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:
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.
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.
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.