Amigo and Social Media reaction to a hard-earned victory over Portsmouth

August 28, 2021: Wigan Athletic 1 Portsmouth 0

Table courtesy of bbc.co.uk

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:

C_Latic commented:

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.

FrancosLoveChild opined:

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.

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

Amigo and Social Media reaction to an entertaining draw against Wycombe

August 17, 2021: Wigan Athletic 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1

“Results don’t always match performances” is an old adage in football, but it could certainly be used in the context of this match. Wigan Athletic played some scintillating football and would have won the game with a canter had they put their chances away. But they did not and tired legs in the last quarter invited Wycombe pressure, resulting in a 91st minute equaliser as Kell Watts was outjumped at the far post from a corner kick.

The game was so different to that we saw on Saturday against Rotherham. That dour encounter was won by a late, late header from Will Keane. This was an entertaining affair.

Leam Richardson had retained the back four that completed the previous game, with Tendayi Darikwa  at left back and two specialists for that position on the bench. It proved to be a successful move as Darikwa had one of his better games. Jordan Jones was brought in on the left wing and his running and accurate crossing promised much for the future. Latics had gone ahead after 47 minutes from a thunderbolt finish from Callum Lang. The goal rattled the visitors and Latics were looking dangerous but were unable to add to their lead.

Keane’s header had hit the crossbar in the 69th minute with Jones taken off soon after, being replaced by Gavin Massey. Massey had looked more like his old self coming off the bench against Rotherham, playing on the right. However, this time he was placed on the left where, time after time, he has failed to deliver. Richardson is a wonderful motivator of his players, but his substitutions can be unimaginative and ill-timed. Gareth Ainsworth had made two substitutions for Wycombe in the 59th minute, the third being the huge Akinfenwa after 73 minutes. It signalled an aerial bombardment from the visitors who looked full of running at that stage compared with Latics.

After the game Richardson commented:

“I thought in the first-half we were excellent, and we were worthy of going in at half-time in-front. With the quality and the energy levels that we show, and the entries into their final third, we’ve got to be pleased.

Wycombe are a fantastic, well-drilled football team, and they are a threat from any dead-ball and set-piece, as well as from open play. If you do not put the game to bed, you obviously succumb to what we did.

I thought we were worthy to go in front and we started the second half where we left off. If we were going to be disappointed, it would be for the result, and possibly the last 15-20 minutes where we came off the page a little bit and started trading blows with Wycombe which is what they want.”

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:

Zeb2 commented:

Football eh ?…..probably got two more points than we deserved on Saturday ….and got two less than we deserved tonight.
not conceded from open play in 3 matches but two direct from corners.

Went way too deep last few minutes (a long standing trait with us) and invited waves of attack which caused us to crack in the end, but we should have been out of sight by HT….maybe we ran out of gas in that last ten/fifteen minutes ….unfortunately they didn’t.

C_Latic stated:

The positive is that we’ll play a hell of a lot worse than that this season and win. That Wycombe side are a very good team who like Rotherham will be right in the top six equation and we’ve absolutely pummelled them.

I’d say if we can get one more win from our next two, we’ll be a good spot heading into the international break. Then the fixtures will ease up and we can look at putting together a run.

JockLatic added:

Best I’ve seen us play in some time….shuda been 2/3 nil up at half time & thoroughly deserved our goal, such a shame we couldn’t have got a second as that would have seen out the game. Unfortunately we sat back & had little possession the last 10 mins or so n it just seemed like they were gonna equalise….didn’t think it was a corner n possibly a free kick to us beforehand. If we play like that for a good chunk of the season we won’t be far off so long as we convert the chances. Disappointed coming away from the ground tonight but only because we should have been out of sight in 1st half…..

Made in Wigan opined:

Disappointing ending but will look at the bigger picture. It’s a brand new team and we have some decent players. We can only improve as the season progresses if McLean doesn’t upset the apple cart.

We really do need to start taking our chances. Miss of the season contenders in consecutive games and today its cost us two points. Whilst Wycombe were okay I thought Rotherham looked a tougher opponent. That said I don’t think we’ve much to fear in this league though the time it will take the team to gel and for LR to find his best team and tactics means we’ll have to come from behind to make any impact of the league table.

Stats courtesy of Whoscored.com

Amigo and Social Media reaction to losing to a clinical Portsmouth team

Wigan Athletic 0 Portsmouth 1

Lying fourth in the table, with three consecutive victories behind them, Portsmouth were the favourites to win this match. They did so in a clinical manner through a fine strike by substitute Andy Cannon after 46 minutes. There was no shortage of effort and commitment from Latics but despite their pressure they rarely looked like scoring. Altough they created opportunities Wigan’s final touch was severely lacking. Crosses into the box were eagerly lapped up by a tall and physical Pompey backline. Many of the crosses were speculative but there seemed to be no one in the box for Latics willing to attack the ball as it came in.

Viv Solomon-Otabor was once more played when he looked so short of fitness. Callum Lang, Wigan’s most dangerous goal-threat, was played on the right wing. Jamie Proctor was once again chosen at centre forward. The net result was a lack of penetration and goal-threat from the home team.

Leam Richardson and his staff have done a fantastic job in keeping Latics in with a possibility of avoiding relegation in extremely difficult circumstances. Reports suggest that he has been approached by the new ownership with a view to staying on next season. Richardson has a real strength in motivating players and their commitment was there again today for all to see. But he can be inflexible in his team selections and tactics.

