Tics looking good on their travels – Rotherham United 0 Wigan Athletic 2

Whatmough heads the ball across goal for Naylor to score

  • Wigan Athletic produced another excellent away performance with a 2-0 victory at managerless Rotherham United.
  • Latics went ahead on 12 minutes with a well executed move. Charlie Wyke cut the ball back to Will Keane who fired high into the net from close range.
  • The Millers tried to respond forcing a series of corners but they couldn’t penetrate a resolute Latics back line.
  • Late on Latics sealed their fourth consecutive away win when James McClean’s deep corner was headed back across goal for Tom Naylor to nod home.
  • Latics climb to ninth place in the Championship table and Rotherham drop to 11th.

Leam Richardson made four changes from Latics home defeat against Reading, with Ryan Nyambe, Naylor, Nathan Broadhead and Charlie Wyke all coming into the starting eleven to replace Tendayi Darikwa, Graeme Shinnie, Callum Lang and Josh Magennis.

Latics started strongly at the New York Stadium with Broadhead’s back-heel finding Wyke who took a touch and shot from the edge of the area, but his strike unfortunately deflected into the arms of Viktor Johansson.

Keane then tried his luck from 20 yards out, but his powerful effort went narrowly wide of the far post.

Latics went ahead in the 12th minute after an impressive move. Ryan Nyambe’s curling pass down the right-hand side found Wyke who cut the ball back to Keane and the Republic of Ireland international powerfully despatched the ball high into the net from seven yards out.

The visitors nearly added to their lead  when Naylor headed into the direction of Nyambe on the right and the full back saw his effort fly wide of the post.

The hosts had their first strike on target in the 20th minute when Wes Harding forced Ben Amos into an important save by pushing his strike over the crossbar.

McClean then went close for Latics when his vicious in-swinging corner was superbly pushed over the crossbar by Johansson as it looked to be heading into the far corner.

McClean then did superbly at the other end as he made an outstanding headed clearance to deny Chiedozie Ogbene.

Ogbene’s curling effort looked destined to find the top corner, but McClean did fantastically to backtrack and head the shot off the line.

The hosts then exerted a period of pressure and forced a series of corners. Cohen Bramall’s corner was met by captain Richard Wood at the far post, but the Millers caretaker boss missed a great opportunity when his header from a good position went wide.

Latics had to endure a catalogue of corners but they defended resolutely and rode their luck a little.

1-0 to Latics at the interval.

Latics started the second half brightly and they nearly doubled their advantage when Wyke down the right-hand side squared the ball to Max Power who saw his deflected effort claimed at the second attempt by Johansson.

The visitors then sat back as Rotherham tried to get back on level terms but fortunately the hosts weren’t able to create any clear-cut chances.

The Millers defend a Latics throw-in

The visitors had a glorious chance to increase their lead when Broadhead and Power combined to send McClean in the clear, but the Republic of Ireland international was denied by a brilliant instinctive save by Johansson.

But from the resulting corner Latics effectively sealed the three points. Whatmough headed McClean’s deep corner back across goal, and Naylor headed home from close range.

In the remaining minutes Latics comfortably held out for an impressive fourth successive away win in the Championship.

The games now come thick and fast with Latics hoping to continue their good away form at Hull City on Wednesday night.

Road trips

This was another excellent away performance against a team who had not been defeated at home this season. Rotherham are a strong physical team and are a big threat from set-pieces. Latics had to contend with a lot of pressure after they went ahead, but they did well to weather the storm and not concede.

Latics players are certainly enjoying their road trips and the fans have already been treated to some special away days.

It’s been a great start to the season and some will even be talking about pushing for the play-offs. Consolidation was always the aim for this season, but if they can continue their good away form and improve their home form you never know what could happen.

Charlie Wyke

A special mention should go to Charlie Wyke who led the line to great effect. He is not only an outstanding target man who holds the ball up well and plays in his colleagues, but he also poses a significant goal threat.

It was his first start in 11 months after suffering a cardiac arrest and many people thought he would never be able to play again. It was great to see him back on the pitch and producing such a strong performance. Wyke lost his grandad on Thursday, so it was even more remarkable that he produced such a committed display against Rotherham.

