A last gasp free kick by Jordi Gomez sealed a deserved victory for a Wigan Athletic side whose total dominance of the game from approximately the fifth minute merited the scoreline against a stubborn if limited Charlton side.
Wigan made three changes from the tepid nil all draw at Middlesboro with Nick Powell failing a fitness test resulting in a recall for Callum McManaman and recalls for McClean and Watson for Crainey and Espinoza.
Charlton arrived at the DW stadium with a record of one win in ten games but if Wigan fans were expecting a walk over their aspirations were rudely challenged when a marking mix up at the back saw Sordell burst through onto Jackson’s pass and with only Al Habsi to beat he easily slotted the ball past the keeper and Charlton were one nil up with only two minutes on the clock.
Wigan reacted positively and with McManaman back to his best pushed forwards in search of an equaliser as Charlton struggled to get out of their own half. Wigan’s best chance in the first half fell to the mercurial Liverpudlian whose powerful shot hit the cross bar before being scrambled clear.
Wigan continued to pressure the Charlton defence but found themselves thwarted by the away side’s keeper Thuriam-Ulien who had an unorthodox style of punching everything coming his way.
Wigan almost went further behind when Ghoochannejhad burst through poor defending on the right and fired a powerful shot over Al Habsi which hit the underside of the cross bar and to the relief of the majority of the crowd bounced away from the goal.
Sordell who was Charlton’s main creative outlet had another good chance before half when put through one on one he opted for a theatrical dive hoping for a penalty , his claims being firmly waved away by referee Mr Bull.
Wigan trooped off at half time unable to comprehend how their almost total dominance had not resulted in a goal and knowing that they would have to ramp up the pressure if they were to get anything out of this match.
The second half continued in the same vein with Wigan peppering Thuriam-Ulien’s goal which appear to lead a charmed life and as the game wore on the home fans grew increasingly nervous that their favourites efforts were going to come to naught .Wigan thought they had got an equaliser when Maynard bundled the ball over the line but with the referee awarding the goal and the assistant flagging for offside there was a confabulation between the officials before the goal was disallowed, a decision which replays have shown was the incorrect one
.The game changed on the 57th minute when Rosler made a double substitution bringing on debutant McEachran and Fortune for Maynard and McCann and immediately Wigan’s play showed more purpose with slide rule passes from McEachran splitting the Charlton defence and Fortune shown vision and purpose in his running off the ball and lay offs to McManaman and McClean.
Still the goal wouldn’t come as Barnett headed over and a goal mouth scramble saw the ball cleared off the line via the cross bar.
Rosler opted to bring on his third substitution bringing on Gomez for McArthur and immediately the Spaniard formed a partnership with McEachran and Beausejour pressing down the left with the latter putting over some searching crosses.
Just when it appeared that Charlton’s dogged defence would prove fruitful, Wigan hit them with a double whammy, first McEachran put Fortune through and although he mishit his shot the ball had enough to bobble over the line.
Then in time added on, Gomez went down easily under a tackle and from the resultant free kick the midfielder curled the ball around the wall leaving the keeper stranded and Wigan had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
Full time brought a collective relaxation of the tension as the three points allowed Wigan to maintain the pressure on the sides challenging for a play off place.
Team line up and player ratings
Al Habsi…..6, little to do apart from freeze.
Perch…….6, didn’t push forward as much in previous games.
Boyce……6, worked hard
Barnett…..6.5, best of the defence.
Beausejour….6, quiet until Gomez came on.
McCann…..6, worked hard, withdrawn.
McArthur…..6.5., his usual industrious self, withdrawn.
Watson….., 5,5 , not his best game.
McClean……6, tried hard.
Maynard,……5.5., ;little chance to shine,unlucky to have a goal disallowed, withdrawn.
McManaman……7, a constant threat all afternoon, MOM.
Fortune…..6.5 ( for Maynard), provided a fulcrum for the attack.
McEachran….6.5,( for McCann ) provided the creative play lacking in the first half.
Gomez…..6.5, ( for McArthur), an excellent cameo role
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