Tics progress to the FA Cup third round – Colchester United 1 Wigan Athletic 2 

Callum Lang celebrating his second goal with Charle Wyke’s shirt

  • Wigan Athletic progressed into the FA Cup Third Round with hard-fought 2-1 victory at Colchester United.
  • Callum Lang opened the scoring after good work by Gavin Massey in the 24th minute but the hosts drew level on the stroke of half time when Freddie Sears fired home via the post.
  • Will Keane wasted a good opportunity to restore the visitors lead before Lang produced a deserved winner in the 75th minute.
  • Leam Richardson made six changes from the side which defeated Accrington Stanley on penalties in the Papa John’s Trophy with Jack Whatmough, Tom Pearce, Max Power, Callum Lang, Will Keane and Jordan Cousins all coming back into the starting eleven.

Latics started confidently and moved the ball to good effect but it was the League Two outfit who had the first two chances.

First, Noah Chilvers blazed over from the edge of the area and then Sears should’ve done better but his effort flew over the crossbar from 12-yards out.

But Latics were the first to make the breakthrough in the 24th minute with a flowing counter attack.

Power found Gavin Massey down the right with a pinpoint pass, and the wingback delivered a superb cross to the back post and Lang finished well from close-range.

The U’s responded well and Cameron Coxe was through on goal but Kell Watts made a superb last-ditch tackle to deny an equaliser.

At the other end, Latics had a huge chance when Lang sent Keane through on goal but the former Manchester United youth striker couldn’t beat keeper Jake Turner who saved well with his leg.

It was end-to-end now and Latics keeper Jamie Jones made an outstanding save to deny Sylvester Jasper and tip the ball over the crossbar. 

But frustratingly for Latics and Jones the hosts drew level two minutes later when Sears fired into the corner from the edge of the area.

Early in the second half Colchester went close when Chilvers volley went just over the angle of post and crossbar.

Latics responded and Massey fired an effort just over the crossbar.

Massey and Lang then combined well down the right and Lang’s back-heel found Massey but he drove his effort narrowly wide.

Latics pushed for what proved to be the decisive goal in the 75th minute.

Substitute Tom Naylor played an excellent through ball to Lang, who showed great composure and finished with some aplomb into the bottom corner. 

The hosts continued to battle to get back on level terms and they wasted a great opportunity in the 89th minute when Sears set up substitute Chay Cooper but he blazed his effort high over the crossbar from a great position. 

As in the previous FA Cup game at Solihull Latics didn’t manage the final minutes very well. Colchester goalkeeper Turner headed over from good positions from two corners in the dying moments but Latics held on to progress to the third round.

Great credit must go to the 179 hardy travelling Latics supporters who made the long journey to Essex for a 12.30 kick off on a Sunday. 

Richardson commented afterwards:

“No matter what tie it is – you saw the results yesterday going different ways – and the main thing is that we found a way to win and we’re in the hat,” he said.

“It’s 12:30pm on a Sunday in December and it was never going to be easy. Fair credit to the players who found a way to win and get to the next round.

“They (Colchester) have some good players and good coaching staff. You’ve got to be respectful and meet those challenges, and I thought we did in large parts.”

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Latics’ away day success dedicated to Charlie Wyke – Plymouth Argyle 1 Wigan Athletic 2

Charlie Wyke shirt

Latics players dedicated the victory to Charlie Wyke – photograph courtesy of Wigan Athletic

  • Wigan Athletic moved up to second place in the League One table with a 2-1 victory at Plymouth Argyle.
  • Callum Lang’s 90th minute strike ensured Latics secured an important three points at fourth placed Plymouth.
  • The visitors had taken the lead in the 36th minute after Thelo Aasgaard had set up Will Keane but the hosts drew level from a Danny Mayor strike in the 43rd minute.
  • The game ebbed and flowed with chances at both ends before Lang’s cool finish from Keane’s through ball sent the visiting supporters into raptures.
  • The Latics players dedicated the victory to striker Charlie Wyke who had collapsed in training this week.

Leam Richardson made four changes to the team which had drawn at Cambridge on Tuesday night with Tendayi Darikwa, Jason Kerr, Tom Naylor, and Thelo Aasgaard replacing Gavin Massey, Tom Pearce, Tom Bayliss and Gwion Edwards. 

Latics made a positive start at Home Park in very windy conditions, with Aasgaard blazing wide after 11 minutes.