Post match comments

Speaking afterwards Richardson believed that his side were more than worthy of all three points following their outstanding away performance against the Millers.

“It’s not an easy place to come to,” he said.

“Rotherham have some really good players, and they’ve been going really well as a Football Club. Before the game, they hadn’t conceded a goal in the first half hour, and they had not conceded a set-piece, and they’d certainly not lost at home, so to do all three was really pleasing.

I thought the first half was competitive, and we started the game terrifically well. It was probably even going into the second half, but I thought as an away team, we managed the game really well and to get the second goal, we took the sting out of the game and grew in confidence from there. 

The lads stuck to the task, and responded from our last game with the outputs and energy levels, and I thought we were worthy winners today.

Credit goes to the players, and the staff who worked really hard in the international break. We had a really good training week this week, and it filtered out on the pitch. It’s pleasing all round today.”

Player ratings

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Posted in Championship, Leam Richardson, Rotherham United, Tom Naylor, Wigan Athletic, Will Keane | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home and away mystery – Wigan Athletic 0 Reading 1

Leam Richardson Wigan Athletic

Leam Richardson with food for thought after defeat to Reading

  • Wigan Athletic produced another below par home performance losing 1-0 to Reading at the DW Stadium.
  • Latics have been impressive on their travels but have struggled to re-create that form at the DW Stadium and they rarely threatened to get the victory against Reading.
  • In a game of very few chances it was the visitors who grabbed all three points when Tom Ince’s superb free-kick in the 63rd minute was the only moment of real quality.
  • Latics are now 12th in the Championship table and Reading move up to third.

Leam Richardson made two changes from the 2-1 victory at Huddersfield Town in midweek with Ben Amos and captain Tendayi Darikwa returning to the starting line-up in place of Jamie Jones and Ryan Nyambe.

It was a slow start to the game with neither team creating any real opportunities in the early stages.

The first chance came in the 24th minute when the visitors Andy Yiadom cut the ball back to Jeff Hendrick who fired over the crossbar from just six yards out.

Latics responded and Darikwa’s deep cross found Josh Magennis at the far post, but the striker headed narrowly wide of the post.

The hosts had another rare opportunity in the 42nd minute. Magennis knocked the ball onto Aasgaard who did well to find space but his shot from just inside the penalty area flew high and wide of the left hand post.

Paul Ince’s side were looking for a reset after their heavy defeat to Sunderland and both teams seemed reluctant to take any risks in a mediocre first-half.

The visitors made the better start to the second half and created a great opportunity in the 59th minute. Ince’s corner came to Junior Hoilett and the winger crossed low to defender Tom McIntyre who looked odds on to score but fired wide from inside the penalty area.

But the visitors were ahead in the 62nd minute. There was a debatable foul by Max Power on Ince on the edge of the Latics area awarded by referee David Webb. 

Ince took the resulting free-kick and curled the ball superbly into the top right-hand corner.

Latics tried to respond with Keane nearly finding the equaliser in the 67th minute.  James McClean crossed to the near post where Keane’s flicked header came back off the inside of the post and was cleared away to safety.

Reading then nearly doubled their lead, when McIntyre found himself free on the left-hand side and crossed to Ince who headed down into the turf and saw it bounce over Amos’ crossbar.

Latics then had a great chance to equalise when Keane did well to find Lang in space but the striker failed to show composure and fired his strike high over the crossbar.

The hosts continued to push for an equaliser but the visitors nearly added to their lead on the counterattack with ten minutes remaining.

Ince played substitute Yakou Meite through on goal but Amos did brilliantly to  come off his line and block Meite’s strike.

Latics continued to press forward and late on substitute Charlie Wyke nearly got on the scoresheet when his header under pressure from a defender cleared the crossbar.

It had been a strangely subdued Latics home performance in contrast to their excellent away displays.

Overall Reading had managed the game better than Latics and it was one moment of quality from Tom Ince that had decided the three points. 

Richardson will have plenty of food for thought during the international break prior to their next game at Rotherham on the 1st October.

