Amigo and Social Media reaction to a narrow defeat at Gillingham

Gillingham 1 Wigan Athletic 0

The style of football varies in League 1. Some teams like to keep the ball on the ground and build up moves from the back. Others prefer a more “direct”, physical approach and rely on pumping crosses to their big men in the penalty box. Less than a couple of weeks ago Latics had been badly undone by a physically imposing Accrington side employing that latter style of play. They had allowed themselves to be bullied.

It was always going to be a hard task at Priestfield Stadium. The last time Latics had won there was in April 2004. The opening exchanges saw Steve Evans’ Gillingham constantly launch balls into Wigan’s penalty box to two big central strikers, almost a throwback to John Beck’s days at Preston. Having withstood the initial barrage Latics took the game to the Gills, matching them physically, creating some opportunities, playing the better football. But they just could not get the ball in the back of the net and were undone by a towering header from the 6ft 2in centre forward Vadaine Oliver in the 76th minute.

After the game Leam Richardson commented:

“The longer you give these types of teams that kind of impetus that one ball in your box might hurt you, they’re always a threat and fair credit to Gillingham for that. We had to meet them head on with what they’ve got; Steve [Evans] plays a certain way and balls come into your box from different angles – not many players take too many touches and they put you under pressure and you have to deal with it.

We had to play with two personalities; one out of possession and then a calmness in possession and through the gaps. In large parts, I thought we did it very well but we were just missing that calmness and bit of quality.”

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:

Coddenchips wrote:

That was like turning the clock back to the horrible times when we would regularly play against teams managed by John Beck. Nasty, cynical, thuggish, no thoughts of skilful football. Totally unattractive but with the right players effective in an ugly way. Thankfully people cottoned on to the way Beck played so Gillingham’s “success” should only be short lived.

Victor Moses added:

Yeah this league is a poor standard, Oliver for example is 29, played his whole career at league 2 level not scoring many. Joins a team that plays to his strengths and now he’s doing very well within a system that suits him. They don’t have much possession or creativity but they put the ball in the box and he’s very good in the air.

King_dezueeuw06 wrote:

Getting results in winnable games is what keeps you up in a relegation battle but when the golden opportunities have arisen this season we’ve nearly always bottle it.

We can and should still be able to stay up in theory as this league is utterly garbage but i can’t see us suddenly finding that bottle if we haven’t by now unfortunately – unless we roll the dice and try and get a new manager in immediately and get fresh ideas in now rather than wait until next season. I don’t think that will happen though, I think they will wait until summer after Richardson likely joins Cook.

Moonay wrote:

Taking the positives …
– that was as well as we’ve played for a few weeks
– creating chances is a good thing
– learning to put ’em away is easier than learning to create em in the first place.

April next up … the season starts here !

True Believer summarised:

Reading the comments from some of you I think I have just watched a different game.

We dominated the game from start to finish and but for some poor finishing would be coming home with a comfortable win and three points.

Apart from a short spell in the first half were they just threw everything high into the box they were never in the game. Evans and Ojo were running midfield and the overlapping runs from Darikwa caused them all sorts of problems. Callum forgot his shooting boots tonight, or had them on the wrong feet, but his overall contribution to the game was outstanding. He is a little greedy at times and doesn’t make the telling pass, but I am never going to criticise a striker for that.

Proctor makes a difference and uses his strength to hold the ball up and has a decent lay off, he also bullies the CB’s and makes them make mistakes. He connects the midfield and forwards and is willing to put his body on the line when doing his defensive duties.

Jamie Jones should be celebrating another clean sheet to add to his other hundred in first class football, he made a very good one on one save when Johnston sold him short and then went on to make another decent save later in the game. The goal was another poor mistake as the ball should have been closed down at source and then Johnston failed to get off the ground as it came into the area. Not Georges best game for us but up until then he and Tilt had dealt with the aerial threat well.

VSO hardly got into the game again and I wonder if the injuries he is carrying is worth playing him as it seems to be hampering his game.

Overall we played well and should have had a comfortable win, however we let ourselves concede another sloppy goal and have been punished for it. A lot of positives to take from the game, for now we go home lick our wounds, rest and go again on Monday and hope for a similar performance but a better result.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Amigo and Social Media Reaction to a goalless draw with Ipswich

Wigan Athletic 0 Ipswich Town 0

It’s another point in the right direction

So said Leam Richardson in his post-match summary.