James McClean forced a save from Michael Cooper on 22 minutes before the hosts forced a succession of corners between the 22nd and 25th minutes.

The teams alternated control as Latics pressure then resulted in a series of corners at the other end.

Latics went in front on 35 minutes when Aasgaard chased a ball near the touchline before cutting it back to Keane who brought the ball under control and then turned it home from close range.

Latics’ players immediately went to the dugout to celebrate the goal with Charle Wyke’s number nine shirt held aloft.

The hosts responded to Keane’s goal with a spell of pressure and Max Power made a superb block to deny Connor Grant an equaliser.

But on 43 minutes Argyle were level when McClean lost possession and Mayor’s strike from inside the box beat keeper Ben Amos.

All level at the interval with both teams looking dangerous going forward.  

Latics were quick out of the blocks at the start of the second half and McClean’s cross nearly found Lang in the box, before Naylor’s strike went wide of the target from outside the box.

Argyle responded and forced a series of corners at the other end but Latics were resolute in defence with Jason Kerr in particular having an outstanding game.

It looked as though Latics had restored their lead around the hour mark with Keane and McClean both having opportunities but Cooper somehow clawed the ball off the line to save Argyle.

When the hosts pressed forward they were unable to really test Amos and their shots either flew high or wide of the target.

Darikwa tried his luck from outside the box on 61 minutes and his strike was only narrowly wide of Cooper’s left hand post.

At the other end Panutche Camara had a shot deflected wide by a Latics defender as the game continued to ebb and flow.

Stephen Humphrys replaced Aasgaard on 67 minutes and he was soon in the thick of the action forcing an excellent save from Cooper after good work by McClean and Max Power.

In the 88th minute Latics went close with Lang at the back post but he couldn’t quite convert and was flagged offside.

But two minutes later Lang produced a composed finish into the bottom corner from Keane’s through ball to send the 700 travelling Latics supporters into raptures. 

Afterwards Manager Leam Richardson commented on an emotional week for the club.

“That’s the toughest week I’ve ever had in football, and as a football club I’m so proud of the way we’ve come through it.

“To win it that late, in the 90th minute, to keep going the way we did, showed the character we have in the group.

“Obviously Charlie is constantly in our thoughts, constantly in our conversations, and he’s in the best place he could possibly be now.

“Fingers crossed, he’s been improving every day, and hopefully he’ll be back fit and healthy before too long.”

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Callum Lang, Charlie Wyke, League One, Leam Richardson, Plymouth Argyle, Wigan Athletic, Will Keane | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics’ late show rescues a point – Cambridge United 2 Wigan Athletic 2

  • Wigan Athletic came back from two goals down to secure a point at the Abbey Stadium.
  • Despite dominating the first half Latics went behind when Joe Ironside was allowed to turn in the box and volley home on 44 minutes.
  • The hosts increased their lead on 53 minutes when Adam May fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
  • With six minutes of normal time remaining Latics rallied and Will Keane fired home on 84 minutes and Callum Lang finished from close range on 86 minutes.
  • Latics drop to fourth place in the table but are only two points off the top. Cambridge are in 15th place.

Leam Richardson made five changes from the side which defeated Solihull in the FA cup with Keane, Ben Amos, Jack Whatmough, Curtis Tilt and James McClean returning. Tendayi Darikwa was suspended and Charlie Wyke missed out due to illness.

Latics pressed forward from the kick off and went close when McClean’s excellent delivery to the back post was nearly converted by Whatmough.

The visitors forced a series of corners and threatened from crosses and from one cross Tom Pearce found Keane who finished well but his effort was disallowed for offside.

Latics continued to dominate proceedings but couldn’t make the breakthrough. 

Just after the half hour the visitors were denied by a super save from Cambridge keeper Dimi Mitov. From Pearce’s cross the ball was diverted by Lang and seemed destined for the bottom corner but Mitov got down superbly to his left to deny him.

At the other end the hosts first strike on goal by George Williams was well saved by Amos low down to his left.

But with their second attempt on goal they went ahead on 44 minutes when Ironside was allowed time to bring the ball down inside the box and finish from eight yards out.

Latics started the second-half strongly but suffered a sucker punch when Ironside set up May on the edge of the box and the midfielder fired into the corner of the net.

Latics now had a mountain to climb and they struggled to regain their early cohesion. 

