Wigan travelled to Turf Moor full of confidence following their excellent win over Reading knowing that a win could guarantee them a play off place with three games to go.
Ninety minutes later a team unrecognisable in terms of tactics, spirit and to a lesser degree personnel, slunk off the pitch as their hosts celebrated promotion to the Premier League following a deserved two nil victory over the Latics.
Rosler as per usual opted to rotate hsi resources, making four changes from Good Friday with the selection of Crainey, Collison, McClean and Fortune in for Espinoza, Maloney, McManaman and Waghorn with key players from Friday’s victory in Waghorn and Espinoza not even making the bench.
In contrast Dyche’s Burnley as so often this season were unchanged and the confidence of playing together so often showed as they tore into a Wigan side that looked disjointed and leaderless, all too often using a long ball for the ineffective Fortune to chase in vain.
Burnley’s play was slick, quick and direct with Barnes and Ings giving the flat Wigan back four a torrid time and whereas clear cut chances were few int he opening stanza it was no surprise when Burnley took the lead as Marney broke down the right with Boyce and Crainey trailing in his wake, he crossed for Barnes to arrive unopposed to smash the ball past AL Habsi.
This should have stung Wigan into action but sadly it was more of the same with misplaced passes and over hit ball belying the silky skills displayed on Good Friday.
Chance after chance came the home sides way as Arfield, Kightly, Barnes and Ings tested the Wigan defences’ resolve and it was over half an hour before Wigan tested the home side’s resolve when a Gomez free kick was headed onto the bar by Fortune.
Burnley continued to press and doubled their lead when as at the Reebok, poor positioning for a free kick by Al Habsi saw the ball pass directly into the net and Burnley had a deserved two goal lead that in all honesty could have been four or five.
Half time saw the away side troop off to a chorus of boos from a sizable minority of the large away support and Rosler reacted immediately to the poor first half withdrawing Crainey and Gomez and introducing McManaman and Kiernan and switching to three centre backs and two wing backs.
There was an immediate increase in the tempo of the Wigan performance with McManaman trying to win the game on his own, tearing into the Burnley back four with gusto. The best chance fell however to the bandaged Boyce who rose to head a ball back across the goal, unfortunately the ball went narrowly over the bar.
Wigan continued to huff and puff with top goal scorer Powell ( recently voted Crewe Alex’s greatest ever player) out of form and warming the bench they never really troubled Burnley who comfortably won the game and with it the golden ticket to the Premier League.
For Wigan a third defeat in the last nine games along with three draw raises questions about the quality in the squad depth as none of the four replacements from Friday improved the lineup. Wigan have played considerably more games than anyone else in this league but the loss of consistent form going into the business end of the season must be a concern for all.
Team Line up and Player ratings
Al Habsi………………6, OK, a couple of good saves but at fault for the second goal
Perch…………………6, OK, always on the back foot
Boyce………………..6, OK, our best attacking threat in the starting XI
Barnett……………….6, OK, steady at the back, caught for pace on occasion
Crainey………………5, Poor, struggled with the pace and power of Burnley’s attack, withdrawn
Collison……………..5, Poor, failed to impose himself on the game
McArthur……………6, OK, lack of support around him was telling.
Gomez………………5, Poor, not his kind of game, withdrawn.
McClean…………..5,Poor, gave 100% but wasn’t effective at all, withdrawn
Fortune…………….5, Poor, one good header, but never looks like scoring.
Beausejour……….5, Poor, too many crosses overhit but wasn’t the only one
McManaman for Gomez……7.5, MOM, showed zip and purpose raising question why he had been dropped to the bench in the first place?
Kiernan for Crainey……….7, Good, one slip but otherwise a composed performance.
Maynard for Fortune……..n/a had negligible impact as a late substitution
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