Wigan Athletic manager made nine changes to the side which performed so well against West Ham at the weekend with only Ramis and Al Habsi retaining their places in the starting line up. In amongst the nine changes there were surprise starts for Redmond and Fyvie with midfielder Ben Watson given the unfamiliar role as a central defender.
Wigan started brightly with slick passing moves mainly orchestrated by Jones and McManaman and Boselli was the main benefactors, the latter’s insightful running saw him in space in the penalty area but he was quickly closed down by industrious, committed Bradford defence. So dominant was Wigan’s first quarter that Bradford’s first real foray into the Wigan half occurred in something like the twenty fifth minute. During that time Ramis had a headed goal chalked out for offside and Boselli shot weekly at the keeper when he should have done better.
Bradford had appeared to have come to park the metaphorical bus in front of the goal but as the half went on with Wigan unable to make the break through, the Bantams started to venture forward roared on by a fantastically noisy away following without however troubling Al Habsi in the Wigan goal.
Half time came with the Wigan faithful amazed that their dominance hadn’t borne fruit against a team that was miles below Wigan in terms of skill and class ( but not heart).
The second half followed much the same pattern as the first with Gomez firing a sharp shot just over the bar and Boselli missing the opportunity to trouble Duke in the Bradford goal on several occasions. For Bradford Hines was the most dangerous outlet but he was well policed for most of the game by captain for the night Ramis. As the half went on the concerns of the home fans at the lack of goals seemed to filter through to the home players as more passes went astray and Roberto Martinez opted to bring on Maloney and Beausejour for Redmond and McManaman in the attempt to instil a bit more creative flair into the side. For a while it seemed to work with especially Maloney looking sharp however Gomez and Boselli continued to waste chances.
Extra time came and went with yet more chances wasted, Gomez again providing the most embarrassing miss when one on one with the keeper he managed to shoot wide of the goal when it seemed easier to score.
And so it was onto penalties and with penalties going “with serve” Maloney stepped up and blasted it over the bar. The Bantams scored the next one and it fell to Gomez to deliver the death knell to Wigan’s Capitol one cup aspirations for this season when he delivered a penalty with all the power and accuracy of a back pass. The result is a major set back after two excellent performances in previous rounds and whilst nine changes should have been enough to beat Bradford the stark facts are that too many changes was a major cause in the most embarrassing defeat in several years.
Line Up and Player Ratings
Al Habsi……6, little to do except pick the ball out of the net
Ramis…..8, played a captain’s role, deserved MOM
Watson…..5 not a centre half and it shows
Lopez…..6, caught in possession a couple of times
Stam…..5, a few good crosses but little else.
Redmond…..5 showed a few good touches, one for the future
Jones…..7, a the heart of most of Wigan’s good play.
Fyvie…..5 , room for improvement but has time on his side.
McManaman…..6.5, unlucky to be withdrawn
Boselli…..5, missed a shedful of chances
Gomez……4, back to the Gomez of old, poor
Subs Used Maloney…..6.5 , gave some much needed spark
Beausejour…..5, little influence
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