They were dominating possession but couldn’t penetrate the Cambridge defence until with six minutes remaining they finally made the vital breakthrough. 

Keane turned on the edge of the area and fired decisively into the corner of the Cambridge net.

The visitors were in the ascendancy and quickly drew level when Power’s cross from the right found Lang at close range who finished past Mitov.

Latics pushed for the winner and were unlucky when another Lang effort from close range was disallowed for offside. 

Overall it had been an erratic display by Latics but they had shown great character and commitment to retrieve a point from a losing position.

Manager Richardson was critical of Latics’ lapses but praised the character of his team.

“At half time, it was more of the same, and two goals in our box probably were their only threat, but we’ve got to respect teams when they play like that because they are good at it. You’ve got to respect that and defend resolutely and properly but fair credit to the lads, they kept going until the end and I thought we might have nicked it as well.

“You’re got to give the lads credit because they were 2-0 down on the road again and they never gave up. I thought we knocked on the door long enough to get a goal and I thought we deserved the result.’

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Latics leave it late in FA Cup first-round replay – Solihull Moors 1 Wigan Athletic 2 AET

Kick off at Damson Park

  • Wigan Athletic progressed to the FA Cup second-round with a hard-fought extra-time victory at National League side Solihull Moors.
  • The hosts took a controversial lead early in the second half when referee Charles Breakspear awarded a penalty and Adam Rooney converted the spot kick.
  • Latics rallied and drew level on 66 minutes when Jason Kerr deflected Gwion Edwards strike into the net.
  • The visitors dominated in extra time and they deservedly sealed the tie when Callum Lang headed home Max Power’s free-kick.
  • The 2013 FA Cup winners now travel to Colchester United in the second round on Sunday 5th December.

Leam Richardson made one change from the FA Cup tie at the DW Stadium with Gavin Massey replacing Will Keane.

Latics enjoyed plenty of possession in the early stages but it was the Moors captain Kyle Storer who tried his luck on 12 minutes and volleyed over the crossbar from 25 yards.

For the visitors, Lang had a shot spilled by Moors goalkeeper Ryan Boot, but the keeper retrieved his mistake and gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Power and Tom Pearce wasted free kick opportunities as the visitors pressed but the game remained goalless at half time.

Early in the second half Solihull were awarded a controversial penalty by referee Charles Breakspear. Following a corner the ball was handled by Moors defender Lois Maynard in the area but bizarrely the referee awarded a penalty to the hosts which was converted by Rooney.

Fortunately the referee’s mistake wasn’t to prove crucial to the final result.

Latics showed good resilience and upped their game. As they pressed forward Boot tipped over Callum Lang’s dipping volley and then saved Darikwa’s shot from the resulting corner.

The visitors were level on 66 minutes when a mix up in the Moors defence allowed Edwards to shoot and Kerr to deflect his effort past Boot. 

The hosts didn’t capitulate however and Darikwa made an important block to deny James Ball an opportunity to regain the lead.

At the other end, Lang’s strike was spilled by Boot but Edwards couldn’t quite convert the loose ball on the follow up.

Then in the second minute of added time, Edwards was denied by a superb save from Boot as he tried to curl the ball into the corner of the net. 

Early in the first half of extra-time Darikwa’s cross found Charlie Wyke inside the box and the striker turned and fired towards goal but his effort was well-saved by Boot low down to his right.

Soon afterwards another Darikwa cross was headed back across goal by Wyke, but Edwards could only fire wide on the volley.

In the 104th minute Latics were finally ahead when Power’s excellent free kick from the left was glanced home by Lang.

The hosts were not giving up however and in the second half of extra-time Latics needed a goal-line clearance from Massey to stay in front.

With 10 minutes of extra-time remaining Edwards should have sealed the tie as he went one-on-one with the Solihull keeper, but Boot made an excellent save low down to his left deny him.

Latics lived dangerously in the dying seconds and Jamie Jones had to make a good save to deny Ball, before the midfielder fired over from a great position. When the final whistle came Latics’ players gave a huge sigh of relief.

Afterwards the Latics manager Leam Richardson gave credit to Solihull for their efforts over the two games.

“The main thing is to qualify and be in the hat for Colchester away, but I thought credit goes to Solihull,” he said.

“They challenged us over the two games and we had to find a way. Sometimes you have to do that in the FA Cup, and although I thought the first goal is possibly a mistake by the officials, thankfully it didn’t affect the outcome. 

