Wigan secured a point against high flyers Queens Park Rangers last night at the DW Stadium with a performance high on endeavour and commitment but low on class and flair and with the exception of a header from McCann which hit the post, Wigan didn’t look like scoring in a game in which Rangers had almost two thirds of the possession.
Owen Coyle once again rotated his squad, bringing in Shotton, Gomez and McManaman in place of Rogne, Watson and McClean with new loan signing Albrighton taking a place on the bench alongside veteran keeper Mike Pollitt.
Wigan lined up with the wingers Gomez and McManaman in the unfamiliar positions of left and right wings respectively , an experiment which back fired as both wingers were forced to cut inside onto their favoured foot thereby negating the effectiveness of their skill and pace.
Rangers showed why they are near the top of the league with Hill and Dunne solid at the back and an attacking midfield with Hoillet to the fore passing the ball at pace with aplomb cutting through the Wigan midfield at will with the hard working central midfield duo McArthur and McCann forced to defend deep.
Up front for Wigan Grant holt ploughed a lone furrow struggling to command any aerial superiority against Dunne and growing increasingly frustrated at the quality of the ball supplied to him. Once again, Powell was Wigan’s most attacking player for Wigan and his powerful shot fizzed narrowly wide of Rob Green’s post.
For the visitors, former Wigan target Kranjker went close, his shot going over the bar and home debutant Nicholls in the Wigan goal had to save smartly from O’Neil.
Callum McManaman fresh from signing a contract extension then fired a shot narrowly wide of the Ranger’s goal but half time came with muted boos from some in the East Stand no doubt expressing frustration of another forty five minutes without a shot on target from Wigan.
Owen Coyle opted to change the team around at half time, brining on Fortune for the out of touch Holt and Wigan immediately looked shaper with the big Frenchman looking good in the air and sharp with the ball at his feet, striking up a good understanding with Powell.
Clear cut chances for both sides were few and far between however , Wigan’s best chance fell to McCann when for the second match in succession he put a powerful header against the woodwork, McManaman being unable to keep the rebound down, blazing over the bar.
Redknapp opted to bring on another former Wigan target in Andrew Johnson and he showed a neat turn of pace breaching the Wigan defence , Nicholls raced out of his area and appeared to body check Johnson, the away striker appeal for a free kick appearing justified. The referee waved play on and Nicholls can consider himself lucky to escape a yellow card.
Both sides pushed for the winning goal without any real conviction that they were going to secure it and the full time whistle extended Wigan’s goal scoring drought in the Championship to over 270 minutes raising worries among the departing faithful of their favourites ability to mount a promotion challenge
Team line Up and player ratings
Nicholls….8, cool , calm and collected, lucky not ot be booked though
Boyce….7, worked hard against pacy opposition
Shotton…..7, relatively untroubled
Barnett….6, caught for pace on a couple of occasions
Perch…..6.5, given a hard time by Hoilett
McCann….7, industrious performance, unlucky not to score.
McArthur….6, played deeper than usual
McManaman…..7, looked sharper than recent performances, withdrawn
Gomez….5, struggled out of position, wIthdrawn
Powell….7, looked dangerous all evening
Holt….5, struggled against a good defence, withdrawn
Fortune for Holt….6, a powerful second half performance.
McClean for Gomez…..5, failed to make an impact.
Albrighton for McManaman…..5, little chance to shine
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