Home and Away

It is something of a mystery why Latics have not won at home and have not lost away. They have only managed three points at home but have been excellent on their travels and gained ten points.

Some fans have blamed Richardson’s tactics for the lack of home wins but these tactics have been effective away from home and with the same squad of players.

Why Latics have struggled at home this season could be for a variety of reasons: the step up in quality in the Championship; the expectation that you should win your home games; the psychological mindset required to perform consistently and the inevitable fine margins in a tight division.

Grabbing that first home win and achieving consistency now is the challenge for Latics in an extremely competitive Championship.

Post match comments 

Speaking afterwards, Richardson admitted that while it wasn’t their day at the DW Stadium, they will be using the disappointment in a positive way. 

“It was tough,” he said.

“The game was there to be won, and I think we played with enough energy, impetus and sharpness during the first half. 

We had to take the game to them and try and make those opportunities. We controlled possession and had enough shots but not enough on target. 

We didn’t really put them under enough pressure (compared) to what we normally do. We have to play at a certain level to be the best versions of ourselves and we just dipped a little.

As a team collectively, we’ve got to be better, sharper and more productive with what we do. We took the game to them towards the game and we had enough final third entries – we hit the post and had a couple of chances – but it’s a tough league and we’ve got to be at it every single time we take the pitch.

We are still learning and growing as a group, as a team. Today, it’s not our finest day but we’ll learn from it and quickly educate ourselves and be better. 

We will certainly know the next time how we become more productive, and sharper in certain areas, which will help us be productive.”

Player ratings

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Posted in Championship, Leam Richardson, Reading, Tom Ince, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Two Brothers – The Life and Times of Bobby and Jackie Charlton by Jonathan Wilson

‘Two Brothers’ is not only an inspiring story about two of the most famous footballing brothers, but it is also about late twentieth-century English football and the changes that were taking place.

Jonathan Wilson traces the incredible lives of Bobby and Jackie Charlton from their childhood working class roots through to their battles with dementia.

Jack’s childhood seemed quite extreme in a modern context. He managed to get into many scrapes and had a wanderlust for adventures. Bobby in contrast was quiet and serious.

Jack was an extrovert and Bobby an introvert, but both enjoyed great success as players: Jack won a league, a Cup and two Fairs Cups with Leeds; Bobby won a league title, survived the terrible disaster of the plane crash in Munich, and then at enormous emotional cost, won a Cup and two more league titles before capping it off with the European Cup. Together, for England, they won the World Cup.

Wilson provides new information about some of the major football characters of their generation, figures such as Alf Ramsay, Matt Busby, Don Revie, and George Best.

Despite winning the European Cup together George never really got on with Bobby, ‘I represented the future of Manchester United – or should have done, ’ Best acknowledged. ‘Charlton represented the past.’ That was not simply about age; it was also about attitude. Best once said he was ‘grateful’ to have been born in 1946 and not 1926. ‘We don’t have to stick rigidly to the short back and sides and wear-your-club-blazer-at-all-times routine of the past,’ he said.

Busby was a very powerful figure in Bobby’s life but ultimately, he became disillusioned with Busby for his treatment of Jimmy Murphy. As they got older, the brothers became more estranged, probably because of tension between their mother Cissie and Bobby’s wife Norma.

Their managerial careers followed predictably diverging paths, Bobby failing at Preston while Jack enjoyed success at Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday before leading Ireland to previously unimagined heights.

Wilson contextualises the brothers as competing forces that shaped English and Irish football and society between the end of the second world war and the turn of the Millennium. He interestingly uses the brothers to demonstrate the tensions between flair and industry and between individuality and the collective, between right and left, between middle and working classes, between exile and home.

This significant new book about a great footballing family provides many new insights for those of the same generation but it will also provide a compelling read for those who are unfamiliar with the impact of the Charlton brothers.

Two Brothers – The Life and Times of Bobby and Jackie Charlton by Jonathan Wilson. Published by Little, Brown. Price £20.

This review first appeared in the September 2022 edition of Late Tackle magazine.