“It was great for Solihull. 3,700 plus, which for an FA Cup tie under the lights on a Tuesday, is fantastic. You can see where they want to go as a Football Club and tonight was important that we respected ourselves and the opposition.

“The most important thing is that we got through tonight and now the preparations start for Saturday because we’ve got a big week, next week.”

Latics’ players were relieved to go through to the second round

Posted in Adam Rooney, Callum Lang, Jason Kerr, Solihull Moors, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics left frustrated in the FA Cup first-round – Wigan Athletic 0 Solihull Moors 0

Leam Richardson

Leam Richardson will be expecting an improved performance in the replay

  • It was a frustrating afternoon for Wigan Athletic as they were held to a 0-0 draw by National League side Solihull Moors in the first-round of the FA Cup.
  • Latics created a plethora of chances but Solihull defended resolutely and goalkeeper Ryan Boot had an outstanding game.
  • Gwion Edwards forced two superb saves from Boot and when it appeared he had been finally beaten by Charlie Wyke the goal was disallowed for offside.
  • Moors went closest when Latics keeper Jamie Jones made a superb save to deny a Callum Howe header which seemed destined for the top corner.
  • The former FA Cup winners now face a difficult first-round replay at Solihull on Tuesday 16 November for a place in the second round.

Leam Richardson made four changes to the team which had defeated Fleetwood Town with Jamie Jones, Kell Watts, Tom Pearce and Edwards replacing Ben Amos, Jack Whatmough, Curtis Tilt and James McClean. 

Latics looked lively early on and Edwards almost gave them the lead in the second minute when he unleashed a powerful strike from the edge of the area which was heading for the top corner until Boot spectacularly tipped the ball over the crossbar.

The hosts were dominating possession and they created another opportunity when Will Keane set up Pearce but his left-footed strike was deflected over the crossbar.

In the 20th minute Kell Watts had to withdrawn due to injury and was replaced by Curtis Tilt.

Another chance came in the 25th minute when Tendayi Darikwa’s cross from the right was punched away by Boot with Charlie Wyke ready to pounce at the back post.

At the other end the visitors set-piece caused problems for Latics but Jones saved well to deny the opportunity.

Bayliss then tried his luck from distance but his effort was always rising and went behind for a Solihull goal-kick.

Latics then had a good chance in the 36th minute after Pearce’s cross from the left fell at the feet of Keane whose shot was deflected to Lang, but his strike was again well saved by Boot.

The hosts kept knocking at the door and Edwards struck a powerful effort towards the far corner, but Boot did well to push the ball away to safety.

Edwards continued to be Latics’ greatest threat and he laid the ball back to Wyke, but the striker’s effort was well blocked by Alex Gudger.

Tilt had to be withdrawn at half time due to injury and was replaced by Luke Robinson in a re-jigged back four.

Latics continued to press in the second half, but the visitors remained resolute with Boot in outstanding form, saving and claiming everything fired in his direction.

Pearce’s corner was headed towards goal by Jason Kerr, but Boot was once again in the right place at the right time.

When Latics did evade the Moors goalkeeper in the 50th minute from another corner, Wyke’s header  agonisingly came off the post and away to safety.

At the other end, the visitors nearly took the lead in the 53rd minute when Howe headed Jamey Osborne’s cross towards the top corner but Jones did superbly to tip the ball against the crossbar and over.

Boot was once again in splendid form in the 64th minute when Bayliss unleashed a strike from outside of the area, and the Moors goalkeeper produced another excellent save to deny the hosts.

Latics continued to push for the breakthrough right to the end but they lacked the cutting edge to make the difference. 

In the last minute of normal time Latics looked like they had finally broken the deadlock when substitute Stephen Humphrys drove forward and threaded a ball through to Wyke and the former Sunderland striker rounded Boot but he was frustratingly adjudged to be offside.

Latics had not been at their best and injuries to defenders Watts and Tilt had disrupted their play, but great credit should be given to the well-drilled National League side who had defended resolutely and may even have pulled off a shock result had not been for Jones’ superb save in the second half.

Manager Richardson gave credit to Solihull afterwards but he will be expecting an improved performance by Latics in the replay.

“Compliments to Solihull, I thought they came here very organised and very well drilled as expected.

“I never felt that there was a real flow to the game if I was being honest, with all the stop-starts and the two injuries early on to both of our centre halves, and patching up at the back.

