A scintillating performance full of endeavor, commitment and skill saw a resurgent Wigan Athletic dominate and finally overwhelm the league leaders Derby County thanks to a brace from Irish super sub James McClean
Wigan came into this game without a league win in two calendar months and manager Uwe Rosler opted to rotate his resources once again in an effort to find that elusive winning formula. To that end five changes were made to the starting line up with Ramis missing out with a hamstring injury to be replaced Rob Kiernan. Fit again Cowie and Huws earned recalls at the expense of Kvist and McClean with Oriel Riera dropping out of the starting XI, his replacement being fans favourite , Roger Espinoza and stand in skipper Shaun Maloney had to be content with a place on the bench to be replaced by Callum McManaman.
WIgan dominated proceedings from the off , controlling possession with some precision passing that belied their league status and cause no little angst amongst the home fans. Wigan’s best chances fell to Huws and McManaman who both tested England keeper Butland in the Derby goal. Derby weren’t out of the game though and a long range shot from Russell had Carson scrambling across his goalWigan thought that had a good shout for a penalty when McManaman went down under a challenge but instead the referee opted to award Callum a yellow card for “simulation”.
A second appeal for a penalty this time against Bryson for handball in the box was upheld and Tavernier stepped up to take the kick. Hopes of Latics taking the lead were dashed by Butland however who saved well in the corner.
Within a minute the hosts were ahead when Figueroa committed a foul and the resultant free kick by Russell found Whitbread unmarked at the far post and his header across the goal left Eustace with a simple tap in giving Derby an undeserved half time lead.
Derby started the second half with confidence with Dawkins going close and Hendrick conjuring a fine save from Carson. Wigan however weren’t to be overawed by either going behind or by the home sides’ renewed confidence and buoyed by the effervescent energy of substitute McClean the away side tore into Derby and their efforts were rewarded when the industrious Espinoza got behind the defence and his cross found McClean in support in the penalty area, whose powerful shot beat Butland for the equaliser Wigan continued to be the team most likely to get a winner with Maloney and Tavernier both going close but in the end the winning touch came from McClean who was the first to pounce on a parried shot from Butland, firing the ball home to spark an eruption of ecstasy amongst the travelling Wigan faithful.
Derby pushed for what would have been an undeserved equaliser with a Martin header their best effort but Wigan held on for their first away win of the season, giving the heads up tot eh rest of the league that they will be a force to be reckoned with if they can get consistency based on this performance Line Up
Carson, Tavernier, Kiernan ( Kvist ), Barnett (c), Figueroa, Espinoza, Huws ( Maloney ), Forshaw, Cowie, McManaman(McClean ), Fortune.
Man of Match……… Marc Antoine Fortune, once again led the line tirelessly and a constant thorn in the Derby defence
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