Posted in Bobby Charlton, Book Reviews, Football Book Reviews, Jack Charlton, Jonathan Wilson, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics keep Terriers in the doldrums –  Huddersfield Town 1 Wigan Athletic 2

The scene is set in Huddersfield

  • Wigan Athletic produced another impressive away performance with a 2-1 victory at the John Smith’s Stadium.
  • Will Keane put Latics ahead on 25 minutes from the penalty spot after Callum Lang had been brought down in the box by Luke Mbete.
  • Huddersfield drew level on 76 minutes through Tom Lees but Latics sealed their third consecutive away victory on 82 minutes when Lang turned in the box before firing past Lee Nicholls.
  • Latics moved up to eighth in the Championship table while the Terriers remain second bottom.

Leam Richardson made three changes from their 2-1 victory at Luton Town with Jamie Jones, Graeme Shinnie and Thelo Aasgaard all coming into the starting XI for Ben Amos, Jason Kerr and Tom Naylor.

Before the kick off, a minute of silence was well observed by both sets of supporters in tribute to Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Latics had their first attempt towards goal on 7 minutes when a cross was half cleared to James McClean on the edge of the area, but his right-footed effort was wide of the target.

The hosts wasted a huge opportunity to break the deadlock in the 16th minute when Duane Holmes’ low cross from the right-hand side was skied over the crossbar by the sliding Danny Ward inside the six-yard box.

Latics looked dangerous at the other end and they went ahead from the penalty spot in the 25th minute. 

Aasgaard’s perfect pass allowed Lang to race through on goal, and as the Latics striker was about to pull the trigger he was brought down by Mbete.

Keane confidently fired his spot kick high into the roof of the net. 

They had another good opportunity in the 37th minute. Josh Magennis did well to hold up the ball before pulling it back to Aasgaard, but the young Norwegian miscued his effort off target.

Max Power tried his luck from 20 yards but his volleyed effort was well wide. 

As half-time approached McClean’s left-sided cross, found Lang in the box but his header was comfortably saved by former Latics goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.

Early in the second half Latics almost doubled their lead.

Jack Whatmough met Power’s in-swinging corner at the far post, and his header came off the outside of the post. 

Aasgaard then had two great chances in a matter of minutes to add to Latics advantage. First, he curled his effort over the crossbar with Nicholls out of his goal, and then he headed Power’s free-kick over the crossbar.

The hosts responded when Jack Rudoni took aim from distance, but his powerful effort was was well held by Jones.

Lang, who was a threat throughout, had another huge chance when he latched onto Magennis’ flick but after taking it round the onrushing keeper the angle was too tight and Nicholls saved easily.

The hosts then had a strong spell as Latics retreated into defence.

Yuta Nakayama sliced an effort over from a great position and then from a free-kick situation, his curling effort was pushed over by Jones. 

But Huddersfield were level in the 75th minute. Curtis Tilt did brilliantly to hook substitute Jordan Rhodes’ effort off the line but Lees found the bottom corner with a low drive from the edge of the box. 

Danny Schofield’s team were now in the ascendancy and almost went in front but Rhodes’ rising strike came off the woodwork. 

Goalkeeper Jones then did superbly to block substitute Pat Jones’ fierce effort from point-blank range. 

It was now looking as though the hosts would take all three points but with eight minutes remaining it was Latics who sealed the points.

McClean pulled the ball back to Lang, and despite being surrounded by defenders he was able to turn in the box and fire a low effort, which wrong footed Nicholls, into the bottom corner of the net.

In a game of numerous chances for both teams Latics held on for a hard-fought away victory.

Latics on the attack

Impressive start to the season

Many people predicted that Latics would struggle in the Championship after promotion from League One, but they have made an impressive start to their campaign. After eight games they sit in eighth position and with a game in hand on some of the clubs around them.

They have only lost one game so far against Burnley and they have already won three games on the road.

The new signings have added greater competition for a starting place and there is now strength in depth. Lang has started the Championship campaign very strongly and was a constant threat against Huddersfield and Aasgaard is now starting to fulfil his undoubted potential.

Richardson will be pleased with his team’s progress but he will not be getting carried away as there will be stern tests ahead.