“I thought we started both halves reasonably well but didn’t have that bounce of the ball. I thought if we possibly got one, we might take control of the game, but both goalkeepers made some very good saves.

“We showed the impetus to try and take the lead but you’ve got to give credit to the opposition. I thought the goalkeeper made some good saves, was in the right areas and came and collected balls into the box.

“Congratulations to Solihull, they’ve got a good result away and we’re both in the hat.

“They are doing well themselves. They’ve got a good management team, good players and I don’t think you can disrespect anybody in the competition. 

“We know how much the FA Cup means to our fans, and it’s up to us certainly make a good impact and give a good account of ourselves and that’s what we will do in the replay.”

Posted in FA Cup, Leam Richardson, Solihull Moors, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Big turnaround takes Tics to the top – Fleetwood Town 2 Wigan Athletic 3 

Will Keane's double clinched the points for Latics

Will Keane headed Latics level

  • Wigan Athletic came back from two goals down to win 3-2 at Fleetwood Town and move to the top of the League One table.
  • Latics went behind after seven minutes when Danny Andrew drove home a free- kick from the edge of the area.
  • The hosts increased their lead when Callum Morton was brought down in the area by Ben Amos and Morton stepped up to convert the penalty.
  • Callum Lang reduced the deficit and they drew level when Charlie Wyke’s overhead kick was headed into the net by Will Keane.
  • The visitors sealed a breathtaking comeback and a record breaking sixth away win in succession when Curtis Tilt headed the winner from Max Power’s corner.
  • Latics move to the top of the table, one point above Plymouth and Fleetwood are in 22nd place.

Leam Richardson made one change to the team that had defeated Burton Albion with Callum Lang replacing Stephen Humphrys.

Former Latics players Joe Garner started and Anthony Pilkington was on the bench for the hosts.

The hosts started brightly and Joe Garner fired just over the crossbar after five minutes.

Two minutes later and Fleetwood were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area and Andrew fired past Amos into the bottom corner.

Lang had a shout for a penalty shortly afterwards when he appeared to be pushed in the box but referee Ross Joyce was unmoved.

Wyke went close with a header on 16 minutes and Garner headed over at the other end soon afterwards.

On 28 minutes Wyke nearly drew the visitors level with a diving header from James McClean’s inviting cross but Alex Cairns saved with his leg and Keane headed over the rebound.

Tendayi Darikwa tried his luck from 25-yards on 33 minutes and his strike was heading for the top corner until Cairns acrobatically tipped over the crossbar.

Latics continued to press for the equaliser before the half-time break but the hosts were defending resolutely.

Early in the second half the hosts went 2-0 up. McClean tried a risky back pass to Amos and the keeper was late in his challenge on Morton and the referee awarded a penalty which Morton subsequently converted.

Richardson reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Kerr withdrawn and Gwion Edwards slotting into the left hand side of the team.

Edwards was quickly into the action and forced Cairns into a good save low down at his near post.

Latics pulled a goal back on 62 minutes when Lang scored from a tight angle after an excellent defence splitting pass from Tom Bayliss.

The visitors were in the ascendancy now and a Fleetwood defender headed against his own crossbar from Power’s chipped cross on 65 minutes.

Latics were level on 68 minutes from McClean’s cross when Wyke’s overhead kick was headed home from close range by Keane.

It was one way traffic now and four minutes later Tilt rose high in the centre of the box to head Latics into the lead from Power’s corner.

It had been an incredible turnaround as Latics went from 2-0 down to 3-2 up in the space of just 10 minutes.

The visitors continued to press for more goals and Keane fired just over the crossbar from the corner of the box and Cairns did well to save Power’s free-kick at the near post.

In five minutes of added time Wyke had an opportunity to increase Latics’ advantage but a last ditch tackle denied him the opportunity to get on the scoresheet.

This had been a tremendous fightback by the Latics and manager Richardson will be very pleased that his charges had demonstrated great character and commitment to claim a crucial three points.

