On a pitch more suited to building sandcastles, Wigan Athletic produced a committed performance high on endeavor and teamwork to secure a much needed and deserved win against basement dwellers Blackpool.
Wigan made one change from the midweek defeat against Cardiff with the recall of keeper Scott Carson to replace Ali Al Habsi.
Both teams struggled to control the ball on a pitch that was cutting up badly, so many passes being diverted by the uneven pitch to the frustration of both teams.
Wigan maintained the ethos of trying to play the ball on the ground with midfielder Kim once again the shining light with his none stop action style and silky passing skills which kept Blackpool’s key playmaker Perkins on the back foot.
With the unpredictability of the pitch it was no surprise that the best chances in the first thirty minutes for both sides came from set pieces. For Wigan a Pennant corner caused trouble in the Blackpool back line and for the home side , two corners saw Blackpool attackers rise to head the ball unchallenged, thankfully for Wigan both efforts went wide of the mark.
Just when it seemed that the pitch would be the winner in the first half, Kim’s never say die attitude saw Wigan take the lead. Kim burst forwards from midfield, feeding the ball through to McClean whose goalbound shot was palmed away towards Pennant who ball back towards goal was met by the predatory Kim who slotted the ball home.
Half time followed soon afterwards with the Wigan side departing to a standing ovation from the raucous 1,800 travelling support whose constant signing throughout the game was a feature of the afternoon.
Wigan hit the ground running in the second half with Pennant who was a revelation with his skill running and crossing putting the home side under pressure.
Blackpool gradually grew in confidence and a goal mouth scramble saw a goal bound shot brilliantly cleared off the line by Boyce, a key moment in the game.
Wigan attacked again and Fortune whose work rate and intelligent support play should have done better when a lovely ball from Kim found him well positioned but his show went well wide of the goal when he should have at least put a shot on target.
Shortly after this miss was forgotten when from a corner, man mountain Maguire rose majestically to head the ball goalwards, Blackpool try to head it clear but such was the power of the header the ball continued on its path onto the goal sparking exuberant celebrations between both the Wigan players and fans in the corner
Blackpool tried to claw their way back into the game but the Wigan back four was rock solid and broke up everything thrown at the. From one such attack Wigan broke and had three players bearing down on the Blackpool goal with near a defender in site. McClean was in control of the ball and showed superb composure to fire the ball past Lewis for an unassailable lead..
Blackpool did snatch a consolation from a Madine tap in but Wigan comfortably held one for a deserved victory to send them into Wednesday’s key game with Norwich with some positive momentum having gained their first double of the season.
Team Line up and Player Ratings
Carson……6, did what he had to
Boyce……..8, back to his best, a superb performance.
Peace……..6, forming a good understanding with Maguire
Maguire…..7, a colossus, hopefully his loan period will be extended
Bong……….7, pacy in attack, tenacious in defence.
Ojo………….6, sharp at first but faded ,withdrawn
Kim…………9, MOM, key to Wigan’s chances of survival.
Perch………7, solid and dependable.
Pennant…..7, a constant creative threat all afternoon, withdrawn
McClean….7, took his goal superbly.
Fortune….7, a tireless worker.
Clarke ( for Ojo)…..6, fitted in well.
Cowie ( for Pennant)…… n/a
Entertainment rating….6/10 spoilt by the pitch and wind
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