Post match comments

Speaking afterwards, Richardson was delighted with how his side remained undeterred by Lees’ 76th-minute equaliser and showed immense character to still go on to get the winner against the Terriers.

“It epitomises where they are at the minute, and long may that continue,” he said.

“To win away late again – we did it at Luton, Birmingham City and we’ve done it tonight – (is very pleasing).

“It’s a challenging place to come against a team that is full of good players, and we knew the challenge that was right in front of us.

I thought in the first half, we were excellent. I thought the game turned on (the missed chances) a little bit, but to respond from the equaliser, it’s a credit to the players and a credit to the staff. It’s great character and a great habit to have. 

I thought they worked hard enough to create that bit of luck, and to show the character to stay in the game, take the punches and go up the other end to get the winner. 

They’ve worked hard during the last 7-10 days, but I thought we were good value for the result. To come here, be competitive, and control the ball in large parts was pleasing.”

Latics were once again backed in numbers at John Smith’s Stadium, and Richardson reiterated that there is no better feeling for the players than being able to send the travelling supporters home with a smile on their faces.

“They can’t get enough of that (feeling),” he smiled.

“ The away support is fantastic, and to come away from home and score in front of your own fans – there is no better feeling for the lads.”

Player ratings

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Callum Lang, Championship, Huddersfield Town, Leam Richardson, Tom Lees, Wigan Athletic, Will Keane | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics late show stuns the Hatters – Luton Town 1 Wigan Athletic 2

Thelo Aasgaard

Thelo Aasgaard scored a sublime winner

  • Wigan Athletic came back from 1-0 down to stun Luton Town with two late goals at Kenilworth Road.
  • The hosts had taken the lead in a first half they had dominated, with Carlton Morris heading past Ben Amos on 39 minutes.
  • Latics goalkeeper Amos had superbly denied earlier efforts from Elijah Adebayo, Luke Freeman and Morris.
  • Leam Richardson changed formation and made three substitutions in the 62nd minute and Latics showed a marked improvement.
  • The visitors drew level when Callum Lang’s cross shot was deflected into his own goal by Tom Lockyer on 80 minutes.
  • They sealed a remarkable comeback when substitute Thelo Aasgaard curled a superb strike past Luton keeper Ethan Horvath on 88 minutes.
  • Latics move up to 14th in the Championship table and the Hatters drop to 16th place.

Richardson made one change from Tuesday’s draw against West Bromwich Albion, with Lang replacing Graeme Shinnie.

The hosts were the first to threaten when Adebayo broke into the penalty area but Amos came out quickly and saved brilliantly at point-blank range.

Latics had their first effort on goal two minutes later when James McClean’s volley was deflected wide of the near post.

Lang then threaded a great through ball to Josh Magennis and the striker drilled his low strike against the near post, but the flag had already been raised for offside by the assistant referee.

Amos again came to Latics’ rescue on 34 minutes when Freeman’s powerful strike from 20-yards-out looked destined for the top corner but the former Charlton stopper produced an outstanding save.

Luton continued to press and Amos saved superbly with his feet to deny Morris.

Then from a corner Lockyer headed towards goal but Max Power recognised the danger and cleared his effort off the line.

But the hosts went ahead just before half time when Morris headed Bree’s cross into the top right corner at the far post.

The Hatters had dominated the first half and Latics had resorted to pumping long balls forward to little effect.

It would require a major improvement in the second half if Latics were going to get anything from the game.

1-0 to Luton at the break.

Early in the second half the hosts nearly added to their lead when Gabe Osho shot from the edge of the area, but his effort was well blocked by Curtis Tilt.

Latics went close in the 54th minute when Will Keane met McClean’s right-sided corner but his headed effort flew over the crossbar.

Osho then had another chance when he cut in from the right, but his left-footed effort curled over the crossbar.

Richardson decided it was time to make a change in formation and personnel on 62 minutes when he made a triple substitution and went to a back four. Shinnie, Aasgaard and Nathan Broadhead coming on for Jason Kerr, Tom Naylor and Magennis.

