A long range shot by Martyn Waghorn’s on his debut as a permanently contracted Wigan Athletic player was enough to deliver all three points to the home side but the performance served up collectively was poor against a physical Leeds side who succeeded in knocking the Latics off their game.
Wigan made two changes to the side that produced their best performance of the season against with Leicester City, with Waghorn and McManaman coming in for Collison and Maynard.
The match produced few chances and in the opening fifteen minutes the main points of interest were the tackles which flew in thick and fast. Within the first minute Perch had earned the ire of the referee earning a yellow card for a challenge which had the Leeds fans baying for a red card for what they perceived as an elbow to the head of Warnock.
Leeds had the first chance of the game when indecision in the Latics defence allowed Warnock a chance but his shot went wide of the post. Shortly after the first Leeds player went into the referee’s book when Wotton’s over zealous tackle on Powell saw Mr Swarbrick reach for his notebook.
The game displayed little quality, much of Wigan’s creativity comes from the boot of Gomez but with the mercurial Spaniard being closely marked and subject to the physical attention of Brown et al, Wigan lacked the flair to create chances that would trouble Butland in the away team’s goal.
With Leeds playing ten men behind the ball, chances were at a premium for either side with Latics best in the first half hour a long range shot from Gomez which went wide and for Leeds was a half chance to Smith. Unsurprisingly , former Wigan man Michael Brown eventually earned himself a yellow card as did Jordi Gomez for Wigan
The first half appeared to be meandering towards a soporific draw when a long range shot form Waghorn found the bottom corner of the net past the outstretched hand of Butland and Wigan had an improbable lead.
Any hopes that Leeds going behind would spark the game into life proved unfounded as the last ten minutes of the game was played largely in centre midfield with McArthur for Wigan striving to get his team mates moving but all too often the ball seemed to be played long and in to touch as McManaman and Powell struggled to find space against the Leeds defence.
Latics took the momentum at the beginning of the second half with McManaman looking sharp on the right but a couple of half chances came to nothing and with the quality of the play deteriorating by the minute, Wigan grew frustrated with too many passes going astray as Leeds were given an opportunity to get back into the game with an increasing amount of possession.
Wigan opted to make early second half substitutions with Collison, McClean and Fortune replacing Powell, McManaman and Waghorn respectively. There was no noticeable improvement in the performance as with the exception of the three centre halves and McArthur the rest of the team looked disjointed and off the pace.
Fortunately for Wigan, Leeds were unable to take any advantage of the home side’s collective off day and a header from Smith and a deflected shot from Tonge which could have gone anywhere, fell into the hands of Al Habsi who was already committed to the save.
For Wigan the odd break failed as McClean and Fortune looked isolated and incapable of holding the ball up until the supporting players arrived and the best chance for Wigan fell to Gomez when the ball fell to him unmarked in the penalty area but his attempt to steer the ball into the net skewed off his foot and went out for a throw in.
The full time whistle brought cheers of relief from the home fans but the home side trooped off the pitch hint he knowledge that they will have to play much better if they are to secure a place in the Premier League for next season.
Team Line up and player ratings
Al Habsi…….6, one of his quieter afternoons, untroubled.
Perch………5.5, looked uncomfortable when pushing forwards.
Crainey……6, Supported well on the left flank but lacks pace and creativity.
Boyce……..7, led the back line well.
Kiernan…..7, growing in stature every game.
Ramis…….7, solid and assured.
Gomez…….5, an off day.
McArthur……7.5., never stopped trying to push the team forwards MOM.
Waghorn…..7, worked hard, withdrawn.
McManaman…..6, faded after the break, withdrawn.
Powell……..5, struggled to impose himself on the game., withdrawn
Collison for Powell…..6, tightened up centre midfield.
McClean for McManaman…..5, failed to make an impact.
Fortune for Waghorn…..5, ran around a lot but little quality.
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