Player ratings courtesy of WhoScored.com

Posted in Callum Lang, Callum Morton, Curtis Tilt, Danny Andrew, Fleetwood Town, League One, Wigan Athletic, Will Keane | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics bounce back to winning ways – Wigan Athletic 2 Burton Albion 0

Curtis Tilt

Curtis Tilt on target with an exceptional strike

  • Latics kept the pressure on league leaders Plymouth Argyle with a comfortable 2-0 victory against ten-man Burton Albion.
  • James McClean put the hosts ahead with an accomplished volley from Tendayi Darikwa’s cross after nine minutes.
  • The visitors were reduced to ten-men when Jonny Smith was sent off in the 15th minute for a dangerous high foot on Curtis Tilt.
  • Early in the second half Tilt sealed the three points with a spectacular strike from 25-yards.
  • Latics move up to second place in the League One table and the Brewers drop to ninth place.

Latics’ FA Cup winning manager Roberto Martinez was in attendance as the hosts looked to get back to winning ways against the Brewers.

Leam Richardson made three changes to the starting line up against Lincoln City with Jason Kerr, Tilt and Charlie Wyke, replacing Kell Watts, Tom Naylor and Callum Lang.

The hosts started on the front foot and McClean cut inside before hitting a low shot towards the Brewers goal, but it was easily saved by goalkeeper Ben Garratt.

Latics were ahead in the 10th minute following an excellent move down the right hand side.

Tom Bayliss found Darikwa in space and the captain delivered an inviting ball to the far post that was met by McClean’s superb left-footed volley.

Burton tried to respond and Jonny Smith’s deflected shot from outside of the area went for a corner.

In the 15th minute the Brewers were somewhat harshly reduced to ten-men by referee Carl Brook for Smith’s dangerously high foot on Tilt.

Latics pressed to increase their advantage and Bayliss curled an effort over the crossbar before Garratt did well keep out Will Keane’s first-time effort.

McClean lofted a high cross to the back post, but it was flicked behind for a corner with Darikwa ready to pounce. Power fired over from the resulting corner.

Latics were totally dominant now and chances were coming in quick succession.

Stephen Humphrys saw his effort from close-range well-blocked before Power then tried his luck again from distance and Garrett did well to push away his swerving effort.

Just before half-time Power put in an excellent cross from a deep position towards Wyke, but Conor Shaughnessy was able to stamp out the danger.

Latics continued to dominate in the second half with some fine attacking play.

The hosts doubled their lead in the 51st minute with a very special goal from Rotherham loanee Tilt.

Humphrys cut the ball back from the byline and Tilt strode forward and unleashed an unstoppable volley from 25-yards which flew into the corner of the net. Quite an exceptional goal.

The hosts could easily have won by four or five goals and Aasgaard’s long-range effort was deflected wide before Humphrys dragged his shot wide after he created space for himself in the area.

Latics had been comfortable winners but the sending off had helped to give them the opportunity to cruise to the three points.

Leam Richardson had to re-jig his starting eleven through injuries and suspensions but his squad had come through with flying colours.

Richardson’s change in formation to 3-5-2 had proved effective with new starters Kerr and Tilt working well alongside Jack Whatmough in defence.

It will be interesting to see if he retains this formation for the trip to Fleetwood on Tuesday night when Latics will looking to match their club record of six consecutive away wins.

Afterwards Richardson praised the players who had just come into the team.

“Within the season – it’s something that we’ve spoken about – you have to got to be flexible and adaptable. We’ve had a lot of games in quick succession and our energy levels were a little bit tapered on Tuesday, and then there were injuries and suspensions.

“It’s important that we are able to adapt and overcome certain things and adapt to certain situations and respect the opposition because they do offer a physical task. 

“It’s a really big compliment for the likes of Curtis Tilt and Jason Kerr because they’ve waited and been such fantastic professionals. They’ve waited for their turn and trained really hard.

“It’s my pressure to get them in the team – not their pressure – but it was their pressure to train right, live right and support the team when it’s not their turn because today they needed everybody to support and they got that.”

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Burton Albion, Curtis Tilt, James McClean, League One, Leam Richardson, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tuesday heartache – Wigan Athletic 1 Lincoln City 2

Leam Richardson Wigan Athletic

Leam Richardson 

  • It was another Tuesday heartache as Latics slumped to a third successive Tuesday night League One defeat.
  • Latics had the chance to go top of the table but they were deservedly defeated 2-1 by Lincoln City.
  • The visitors went ahead in the 14th minute when Ted Bishop played a clever pass to Dan Nlundulu, who chipped over Ben Amos.
  • The Imps consolidated their lead following a goalmouth scramble when TJ Eyoma fired home from close range.
  • Latics pulled a goal back through substitute Gavin Massey in the 94th minute but it was much too late to rescue the game.
  • Latics remain in third place in the League One table and the Imps are in 12th place.