The visitors went in search of an equaliser and Aasgaard did well to play the ball to McClean whose cross found Lang at the far post, but his diving header went wide of the target.

Latics were now in the ascendancy and they equalised with 10 minutes remaining through Lang.

Ryan Nyambe showed great strength and determination to win back possession and then pick out Lang whose cross shot deflected off Lockyer and into the net.

The visitors might’ve had a penalty when Shinnie appeared to be taken down in the box but referee Chris Kavanagh waved away the appeals.

Latics looked like they had secured a good point, but things got even better on 88 minutes when Aasgaard produced a touch of Norwegian magic to grab all three points.

The Academy graduate calmly took a touch on the edge of the area before sublimely curling the ball into the top right corner. Cue ecstatic scenes from the away end of the ground.

Luton had a late effort correctly ruled out for offside and Latics held on for a valuable three points on the road.

Man of the Match

Ben Amos produced a Man of the Match performance

Both Lang and Aasgaard did brilliantly to turn the game in Latics favour, but when they were under the cosh in the first half they could easily have been three or four goals behind, but for Amos’ superb goalkeeping.

The Latics keeper produced a Man of the Match performance with three top drawer saves to deny the Hatters.

Richardson’s tactical changes

The Latics manager started with three centre-backs and two wing-backs but it effectively became a back five in the first half as Luton used a high press to dominate.

Latics resorted to long balls up the field to Magennis which was invariably ineffective.

It was clear something had to change and on the hour mark Richardson moved to a back four and introduced Aasgaard, Broadhead and Shinnie.

It was a tactical masterstroke as the formation and the substitutions changed the course of the game.

As Luton became more tired Latics moved up a gear and Aasgaard’s fantastic finish was the icing on the cake.

Post match comments

Speaking afterwards Richardson was full of praise for his side’s excellent second-half performance and spoke about the importance of how the players are in the right mindset to come on and change the game – like Graeme Shinnie, Nathan Broadhead and Aasgaard.

“It’s a good day in the end, to have a three-game week as we’ve had with Burnley, West Brom and away at Luton, it’s a really high challenge.

In the main, the lads have stood up to the task. Today, we wanted to be more like us, and you have to match the fight, running and work ethic against Luton. 

In the main, we did that out of possession but we weren’t good enough in possession in the first half. The lads knew that and in the second half, I thought we were excellent and deserved the momentum we put forward. 

We certainly deserved the equaliser, and possibly should’ve got a penalty to get the winner (before Thelo popped up). 

I’ve got to praise the squad in the main – the lads coming off the bench onto the pitch – to raise the bar as they do.

If you don’t go onto the pitch with the right mindset, you don’t get the wins as we did. Collectively, the lads are in a really good mindset, and in a really strong place and that’s their responsibility.

We need to make sure we are tactically aware, and to be fit, strong and healthy enough to regenerate and accept the challenges that are coming. Collectively, we are in a good pace and we need to keep making small steps forward.”

Richardson expressed that there is no better feeling than his side getting the winner in front of the 1,032 travelling supporters.

“To score in front of them as we did – and get the winner as we did – it doesn’t get any better!

We‘ll need them even more coming into the next few challenges, but a sold-out away end at Kenilworth Road and (Thelo) scoring the winner is very pleasing.”

Latics on the attack at Luton

Posted in Callum Lang, Carlton Morris, Championship, Leam Richardson, Luton Town, Thelo Aasgaard, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A good point made – Wigan Athletic 1 West Bromwich Albion 1

Josh Magennis grabbed his first goal of the season

  • Wigan Athletic bounced back from Saturday’s 5-1 defeat to Burnley with a creditable point at home to West Bromwich Albion.
  • Latics took an early lead when Josh Magennis muscled his way past Semi Ajayi to fire home.
  • But a mistake by Tom Naylor allowed the Baggies to draw level on 22 minutes when Karlan Grant’s low drive found the bottom corner.
  • Both teams huffed and puffed but chances were few and far between and the points were shared.
  • Latics move up to 18th in the Championship table and West Brom move up to 12th place.