Due to the dire circumstances faced by the club, Richardson has been dealt a poor hand in terms of the quality and depth of the squad. Moreover, he has a number of players who have had major injury problems  over the past couple of seasons. The recurring injuries of several players have been no surprise given their recent history. However, fielding Solomon-Otabor, given his current state of fitness, was unlikely to work out. Putting his best available striker on the right wing was less than ideal. Like Paul Cook, Richardson constantly reverts to a favoured 4-2-3-1 formation. He has flirted with playing three central defenders and wing backs, but has not persevered.

Wingers have played a major role in Latics’ success during the Cook/Richardson era. But today Richardson persisted with his 4-2-3-1 despite the absence of two fit, specialist wingers. In the second half, with Pompey a goal up and Latics not looking like scoring he could have taken off Solomon-Otabor at an earlier stage and put Callum Lang at centre forward with Thelo Aasgaard playing in the space behind him. But he took off the creative Aasgaard after 68 minutes to bring on senior pro Will Keane who has been out of form since January. Solomon-Otabor stayed on until 79 minutes when he brought on another senior pro in Dan Gardner. The changes made things no better.

Richardson had chosen like-for-like replacements, sticking to the same shape. He had the option of bringing on Adam Long as a third centre back and to thrust his full backs further forward as wing backs. Jamie Proctor’s main role in the Richardson system is as a target man. However, Proctor has a career goalscoring record akin to that of Marc Antonio Fortune. He is by no means a goal-machine. Switching to three at the back the manager could have employed Proctor as a twin striker with Lang close-by to latch on to his flicks and any deflections.

Despite the result Latics are by no means dead and buried. They can still avoid relegation. However, to do so will depend not only on the commitment of the players but also getting the best out of what is available. The defence has become more solid and that is a welcome sign. But blind faith in 4-2-3-1 and senior pros is unlikely to get Latics over the hurdles to come. The lack of creativity and the sterile passing across the pitch and back to the goalkeeper has become too repetitive. Richardson will need to open his mind to alternative approaches as needs arise.

After the game Richardson said:

“In the first half, in my opinion, we possibly let a game go. We got into some great areas, could have gone in one or two goals up but we didn’t work them enough and our quality has to be better. 

We’re playing against an in-form Portsmouth side and our lads matched the fight and we took the game to them. Unfortunately, we dropped on the wrong side of the result. We are in a routine where people are saying ‘unlucky’ & ‘you’re the best team’, but we’ve fallen on the wrong side of the result and we need results. 

At the minute, we’re getting the performance but not the results, but we will. I’ve got to give credit to the lads with the effort levels. They don’t leave a breath out there; they may be misguided in certain areas but they’re giving everything and that’s all we can ask.”

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 commented:

I’ll be honest, I’m thankful for Leam and for all he is done but I really hope he decides to go to Ipswich under cook, fresh start for him and back in a role he is good at.

He is sadly not a manager, we need a great start with a new manager and team who has no bias to any players. And just a different chapter for us.

This frontline is awful, only Lang is decent at this level.

Victor Moses wrote:

12 shots vs 5, with zero on target for us. Can’t fault the effort again today, just wasteful in the final third. Played much of the game in their half, just the players didn’t put the ball in the net.

Need to find better openings in the next game and work on hitting the ball cleanly. So many scuffed crosses and shots.

Zeb2  added:

I’m increasingly of the view that we will go down and I genuinely think it’s better if we start over with a new manager in situ ASAP to effectively recruit a new squad.

That in itself will be a huge challenge, as we’ve just seen Bolton had to endure a ‘write off‘ season to reset …and ….pretty much half of this one as well, before they really started to ’motor’ .

LR has been a hero and we owe him our gratitude for everything he has withstood this season, but as others have said neither he nor we necessarily see the managers job as his role.
The team could still surprise us …but yet another inadequate, pointless and goalless home performance offers little evidence that they will.

There needs to be a definitive future direction set, during this month, whilst that doesn’t have to mean a new appointment, they absolutely do need to map out the criteria and terms of their search and get it underway even if concluding it isn’t possible for a month or so yet.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is porth5.png

Moonay gave his perspective:

I really, really can’t get worked up about today’s loss. Not too long ago, it was more than possible that we were going to be playing as a Phoenix club in the National League … or even NW Counties !!!

For me, the question is “were they trying?”, and the answer (maybe apart from Evans’s “chase” for their goal) was obviously, yes. However, there was no improvement in the quality of the shooting, and that’s what’s p..sing us all off.

In January, Richardson and Rioch had an impossible job – entice players to come to Wigan, on a contract till the summer, with very possibly, no chance of a further one. They did their best, and we got who we got … numbers being just as important as quality, given the rate we were losing people to injury.

On reflection, it may well have been better to stick with more of the kids, though that would have been a massive gamble.

But, as the saying goes, we are where we are, and for me, that’s a far better place than I was hoping for much of February. The new management team don’t sound despondent about the likelihood of League 2, so why should we?

Hindleymonwafc said:

Only difference today was a goal threat…im not going to be too harsh on them because we more than matched a play off certainty. Its the final 3rd that will undue us but let’s not throw um all out because the back 4 are showing some ability bringing the ball out.

True Believer responded:

You are right Hindley, for the first 45 we were comfortable playing the ball out from the back and both Ojo and Evans were influencing the game.

The problems came when they scored !!

Once ahead they switched to five across the middle and stifled our play, so our back four then lost the out ball to midfield and went long, Evans in particular had no influence in the second half and we struggled to break them down.

We are desperately missing a wide right player and, although he is much maligned, we looked a more balanced side with Massey on the wing. Callum Lang is wasted playing out wide and his goals have dried up since he started playing there. He needs to be more central and running the channels turning CB’s and playing to his strengths. I would try Gardner out there for a game or two, I know it’s not his preferred side but I am sure he could do it and that would free Lang up to get back to what he is good at.

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

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.