Latics made one change to the starting line up from Saturday’s win at AFC Wimbledon, with Stephen Humphrys coming in for the injured Charlie Wyke.

The hosts started slowly and Lincoln pressed forward in the early stages.

Lincoln were rewarded in the 14th minute when Ted Bishop played a clever through ball and Nlundulu chipped over Amos from close range.

Latics almost replied immediately when James McClean hit a great dipping volley from the edge of the area but his strike hit the crossbar and bounced away to safety.

The hosts thought they had drawn level on 24 minutes when Kell Watts connected with Max Power’s free-kick but the referee Sebastian Stockbridge correctly disallowed the goal for a hand ball by Watts.

Latics looked to draw level before half time and Tendayi Darikwa’s cross was deflected narrowly wide by a Lincoln defender with Humphrys ready to pounce.

At the other end Bishop unleashed a powerful drive from 25-yards which crashed against the crossbar as the visitors looked to increase their advantage.

Lincoln continued to threaten early in the second half when Nlundulu fired a shot into the side netting.

Latics tried to get back on level terms and Watts was denied by an excellent stop from Josh Griffiths before Humphrys attempted an acrobatic overhead kick which went just over the crossbar.

Soon afterwards Amos did excellently to tip Bishop’s shot over, but the visitors doubled their lead from the resulting corner as Eyoma fired home from close-range as Latics’ defence failed to clear.

Latics tried to respond with Will Keane unleashing a powerful drive from 25-yards out, but his strike crashed against the post.

Keane then had another chance just three minutes later but Eyoma was able to intervene to turn the ball behind for a corner.

Lincoln almost added a third in the 74th minute after Nlundulu turned well inside the box but his shot went just wide of the post.

Latics kept plugging away, in stoppage time substitute Gwion Edwards crashed an effort against the crossbar and from Lang’s cross Massey headed home, but it was too late to salvage anything from the game.

The Tuesday heartache had continued and to exacerbate Latics’ problems Tom Naylor limped off with a nasty injury and Callum Lang picked up a booking which will keep him out of Saturday’s game against Burton Albion.

Manager Leam Richardson was keen that his team learn from the game afterwards.

“The result was disappointing, and I thought we huffed and puffed in certain areas,” he said.

“Congratulations to Lincoln, I thought they started both halves terrifically well. 

“But we hit the woodwork three times, and there were a couple of goalmouth scrambles.

On another day, the bounce of the ball might fall our way, but the lads left their last breathe out there.

“Can we better in certain areas? Of course we can.

“It’s up to myself to make sure we learn from it and the next time we revisit something, that we are better – not just individually but collectively.”

Latics missed striker Charlie Wyke and midfielder Jordan Cousins but Richardson will be expecting a big reaction from the players available against eighth-placed Burton on Saturday.

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Dan Nlundulu, Gavin Massey, League One, Leam Richardson, Lincoln City, TJ Eyoma, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review – Not for Me Clive: Stories from the Voice of Football by Clive Tyldesley

Clive Tyldesley was ITV’s senior football commentator for 22 years and his autobiography provides an entertaining insight into the life of a commentator obsessive.

Tyldesley has spent time with many of the big characters of the game including Sir Alex Ferguson, Bill Shankly, Brian Clough and Sir Kenny Dalglish and his encounters are well worth the retelling.

Many of the stories show the dark side of the big characters as well as why they were so successful. Clough for example was a man of many contradictions,

“He could be rude; he could pick you apart until you fell to pieces in front of him. And yet the same man softly charmed my parents when he made a surprise appearance (in green sweat top and tracksuit bottoms) at the restaurant where I held my leaving-do. Surprise was his favourite weapon.”

Tyldesley has plenty of opinions to share in the book, whether it be on other commentators or topics such as social media and racism. His beliefs are well summed up when he states, 

“Following the evidence is my kind of journey. About turns can be some of the best and bravest moves we make in life, if they steer us away from dogma and gospels. And yet U-turns by public figures are portrayed as signs of indecision and ineptitude. There is no future in being open-minded.”

Boxing commentator Reg Gutteridge was Tyldesley’s mentor, and he helped to shape the commentator that we know so well today. He encouraged Tyldesley to be inclusive and welcome everybody into his broadcasting. 

