Wigan Athletic 0 Fleetwood Town 0
It is a testament to the work of Leam Richardson and Gregor Rioch that Wigan Athletic continue to show resilience on the field of play. This game was by no means memorable on a sticky pitch, but another point was gained in the battle against relegation.
In the past Latics might have had the upper hand against Fleetwood, having a stronger squad with better quality players. Those days have gone at least for the moment. With the restrictions placed on the squad size during administration and the financial constraints Latics are currently under it is to the great credit of the management that they can compete with clubs with bigger and more experienced squads.
We learned yesterday that three new players had been brought in, even if none of whom had been playing much first team football for some time. The two ex-Liverpool academy players, George Johnston and Corey Whelan, were paired together in the centre of defence. Zach Clough took Will Keane’s place in the number 10 position. Clough was sensational some four years ago for Bolton, but since then his career has gone downhill. In fact, his last senior appearance was as a late substitute for Rochdale in April 2019. His last goal was for the ‘Dale in September 2018.
The centre of defence has been the most problematic position over the course of this season. However, Johnston slotted in perfectly and was the game’s outstanding player. Whelan has played centre back before, although normally a full back. He was solid in defence today. Clough had a chance in the first half that a few years ago he might have put away easily, but he showed flashes of skill and passing vision that might suggest that he can resurrect his career. Tendayi Darikwa was making his second Latics appearance and looked a class act at right back.
A draw was a fair result for both teams. Latics had defensive solidity but were wasteful in their finishing. The visitors had a lot of the ball in the second half, but the home defence held firm.
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:
2 points lost maybe, but a clean sheet with 2 new centre halves (and a back 4 that looked fairly solid) isn’t the end of the world.
That definitely showed promise, and hopefully, we’ll build on it. I’m not sure if it’s preferable to winning by the odd goal in seven, but it’s certainly easier on the nerves. Very well done Leam Richardson and Gregor Rioch.
Kenny Morris summarised:
I know it’s the same for both teams but that pitch really hampered our style going forward today. Ball kept sticking and getting under players feet, no chance of many slide rule passes or running with the ball. Must have been energy sapping too.
Team not played well today but we got a point, and we are one point from safety now, so improvement on the day. I did feel the pitch was largely to blame and considering we had a new defence (yet again) we didn’t do badly.
Two mom’s today for me were Johnston and Darikwa. Says a lot when our most stylish attacker is our right fullback.
A point gained but I cant help but feel if we can put a performance in against a team like Fleetwood we can get 4 or 5 goals.
As others have said I think away games are going to yield more points as that pitch is a distinct disadvantage to us. Daft question but where are they training these days as the pitch looks like it has had a dozen games played on it in a week.
True Believer stated:
Frustrating afternoon, we were by far the better side in the first half but lost a little momentum in the second.
The miss by Clough is indicative of a player that has struggled for games in the last two seasons, however his overall play wasn’t bad. On on or two occasions he put some very inciteful balls into the box for both Lang and Joseph. I think with a little bit of time he could be a decent addition.
Talking of additions both Whelan and Johnston had impressive debuts and with Darikwa and Pearce at full back we look quite solid. Hopefully we won’t be leaking late goals in the future to lose the points. Pearce looked a little off his game in the second half and wasn’t getting forward as much as usual, whether this was due to the opposition sussing us out, who knows. One thing I would criticise Pearce for is the time he takes on throw ins. He seems to just amble over for the ball allowing the opposition to get their markers in place and close us down.
Jamie Jones was secure and looked more confident behind the back four, however I do wish he would look to play the short ball more often to stop the ball coming straight back at us. Didn’t have much to do but what he did he did well.
Kyle Joseph and Lang both worked their socks off but struggled against Mulgrew and Connolly. Personally, I think we missed the control and guile of Will Keane to open the door. Lang had a decent chance after the far post cross from Gardiner, but the keeper made a decent block, he also made a good save from Callum in the first half from a good near post strike.
Merrie continues to impress me and Alex Perry is looking more composed alongside him.
All in all some positives to take into the Blackpool game, least of all the clean sheet.
Hopefully Will Keane is available soon (and I wish him a speedy recovery) to push for the forward positions and with a little luck we can get back on the goalscoring trail again whilst keeping the back door firmly shut.
Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com