It was a tight game with few chances created by either team with defences dominating. With Scott Wootton out through injury, Curtis Tilt moved to the right hand side of the centre of defence with George Johnston on his left. With various options for employing his front four Richardson had Will Keane at centre forward, with Callum Lang and a strapped-up Viv Solomon-Otabor playing wide and Thelo Aasgaard given a rare chance to play in his natural position as a number 10.

Aasgaard is a very talented young player and it was brave of the manager to give him the chance in the central creative role. However, in a game where defences and holding midfielders dominated the 19-year-old was so often crowded out when receiving the ball. Moreover, Keane looked lost at centre forward and the wingers could not get into the game. Solomon-Otabor was clearly not match fit and it was only later in the game when Lang played a more central role that he got more involved. Richardson’s dilemma is that Aasgard, Keane and Lang play best in that role behind that central striker.

Following a ragged performance at Accrington the defence was solid in this game with Johnston having a man of the match performance and Tilt not far behind. Moreover Jamie Jones was more authoritative in goal. If the defence can play like that in the games that remain then Latics will have a good chance of avoiding relegation.,

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:

True Believer commented:

As Arthur says it is a matter of opinion and in my opinion the game was fought out by two teams who were intent on winning three points but lacked the necessary skills to break the other down. Neither team showed any composure up front and lacked the ability to dominate the game. Both teams had opportunities to win the game but in the end I think both managers will be happy to come away with a point.

MoM for me was George Johnston who once again showed that he is a versatile player and a very solid performer. Alongside Curtis Tilt, who showed his commitment to the cause by returning from international duties a day earlier and still making himself available, they made a very strong CB pairing. Tendayi Darikwa had a decent game and is improving game by game and his forward runs caused a few problems for Ipswich, however his final ball needs improvement. Young Luke Robinson once again put in a solid shift but his inexperience shows in his pass selection and on a couple of occasions his wayward passing caused us problems, but I have no doubt he will improve.

Midfield has been a problem this season as we lacked experienced heads able to slow play down when necessary and pick out a pass when needed. In Evans and Ojo I think we have solved the problem as both had decent games with Evans spraying the ball wide to Darikwa to release him and set up a crossing opportunity.

Aasgaard looked good again playing in the central role but once again his lack of experience allowed the Ipswich players to crowd him out and snuff out the danger when he was in possession. Viv SO flatters to deceive and his control let him down today, although once again I have to applaud him for wanting to play even though he was heavily strapped up and this clearly hampered his pace.

Will Keane worked hard but doesn’t challenge enough for the high balls and is a poor substitute for Proctor, he is a much better number 10, playing off the main striker. Unfortunately for Will he is also second best as a No,10 to Callum Lang who once again makes you ask the question “why was he out on loan for the first half of the season”. His running with the ball directly at defenders causes panic and he was unlucky today not to have got a penalty, his energy is boundless and his enthusiasm rubs off on other players whilst his willingness to show for the ball gives the defence and midfield options.

Now to the scapegoat for many JJ.

I thought he commanded his area today and marshalled the defence well making a couple of decent interceptions and clearing the ball under pressure. His near post block saved the points when they did eventually get past the defence, and although you would expect him to make the block I still believe it was worth the mention.

To sum up, it was not one for the purists but given the performance last weekend it was certainly an improvement and pre match that is all I could ask for. A win would have been a great result, but at this stage of the season, and considering three points would have seen Ipswich back in to the play off places at the start of play, I’ll take the point, the performance, and look to build on that against Gillingham.

Jeffs right wrote:

I don’t expect us to roll any side over. We are struggling at the bottom because we have one of the weakest squads in the league. So long as we give it a go is important but two shots on target in 96 minutes is not going to get us up to finish fifth from bottom. Ipswich were depleted too and since Cook went there are struggling to get wins so have been slipping away from contention and like Stanley last week are not exactly buzzing. Today was another of those games where if you were to expect three points then this was one of the games. Alas two shots on target is not going to do it.

Victor Moses summarised:

Viv was done 20 minutes before he came off.

Evans actually played to the standard you would expect from him today. Some lovely switch passes which led to some of our best openings, several sliding tackles and used his body well to win several freekicks. Was good to see him play well.

Lang was excellent but didn’t see enough of the ball out wide, really had the beating of them almost everytime he had the ball.

Johnston had a very good game, won the ball back a lot.

Robinson struggled but thats expected every now and then.

