Wigan’s final home game of the season saw them troop off with their tails between their legs as a Blackpool side short on quality but high on commitment embarrassed their promotion chasing hosts by defeating them two nil.
Rosler opted to revert to the side that was so dominant against Reading on Good Friday but if the Wigan fans were expecting more of the same, then they were sorely disappointed as the home side failed to gel and create any sustained pressure against a side that hadn’t won in fifteen away matches…..before yesterday.
The game was largely a dour midfield battle with in the first half Blackpool seemingly incapable of getting out of their own half with the ball and Wigan incapable of pressurising McMahon in the Blackpool net.
Wigan’s best play was as per usual down the left where through ball from Gomez to Maloney caused uncertainty in the Blackpool defence and from one of these, a header by Perch was comfortably saved by Gilks.
Another break down the left saw Maloney burst into the area and the diminutive Scotsman went to ground with Mr D’Urso pointing straight to the spot for a penalty. Blackpool players surrounded the referee claiming that there had been no foul play and replays showed that they might have had a case.
Surprisingly Gomez ‘s penalty duties were handed on to Waghorn but his well taken penalty was superbly saved by Gilks diving to his left to palm the ball away.
Wigan continued to dominate the possession without creating any clear cut chances and as the first half came to a close the away team trooped off the happier.
Rosler responded to the impasse by withdrawing Waghorn , replacing him with top scorer Powell who headed a good cross wide of the far post when it should have at least been on target. Wigan for all their on the floor passing play lacked any penetration and Blackpool slowly grew in confidence with Osbourne beginning to dominate midfield and find through balls or the industrious Keogh and Dobbie.
Blackpool made Wigan pay for some much too casual the hour with Osbourne being allowed far too much room on the left by Beausejour, his cross was met by Keogh who headed the ball across Al Habsi into the net .
Maloney continued to be Wigan’s main attacking threat but all too often he struggled to remain on his feet, his best effort being a set piece which went over the bar.
Wigan in truth showed little aptitude for a fightback and one nil quickly became two when Keogh again outpaced Beausejour, pulled the ball back from seemingly going out of play and Dobbie snuck in past the Wigan defence to power the ball home and Wigan were dead and buried.
Wigan continued to play with the majority of possession but were reduced to long range efforts or half chances with very little going right on a afternoon when as a collective they all seemed to be performing at about 70% of their potential.
The final whistle saw a very tired Wigan side troop off the pitch knowing that whilst the play offs are still in their hands a much improved performance in terms of fitness creativity and finishing is going to be needed to make the play offs never mind secure a place in next season’s Premier League.
Team Line up and Player ratings;
Al Habsi…….6, OK, some dodgy kicking as per usual.
Perch……….6, OK, looked jaded.
Boyce………6, OK, struggled for pace after the break.
Barnett…….6, OK, Usual unfussy performance.
Beausejour…..5, Poor, reluctant to go forwards and defended poorly.
McArthur……5, Poor, one game to many for the player of the season.
Gomez……….6, OK some nice balls to Maloney in the first half, faded after the break.
Espinoza……5, Poor, strangely subdued, withdrawn.
Maloney……6.5, OK our only attacking threat, withdrawn.
Waghorn……6, OK Ran around a lot but little chance to shine, withdrawn.
McManaman……5, Poor, needed him to shine and he didn’t.
Powell for Waghorn…..5, Poor, a shadow of the player from the first half of the season.
Fortune for Espinoza…..5, Poor, little influence on the game.
McClean for Maloney……N/A
Att………………… 19, 137
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