A double strike by charismatic Watford striker Troy Deeney sealed the points at Vicarage Road as the home side consigned Wigan to their third straight defeat under new manager Malky Mackay.
Wigan manager sprang a surprise with the team line up, fielding a team without a recognised striker in it with left winger James McClean handed the attacking role. There were recalls for Boyce, Cowie and Espinoza, replacing Figueroa, Maloney and Fortune
If the fans were puzzled by the line up then for the first twenty five minutes it appeared so were the players as there was very little in the way of an attacking threat from Wigan so dominant were their opponents. The exception was a shot from Espinoza filling in on the left wing for McClean which went narrowly wide.
Watford made their pressure tell in the twentieth minute highlighting the advantage of having a recognised striker on the pitch when Deeney( highlighted before the game by Wigan manager Malky Mackay as the dangerman) was quickest to react to an Anya header in the penalty area firing an unstoppable shot past Scott Carson in the Wigan goal to give Watford a deserved lead.
Since Mackay’s arrival all Wigan’s goals have been scored from set pieces and so it proved again yesterday. A corner was won by McManaman, McClean fired over a cross and for the second away match in succession McCann rose like a salmon to head the ball past Gomes for an unlikely equaliser just on the stroke of half time, Watford came out for the second half with all guns firing but Wigan defended with renewed confidence and looked dangerous on the break with McClean a willing workhorse upfront. Again Wigan’s best chances were from set pieces, a Watson corner resulting in a goalmouth scramble and a McClean corner being headed narrowly wide by Watson Latics grew in stature and began to dominate the possession with substitute Maloney causing problems for the home defence and Watford reduced to pressurising Wigan on the counter attack. There was a collision between Carson and Deeney as the keeper raced off his line to clear a through ball. Deeney needed treatment following the collision but made his presence felt in the dying embers of the match when the pacy Anya crossed from the right and Deeney showing the anticipation of a regular forward headed in his second and the winning goal. For the second game in succession Mackay opted to bring on French striker Andy Delort in the dying embers of the game and it was too little too late and Wigan’s defeat resulted in the unwelcome statistic of the Latics entering Christmas in the championship relegation places Team Line Up
Carson, Perch, Boyce (c), Barnett, Taylor, McManaman( Maloney ), Watson, McCann, Cowie, Espinoza( Delort), McClean.
Man of Match…James McClean….showed commitment and energy despite being played out of position
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