The rest had good and bad moments, had chances to win that, ball never fell kindly and wasted too many opportunities to be creative.

You are my sunshine summarised:

Thought we played well today and all that was lacking was an end product and cutting edge at the top end of the pitch. We’ve created 3 good chances and also got into some good areas and situations without making the most of them.

We were really solid defensively today and the clean sheet is a real positive. Johnston was outstanding and Tilt was excellent as well especially after his whirlwind few days.

After an even 1st half I thought Evans and Ojo then controlled the game in the 2nd and we were the better team, so I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t win the game.

Lang needs to play centrally and only out wide when we have no other options to play on the wings. He’s wasted out there and we need him more involved in the game which he will be through the middle.

Although I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t win,because we were the better team that 2nd half, it’s a point closer to safety and very much all to play for going into the last 9 games.


Additionally we have the official takeover to look forward to next week, which,fingers crossed should be rubber stamped before Good Friday!


Keep the faith!

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Amigo and Social Media reaction to a limp display at Accrington

Accrington Stanley 3 Wigan Athletic 1

It was always going to be a challenge playing on a small and bumpy pitch against a physically imposing Accrington side. With the absence of wingers  Viv Solomon-Otabor and Gavin Massey through injury and the expectation of an aerial barrage from the home side, Leam Richardson employed a back line of three central defenders and two wing backs.

Callum Lang’s opportunist goal in the first minute gave Latics genuine hope, but it was nullified when the 6ft 4in central defender Cameron Burgess was left unmarked to equalise two minutes later. Then after 15 minutes awful defending allowed another 6ft 4in central defender, Callum Nottingham, to bundle the ball home.

With an uncoordinated  rearguard and a goalkeeper rooted on his line Latics continued to be vulnerable to the crosses the home side would put in. It came as no surprise when Accrington got a third through a soft penalty against Tendayi Darikwa in the 61st minute. Striker Dion Charles’ spot kick was practically straight at Jamie Jones, who did not react. Was it the sheer pace of the shot that beat him?

After the game Leam Richardson commented:

“It’s very disappointing and I’m disappointed in the fact you knew what was coming, you prepare for what’s coming and then you succumb to that. I’ve been fortunate to work [at Accrington] as a player and manager and I’ve worked with John [Coleman]’s teams and if you don’t match the fight against his teams then you lose the game and that’s exactly what happened here this afternoon.

They’re built off a solid base and physicality and they want to run through you and around you and you can’t allow that or give possession away and give free kicks away.We got beat today by two balls into our box with no contact, no endeavour and we lost nine or ten battles on the pitch and that’s why we lost.”

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:

FormbyLatic wrote:

That was truly one of our worst performances of the season by some margin. Really, really disappointing.

Moonay opined:

It doesn’t take much, does it.

7 points from the last 3 games, just the one goal conceded, all forgotten, cos too many players have had a poor afternoon, and the manager has maybe got his selection (and tactics?) wrong.

Plenty of criticism of the defence for the goals, (and rightly so) but the the goals (all avoidable) were from 2 set pieces and a pike with full twist of a penalty.

Some had OK games, but even those players had black marks against them: Lang, but should have had a second early on, Darikwa, but shouldn’t have allowed the opportunity for the dive, …to be fair, I’m struggling to class anyone else as OK.

As Oscar said, poor decisions let us down at times. It wasn’t a great pitch, but that can’t be an excuse.

Richardson and Rioch watch the players in training, and know far more about football and footballers than all us keyboard critics, but I struggle to see what Dodoo offers that Proctor doesn’t. Also, if you’re going to play a back 3, then the wing backs have to get forward, but young Robinson struggled to do that.

A bad day at the office, with a few toys strewn around the cot, but still plenty to play for in the coming games. Cookie up next. Let’s hope he does us a favour.

True Believer stated:

We changed our game plan to nullify theirs, in my book that is a negative attitude.

I like to see teams play three at the back, as Accy do.

However in order to play that your wing backs have to assist in midfield, today Robinson wasn’t able to do that. Darikwa had some success on the right but cost us with a poor decision. We effectively played five at the back for most of the game and the two errors came from misunderstandings from players adjusting to playing a different formation. We lost the runners and it cost us.

Hopefully we learn from this and move on but we really must play to our strengths and not negate our play by trying to counter opposition set ups. We need to play our own game and not be intimidated by other teams, let them worry about us and not the other way around. Sure we will lose some games but at least we will go down playing our own game.