He is renowned for his extensive research and compiles hand-written charts before every game. He believes his preparation is crucial to his success as a commentator, but he is not too precious to admit his commentary mistakes.

Tyldesley runs through some of the big moments in his commentary career but recognises he was lucky that these were unbelievable games. He states that if the scripts for the 1999, 2005 and 2012 Champions League finals had been presented to commissioning editors in TV drama departments, the writers would probably have been told to go away and make them more believable.

He was baffled by the decision to remove him from his role as ITV’s number one commentator in 2020. He is still working for several media organisations but says he will miss commentating on England games and the Champions League.

Tyldesley’s is one of the defining TV voices of the last two decades-plus and his emotive tones have resonated with football fans everywhere. His autobiography is well worth your attention whether it’s for his views on the art of commentating, stories about the game’s big characters, or opinions on many contemporary issues.

Not for Me Clive: Stories from the Voice of Football by Clive Tyldesley, published by Headline, Price: £13.00.

This review first appeared in the October/November 2021 edition of Late Tackle magazine.

Posted in Book Reviews, Clive Tyldesley, Football Book Reviews, Late Tackle magazine, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Brutally efficient Tics – AFC Wimbledon 0 Wigan Athletic 2 

Plough Lane

Plough Lane

  • In new brutalist surroundings Wigan Athletic were brutally efficient in their quest for the three points at AFC Wimbledon and ran out comfortable 2-0 victors in the capital.
  • Early in the second half the Dons Paul Kalambayi deflected Callum Lang’s effort into his own goal before James McClean fired in Latics’ second.
  • Latics move up to third in the League One table and the Dons are in 14th place.

Leam Richardson named an unchanged team from the defeat against MK Dons with loanee Tom Bayliss retaining his place in midfield.

It was Latics who started quickly with McClean firing a deep cross to the far post but Max Power was unable to keep his volley down. 

Will Keane had a huge chance to give Latics the lead in the seventh minute after he flicked on Tendayi Darikwa’s cross but Ben Heneghan cleared his effort off the line.

The Dons had an opportunity in the 11th minute after Ayoub Assal broke on the left and crossed for Jack Rudoni but the forward could only head wide of the target.

But Latics looked the most threatening and went close twice through Keane in a matter of minutes. 

Anthony Hartigan saw his dangerous free-kick fly just wide before McClean tried his luck from distance but his strike was easily saved by Tzanev. 

Latics nearly went ahead before the interval when Power’s dangerous cross nearly found Charlie Wyke before McClean’s follow-up was cleared. Darikwa then crossed for Wyke but the keeper did well to save.

Latics continued to dominate in the second half and their pressure was rewarded in the 51st minute. 

Lang fired a shot towards the goal from the right, and it was deflected into the back of the net by the Dons defender Kalambayi.

They almost doubled their lead in the 53rd minute after Lang cut the ball back for McClean from six yards out, but his low strike was blocked on the line.  

But Latics did double the lead a minute later when McClean fired an unstoppable drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Lang threatened once again in the 67th minute after he showed good strength but his effort was denied by a fine save from Tzanev. 

Latics players celebrate the second goal

Latics were rampant now and Wyke sent Lang racing through on goal, but his low shot from a tight angle was thwarted by Tzanev. 

Keane then had a great chance to add a third. Power’s cross was flicked on by Tom Naylor to Keane at the back post, but the forward was unable to make it count.

Latics pressed forward for more goals and the score line could’ve easily been four or five to the visitors. But they always had to be alert to the hosts break and Ben Amos had to make an excellent save to deny Nesta Guinness-Walker.

This had been a brutally efficient performance by Latics who have now won five away games on the bounce and two consecutive games in the capital.

Manager Leam Richardson was rightly pleased with the day’s work.

“It was a very professional performance. It’s a very tough place to come and they are a very well-drilled side.

“I think they’ve only lost once here all year so we expected a really tough game.

“You have to respect every team in the league and we certainly did that today.

“We felt if we matched their work ethic and application then we felt we had the quality to come through and thankfully it did.

The games come thick and fast for Latics with Lincoln City and Burton Albion at home and they will be hoping to capitalise on their games in hand on leaders Plymouth and second placed Wycombe.

Posted in AFC Wimbledon, James McClean, Leam Richardson, Paul Kalambayi, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment