August 28, 2021: Wigan Athletic 1 Portsmouth 0
Portsmouth arrived at Wigan having won three and drawn one of the first four games, not having conceded a goal. They were going to provide stern opposition for Latics.
Wigan had started the game without Max Power, presumably injured, with Tom Pearce coming in at left back and Tendayi Darikwa reverting to his more habitual position on the right. Both clubs have had major changes in their playing staff over summer and it can only be expected that they will need time to gel.
However, the visitors immediately settled into their stride, their smooth running and passing movements depriving Wigan of possession. Fortunately, this Latics team is better set up defensively than most, with a solid goalkeeper and a cohesive back four and holding midfielders who do so much to shield the defence. The downside for Latics was the return of that hoofball/hopeful long ball approach that remains dormant in the players’ mindsets. Going into half time one hoped that Latics could get the ball back on the ground and challenge a Pompey defence that had been underworked up to that point. The defence had held firm and the visitors had not scored.
Things did improve for Latics in the second half, gradually clawing back into the game against a tight Pompey rear-guard. It was not pretty, but they did get the ball down more and as the match went on they looked the more likely to score. Jordan Jones was substituted for James MacClean to come on after 54 minutes and the Irishman added life on the left, even if his final touch was somewhat lacking. Pearce had started to overlap on the left, where he can be so exciting to watch. But his crossing had been wayward until the 78th minute when his pass reached Callum Lang who rifled the ball home with aplomb.
After the game Leam Richardson commented:
“I thought the response in the second half was the most pleasing aspect. I thought in the first half – credit to Portsmouth – they imposed themselves quite quickly on us and the game. I thought our distances weren’t great, and I felt it looked like we played on Tuesday night in a derby, and they had a free week.
In the second half, I thought our lads responded well to the information, imposed themselves a lot better, and took the game 10-15 yards up the pitch. They were tough. They’ve got some good players, and they are a fantastic football club. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience it down in Portsmouth, and they are carrying a healthy squad. They are expecting to get out of the league, and they’ve probably been in it too long, but today, I thought it was up to us to impose ourselves a little bit more.
I thought we were on our heels a little bit and our distances through the centre of the pitch weren’t what they should or could have been, and I felt that we didn’t really have contact around the pitch, so we spoke about that at half-time. The subs that came on gave us impetus in the game, and our energy and high-speed running was excellent again. Normally when you tick a few boxes, you normally land on the right side of the result.”
Let’s take a look at how fans reacted to the match through the message boards and social media. Our thanks go to the Vital Wigan – Latics Speyk Forum and Twitter for providing the media for the posts below to happen. Thanks go to all whose contributions are identified below:
That is an outstanding three points, it really is. I thought they were the best team we’ve played so far. Really is the sign of a good side when we can get three points from a game like that without really dominating. McClean changed the game. Also, whilst he made a mistake for Wycombe’s goal, Kell Watts is looking like a very good signing indeed and any centre-back we sign between now and Tuesday will not walk straight into this side.
Tell you what, that was a poor performance, especially the first half, but last season we would have lot that 4-0 and I always see teams that eventually go up to pick up wins in those types of games and we did, do think we felt a little leggy with the number of games in quick succession and the team looking to gel.
Can give chance to more of the youth and Fringe lads for wolves u21 Tuesday and the. Have a well deserve rest.
Considering we only played really strong sides for our first 5 games, the team exceeded expectations
Up the tics!
Well done Leam as well, good substitutions. Lang had a stinker, but again that’s why you have to keep him on for 90 mins, because he always has a goal or a big moment in him.
Exiled Tic stated:
Not our best today but the defence stood up to everything they tried and Amos had his easiest game yet! Agree McClean changed the game Their defence fell apart when he came on! What an astute signing he’s proving already!!
Jeffs right summarised:
Fabulous win. Well done Latics.
Fourth from top and with an un-gelled and incomplete squad with a difficult fixture list to start.