Kendal Blue summarised:

Very poor day at the office today. Bad decisions, lack of clinical touch and also a lack of positive risk taking. Our defence has improved tenfold since the dark days of winter, but took a step back today and was particularly disappointed with how easily we were bullied when the ball was in the air. Have always thought that Evans needs to push on and have a few more shots and at this level he should be taking a risk. Our chance conversation ratio is supposedly one of the best in the league but I don’t think that stat is quite as positive as it sounds.

Putting it down to an awful day, but not a complete catastrophe. Certainly not a complete undoing of the last 3 games. Nothing a good old fashioned b.llocking and extra days training can’t put right.

Victor Moses commented:

Evans has been poor for me this season, at the beginning of the season he was giving the ball away cheaply and since his return from injury he has continued to do so. He plays emotional, one mistake affects the rest of the match for him. Used to be my favourite player, the 1st spell here on loan he was outstanding. Has gone backwards, probably needs to play as the central midfielder in a 3 like Wilder used him, can’t see him being effective anywhere else anymore.

Aasgaard to be out of the team for Dodoo or Gardner is something I cannot understand, neither bring anything to the team currently.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Amigo and Social Media reaction to an important win at Plymouth for Wigan Athletic

Plymouth Argyle 0 Wigan Athletic 2

After a depressing February with the relegation fight an uphill struggle the month of March brings so much promise. With back-to-back wins and ownership issues nearing resolution there has been an uplift for both players and fans at Wigan Athletic.

This was a fine performance by a Latics side that was as well-balanced and cohesive as any seen this season. Wigan looked dangerous throughout the first half with their pace and willingness to run at the home side’s defence. They scored two fine goals and came close to adding more. Despite Plymouth coming close on several occasions Latics went into the interval with a two goal lead.

But Latics have had first half leads in the past and have blown them. When the second half began one wondered if the defence could stand firm and avoid making errors that could let the Pilgrims back into the game. In the end it was a resolute defensive performance, together with a touch of good fortune, that kept Plymouth out.

Players from last season’s squad made a significant impact. Lee Evans was excellent in midfield despite not having played for months. Gavin Massey looked like his old self on the right wing, after the struggles he has suffered this season. His link-up play with Tendayi Darikwa was reminiscent of that he would have with Nathan Byrne in earlier times. Jamie Jones has had a topsy- turvy season and has been fortunate to keep his place in recent weeks. But he has started to repay Leam Richardson’s faith in him and had a good game last night.

It was the most experienced line-up Richardson had chosen this season, with the exception of a 19-year-old left back. Luke Robinson was drafted in because of a long-term injury to Tom Pearce. The latter had been one of Wigan’s better performers, his bold attacking runs, and dangerous crosses having become a major attacking arm for the team.  Robinson is a solid and tenacious defender who looks comfortable at this level despite his lack of experience. Although he is being employed in a more defensive role than his predecessor, he has shown his abilities in attack.

After the game Richardson commented:

“We know how much change there has been over the last few months since February and then passing the responsibility to – and challenging – this new group. It’s not an easy task but the performances and relationships have grown over the last few weeks.

It’s all about the new group coming together, individually as units and then into the team and being able to see through games when you’re ahead. The game management was fantastic.”

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:

FrancosLoveChild stated:

Mental how much difference off the field matters affect on the pitch, the whole atmosphere has gone right back up to the time last of season before July. Very refreshing!

You are my sunshine concluded:

Another brilliant win to move us out of the bottom 4! Really enjoyable 1st half! We could’ve scored 5 and looked a real threat, but on the other hand could’ve conceded a couple in that 10 minute spell that we were under severe pressure.

2nd 45 we were much less of an attacking threat, but took the sting out of the game well and managed the game successfully. We defended well for the most part and when it was breached Jones made some solid saves and didn’t put a foot wrong all night. I thought he could’ve been replaced after the Wimbledon and Hull defeats, but since he has been solid, so fair play to him.

Impossible to pick a mom as everyone was excellent again in another superb team performance and big 3 points! Good to see Evans back out there and Massey getting stronger.

Hopefully by the end of the week we get further positive news on the takeover front!
What a difference a week makes, UTFT!

Moonay wrote:

Took chances, missed chances, and rode our luck, but overall, definitely deserved to win.

Superb. Now for the play-offs!

Ooohaaahdonniespage added:

Evans class first game in ages. Massey best player on pitch for me. If he can keep on the up like he is we have a real chance. And LMB wouldn’t you agree that Jones is much improved?

Victor Moses summarised:

Did well to see the game out, ball hit the woodwork 6 times over the past two games with them all deflecting away from goal. Not had that luck all season, been punished for everything but when we needed it the most it came on the back of two good performances.

Jones did well in goal tonight, a lot of their shots were at him but he was solid and dealt with everything required of him.

Johnston must of made 15 tackles, being first to the ball ahead of their attacker almost every time.

Tilt made some good blocks and scored an important goal.

Ojo has played well recently.

Lang’s ability to run the channels and give us control in their half cannot be underestimated he’s brilliant at it.

Massey and Otabor excellent 1st half, both tired in the 2nd but put shifts in.

Well done to all the staff and Leam over the past 2 games to turn it around, still a long way to go but back in the pack with a shot at staying in L1.

Evans class first game in ages. Massey best player on pitch for me. If he can keep on the up like he is we have a real chance. And LMB wouldn’t you agree that Jones is much improved?

Degsy1 added:

We played well but Lady Luck was on our side tonight as Plymouth hit the woodwork 3 times but it’s about time we got the roll of the dice !

Well done you tics !

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Stormclouds loom over Wigan Athletic’s fight to avoid relegation: time for changes?

The dedication and sheer hard work of the management team of Leam Richardson and Gregor Rioch has kept Wigan Athletic in with a fighting chance of avoiding relegation from League 1. That Latics are not totally adrift of the teams above them in the table is a testimony to their endeavours. The league table shows the task ahead of them.

Courtesy of SkySports.com

After Jamie Jones had somehow allowed an innocuous shot to go through him in the 27th minute on Wednesday evening it was always going to be an uphill struggle for Latics against high flying Hull City. Up to that point they had matched the visitors and had looked solid. However, with five losses in the previous six games Wigan’s confidence was bound to be brittle. Another goal five minutes later was no surprise and as the game continued, with their confidence shot, the Wigan team capitulated. Hull could have scored more than five.

Wigan’s starting line-up against Hull consisted of just one player, Chris Merrie, who had come through their academy. There were five players new to the club over the January transfer window. Much had been said earlier in the season of a young team giving away goals through a lack of experience. In the January window the club had done well to bring in new players who might provide an experienced backbone to the squad. But goals continue to be given away with more seasoned pros having taken the place of U23 players.

With so many new players arriving it was always going to take time for the new blend to gel. The comings and goings of so many players over the course of the season has made things extremely difficult for management. Moreover, the long-term injuries to Kyle Joseph and Tom Pearce have thrown another spanner in the works.

Following poor performances and results against relegation rivals Wimbledon and Swindon, Richardson switched to a back line of three central defenders for the next game at Northampton which was decided by an opportunist strike by Callum Lang. That backline had the experience of Scott Wootton and Curtis Tilt, both 29-years-old, with over 360 career league appearances between them, together with the very capable 22-year-old George Johnston. It looked like a combination that could provide solidity at the back with enough height and muscle to deal with the aerial threat posed by so many teams in the division.

Latics did not perform badly in the following game against an Oxford team in top form, another well taken goal from Lang putting them in front. Sadly they went on to lose the game through goals created by centres into the box.

It was a surprise to see that for the Hull game Richardson had ditched his back three in favour of an orthodox back four, with Johnston pushed to left back. But what was more puzzling was his advanced midfield trio with Viv Solomon-Otabor on the left and Dan Gardner and Will Keane in the centre and on the right. The new shape did not work and all three were taken off after 56 minutes, with Latics already four goals down.

Managers under pressure tend to rely on experienced players and that showed in Richardson’s team selection. Thelo Aasgaard was rested and not in the squad. Luke Robinson and Callum Lang were on the bench and brought on in the second half. Alex Perry, whose range of passing from the centre of the field can be a real asset, has been pushed out by the arrival of the more conservative Funso Ojo. The problem over recent games has been that too many of those senior professionals have been way off form. However, Richardson has stuck with them. Jones in particular has been fortunate to have kept his place despite poor goalkeeping that has cost Latics dearly.

If Latics are to lift themselves for the visit of top-placed Lincoln City tomorrow a shake-up is needed. Having a backbone of experienced players can be of great value in a relegation dog-fight, but some need a break to help them regain their form. There are lots of hungry, talented young players at the club who can step in.