A poor performance on a blustery afternoon in Yorkshire saw Wigan continue their poor away form (no goals in the last three away matches) and whilst the conditions should be a factor to be taken in mitigation the palpable lack of quality shown made for uneasy watching by the large Wigan travelling contingent.
Wigan continued to rotate the starting line up with the changes seeing with the introduction of Fortune , Gomez, Crainey and debutant Waghorn in a 4-3-3 formation with Waghorn and Beausejour playing out wide on the right with Fortune as the lone target man in the centre.
Wigan played with the powerful wind at their backs in the first half but failed to master the conditions with too many long balls going straight out of play giving Smithies in the home goal and easy forty five minutes. Wigan only looked dangerous when the ball was fed to Waghorn and man of the match Beausejour, the latter fizzing over low crosses that Fortune failed to get onto.
Huddersfield, unsurprisingly when you consider the gale opted to play the ball on the ground with their key players Clayton and Norwood controlling midfield and spraying out balls for pacy front men Wells and Vaughan to run onto with the latter in particular giving Boyce and Perch a torrid time.
The first chance fell to Huddersfield when Barnett dallied too long on the ball and was dispossessed by Wells whose powerful cross was just too long for the in rushing Vaughan
It was a tepid 45 minutes with only Waghorn, having one shot well saved and hitting the side netting with another and a mis-hit clearance spooning over the goal the only chances of note for the Latics whilst at the other end Vaughan failed to get on the end of a cross field ball with Al Habsi stranded .
The first twenty minutes of the second half bore no resemblance to the first forty five as Wigan tore in Huddersfield with once again Beausejour and Waghorn at the heart of everything that was good about Wigan. For all this pressure they failed to trouble the keeper with the best effort falling to McArthur/Waghorn who comically got in each other’s way and resulting in Waghorn spooning a simple chance wide of an open goal.
Huddersfield gradually clawed their way back into the game and with Wigan’s central midfield having a collective off day they started to increase the pressure on the Wigan defence. Wigan brought on McManaman for Waghorn but to little obvious improvement and Huddersfield started to try and use the swirling wind to their advantage with a couple of long range shots. The first narrowly flew over the bar with Al Habsi well beaten and the second hit the bar and the big Omani gratefully gathered the ball on the rebound.
Wigan brought on the more defensive minded McCann for the attacking Gomez in what appeared to be an attempt to shut up shop and eke out a draw but Clayton spoiled this tactic with yet another long range shot beating the floundering Al Habsi and Huddersfield had the lead that their enterprise in managing the conditions just about deserved.
Wigan brought Maynard on for McArthur in an attempt to get the equaliser but it was too little too late and the full time whistle continued Wigan’s wretched away form of just four wins out of fourteen matches with just nine goals scored. Form which is likely to be a key factor if they fail to make the play offs this season.
Team Line up and Play ratings
Al Habsi…..5, looked uncomfortable all afternoon
Perch……6.5, best of the back four.
Boyce……5.5., given a torrid time by Vaughan.
Barnett…..5.5., his worst performance in a Latics shirt.
Waghorn……..7, looked good on his debut, withdrawn.
McArthur……6, second best in the midfield battle.
Watson…….5.5., a poor performance
Gomez……6, a few nice touches.
Beausejour……7.5, looked dangerous every time he got the ball. Man of the Match
Fortune…..5, needs to learn the offside rule.
McManaman for Waghorn….5, contributed little.
McCann for Gomez……5, little influence.
Maynard for McArthur…..N/A
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