A poor performance with too many players performing below their normal levels saw Wigan lose at home to Swansea and lose the opportunity to move out of the bottom three.
Roberto Martinez made three changes from the side which performed credibly at West Bromwich, Espinoza replacing the injured Beausejour and two tactical changes the re-introduction of captain Caldwell and McArthur for Stam and Gomez.
Wigan started brightly with McCarthy controlling midfield and both teams looking to pass the ball around seeking an opening for the first goal. Both sides cancelled each other out with too many passes going astray and for Wigan too many passes backwards when on the few opccasions the ball did go forward to Kone and McManaman , Swansea looked vulnerable. Wigan’s best early chance was a long range shot comfortable saved by Vorm.
Swansea’s best chance was from one of many calamitous errors by Wigan, when Gary Caldwell under pressure passed back to Robles who picked the ball up in the penalty area. After what seemed an eternity all eleven Wigan players lined up on the line and as Swansea shot seven sprinted out leaving four covering the line. Fortunately the ball flew high over the bar.
With half time looming Wigan secured an unlikely lead, an aimless cross from Watson was punched clear by Vorm straight to Espinoza at the edge of the area. He appeared to mis hit his shot into the ground but this deceived the Swansea defence and the power of the shot took it into the net and Wigan had the lead.
Wigan started the second half on the back foot with ten men sitting deep in front of their own goal inviting Swansea onto them. The Swans wasted no time in accepting the opportunity and a Routledge pass found Rangel out wide and with Espinoza trailing in his wake, his powerful shot went across Robles , hit the post and went in the ner.
Within five minutes Wigan were level, Caldwell who had a difficult evening in defence played a lovely through ball to McCarthy and the young midfielder finished well and once again Wigan were ahead.
Wigan pushed forwards in search of a third and McArthur should have done better from a beautiful through ball from Kone.
Swansea continued to dominate midfield and a howler of a pass from Caldwell gifted the ball to Hernandez who passed to Schecter and his shot deflected in off the post to level the scores.
Swansea continued to exert their dominance and all too often Wigan’s midfield seemed content to pass backwards much to the ire of the home crowd. Swansea’s pressure eventually told when Maloney and McArthur managed to commit football suicide in front of goal by both attempting to clear a nothing cross from Hernandez, the ball fell to Tiendelli whose poorly hit shot did just enough to cross the line.
Wigan huffed and puffed but little creativity meant that chances were few and far between. A collision of heads between Vorm and one of his defenders saw the young keeper stretchered off .
For Wigan the game went from the sublime to the ridiculous when Stam probably set the record for the shortest substitution of ten seconds before being injured and leaving Wigan with ten men.
Wigan showed little in the nine minutes added on and the full time whistle brought the realisation to many fans that this season an escape may be too much for a gallant but small squad.
Team Line up and ratings
Robles……5, poor, should have done better for the goals
Boyce…..6 one of the better players, mysteriously withdrawn
Scharner…..5.5 not his best game
Caldwell……4, very poor
Espinoza…..5 , weak in defence ineffective in attack apart from one shot.
McArthur….6, should have scored, worked hard.
McCarthy….6, good first half and a good goal, tired visibly.
Watson….5.5 too keen to apss backwards, surrendered midfield.
Maloney….6, looked tired but never stopped trying
McManaman….6, good first half mysteriously withdrawn
Kone…..6.5, best of a poor bunch
Di Santo for McManaman….5, anonymous.
Gomez for Watson…..5, didn’t notice him.
Stam…..0, surely set a record for the shortest substitution ever.
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