Oxford United 2 Wigan Athletic 1
The trip was always going to be difficult to play an Oxford side that had won 11 of their last 12 games. A soft goal conceded in the 83rd minute proved to be the decider despite the solid defence and endeavour we had seen from Wigan until the last 20 minutes when their legs seemed to become heavier.
Leam Richardson named a lineup that was unchanged from the win at Northampton. In the first half they held their own physically. Although Oxford had 65% of the possession the Wigan defence looked solid and well organised, the front players high pressing when the home defenders had the ball. Chances for both teams had been minimal.
Following a long half time break Callum Lang’s well taken goal after 57 minutes gave Latics a surprise lead. Lang took a knock not long after and was eventually substituted after 69 minutes by Joe Dodoo. The centre forward’s absence signalled a change in Wigan’s approach with the high pressing becoming less evident and Oxford dominating the game.
Latics were so often hoofing the ball away, inviting further pressure. Crosses were being too easily launched into the box with Wigan’s defence becoming increasingly hard pressed. After 72 minutes Brendon Barker was allowed to cross from the left flank, despite two Wigan players being in close attendance. Sam Winnall headed in with ease at the far post. Some ten minutes later Mark Sykes was allowed the space to launch a cross into the centre where big centre back Elliott Moore outmuscled both Curtis Tilt and Scott Wootton to go on to score.
It was a defensive lapse that produced the deciding goal, but Latics had done well to hold a good Oxford side until those final 20 minutes.
After the game Richardson commented:
“With the emotion that went into half-time, we went in and passed information across and then you’re waiting 30-40 minutes to kick-off the second-half. As a professional you must take the information on and display it anyway but it didn’t help either side.The second-half was really scrappy; we got our noses in front but two balls into our box we should defend better cost us.
Going forward I thought we got in some good areas where our numbers should have favoured us, albeit in difficult conditions today. Overall, I thought for 70 minutes we were worthy of something and in the last 15 or 20 minutes we self-destructed a little bit.”
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:
You are my sunshine commented:
Really disappointed and frustrated to lose that game. We were great for an hour, looked well organised and solid defensively as well as looking a threat going forward, getting into some decent positions. We just couldn’t quite get that final cross or pass right until Lang showed good strength and smashed the ball home.
The game then seemed to change after our goal. Lang went off a short time later and we had no outlet, got pushed back by their attacking subs and were also guilty of sitting back ourselves. After defending crosses well for the most part,to concede from those 2 crosses was disappointing, especially that 2nd one. We had 2 defenders to deal with it when the ball dropped and their guy had no right whatsoever to get in between them both from behind, out muscle them and score.
I thought Lang led the line superbly again and the game changed when he went off.All the other youngsters Aasgaard, Merrie, Robinson and Johnston also did well.
Despite the disappointment at losing, we have given the form team in division a decent game today and should’ve got at least a point,if not all 3 from the position we put ourselves in after our goal. But we take the positives, work on the negatives and go again on Wednesday!
We’re not going to create enough chances with Aasgard and Keane playing either side of Lang. Aasgard has some nice touches but he loses the ball too much and Keane seems to be half the player he was a couple of months ago. We won’t improve and start creating chances until we have some more pace upfront to support Lang.
Victor Moses wrote:
Aasgaard can be wasteful, but he puts a respectable shift in. Pressed and won the ball for the goal, he also helps the fullback to defend.
He later added:
It’s not so much the effort levels that gets me its the output levels. Players in the team like Keane and Gardner in past weeks who simply cannot cover distance, with two slow midfielders central and pressing the half way line is a tough ask. They get too much free territory, also with the 5 at the back every failed cross attempt they easily collect because we drop so deep.
There’s not many if any defenders in this league that cope with being pressed, but we don’t do enough of it for easy turnovers. Sitting in waiting for the next passes is allowing their better players to operate.
Our defence keeps making the same mistakes, they cannot clear the ball and the opposition are scoring easy goals. We keep standing off teams and giving them far too much room, we are bunched up at the back and are easily by-passed by simple crosses which causes mayhem at the back.
Unless we get this sorted out very quickly we will lose contact with the bottom pack, we have to put far more pressure on teams and not retreat into our shell. As the saying goes the best form of defence is to attack, every team we play get the ball into our goal area as quickly as possible.
As Shankly said:
“If a player is not interfering with play or seeking to gain an advantage, then he should be.”