan signings Sinclair and Murphy.
Much has been made of the pitch in recent weeks with at least one opposition manager laying the blame for Latics league position on it and for the first forty five minutes it appeared that the pitch would produce the first goalless draw at the DW Stadium since Millwall way back in October. Wigan’s sole tactic in this period seemed to be for Boyce to lump a long ball forwards for Pennant to chase in the hope the winger could feed Clarke and Fortune but all too often the ball went astray and was mopped up with ease by the Watford defence.
Watford to their credit did try to play the ball on the ground , displaying confidence as befits a team challenging for a return to the promised land but all too often their neat incisive play largely from the triumvirate of Deeney, Guedioura and Vydra was undone by the uneven pitch which resulted in misplaced or over hit balls. Former Wigan man Ben Watson was prominent in the Watford side, constantly seeking the ball and probing at the Wigan defence for a weakness for whom once again Maguire was outstanding ably assisted by Pearce.
It as no surprise then that clear cut chances in the first half could be counted on less than one hand. Wigan’s best effort being a Bong effort which sailed over the bar and for Watford a brace of Deeney efforts which may have been a portent of things to come were well saved by Al Habsi.
Play improved in quality in the second half with both sides seemingly to gain some semblance of the pitch and Wigan had the first chance when Ojo burst into the area but couldn’t control his shot which went high over the bar.
Shortly afterwards Watford took the lead when a quick break out of defence saw substitute Forestieri beat the Wigan defence for pace on the Latics left and his cross was met by the head of Deeney and Watford had the lead.
Wigan continued to push forwards in search of an equaliser but lack the quality to create real chances and Guedioura was on the end of a free flowing move but fortunately for Wigan his effort went wide.
Both sides attacked and counter attacked with Watford’s efforts the closest to coming to fruition and their efforts were rewarded when Boyce fouled the dangerous Forestieri in the area and Deeney left Al Habsi with no chance as he blasted the ball home for a second goal.
Watford comfortably saw out the final few minutes of the game and the full time whistle saw Wigan troop off having failed to score for the fourth consecutive game and firmly ensconced in the relegation zone.
Team line up and player ratings
Al Habsi……7, some smart saves, couldn’t be faulted for the goals.
Boyce……….6, work hard, conceded the penalty.
Pearce……..8, another solid display.
Maguire…….9, MOM, immense.
Bong………..6, did OK.
Pennant…..6, lacked his usual penetration, withdrawn.
Kim…………7, came more into the game in the second half
Perch………6, struggled in the midfield battle
Ojo…………6, drifted in and out of the game, withdrawn
Clarke…….6, little impact
Fortune…..6, provided little, withdrawn.
Kvist…….6, solid in defence.
Murphy…6, lively but tended to over complicate things.
Sinclair…n/a on pitch for ten mins but hardly touched the ball
Att………………. 10, 684
Entertainment rating ……..5/10, spoiled by the pitch
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