Leam Richardson made three changes from the weekend, with Ben Amos, Ryan Nyambe and Josh Magennis coming into the starting XI for Jamie Jones, Tendayi Darikwa, and Callum Lang.

Latics made an impressive start and took the lead on six minutes when Magennis muscled his way past Ajayi.

Jack Whatmough lifted a long ball over the Baggies defence and Magennis showed strength and determination before powering the ball past David Button.

Soon afterwards Max Power tried his luck from just inside the West Brom half, but Button was relieved to save.

The Baggies threatened on 14 minutes when John Swift was picked out by Jed Wallace but the former Reading midfielder fired well wide of the target.

On 21 minutes the visitors drew level following a mistake by Naylor.

The former Portsmouth midfielder played the ball backwards and into the path of Grant who advanced towards goal before driving low into the bottom left corner.

The hosts then went close in the 31st minute through Jason Kerr, but the defender’s header just cleared the angle of post and crossbar.

The visitors thought they had scored just before half-time but the linesman flagged Grady Diangana’s finish offside.

Latics would’ve been ahead at the interval if it wasn’t for Naylor’s out of character mistake.

Early in the second half, the visitors threatened when substitute Darnell Furlong’s cross to the far post found Conor Townsend, but the defender’s effort flew wide of the post.

Latics had an opportunity to restore their lead in the 61st minute through James McClean. Graeme Shinnie won the ball in midfield before finding Naylor on the right whose cross found McClean at the far post but the winger’s header was narrowly wide of the target.

The next Latics chance came in the 87th minute when substitute Nathan Broadhead did extremely well to create the opportunity.

Broadhead attacked the Baggies defence evading several defenders before providing an excellent low cross into the six-yard box but despite substitute Charlie Wyke’s best efforts he couldn’t quite make the vital contact to win the game.

On another day Latics might’ve taken all three points but it was a creditable performance against experienced Championship opposition.

Improved display

This was a much improved performance after Saturday’s heavy defeat to Burnley.

From the kick off Latics were fiercely competitive and they had taken an early lead when Magennis impressively held off Ajayi to power home.

They were determined throughout and might’ve won the game if it was not for one mistake.

Latics had responded positively to last Saturday’s setback with a well earned point against a side who are expected to be near the top of the table at the end of the season.

Transfer window

Attention now turns to Thursday’s transfer deadline. Latics need to strengthen their depleted squad, pre-season departures and injuries to Jordan Cousins, Gwion Edwards and now captain Tendayi Darikwa, mean that more players will be needed as they look to consolidate in the Championship.

Post match comments

Speaking afterwards Richardson said,

“It was probably a fair result, I thought our lads took to the challenge really well and fair credit to them, they deserved their result.

To go in front (was pleasing), and then we had to contain certain areas, and mix and match a little bit from Saturday.

Both goalkeepers didn’t have much to do on the evening. People will talk about the manner of their goal, but it’s genuinely not a problem when lads make honest mistakes. Tom Naylor has been fantastic for us, and I’ll always live with genuine mistakes.

We know our challenges this year. Only 12 months ago, we came out of administration and had three players. 12 months later, we are now out of League One, meeting the likes of West Brom toe-to-toe, with international footballers within the team.

It’s our challenge and as a Football Club, we will relish it. We will educate ourselves, and football gives you a chance to bounce back from anything within 72 hours.”

Player ratings

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

 

Posted in Josh Magennis, Karlan Grant, Leam Richardson, West Bromwich Albion, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics given a lesson in finishing – Wigan Athletic 1 Burnley 5

Will Keane
Will Keane converted his spot-kick
  • Wigan Athletic slumped to their first defeat of the season when they were emphatically defeated 5-1 by Burnley.
  • The Clarets went ahead after 17 minutes when Jay Rodriguez finished from close range and they increased their lead when Josh Brownhill fired home on 27 minutes.
  • Latics reduced the deficit before the interval with Will Keane scoring from the spot after Callum Lang had been brought down by goalkeeper Arijanet Muric.
  • Southampton loanee Nathan Tella restored Burnley’s two goal advantage after half-time and in a crazy last five minutes of the game Brownbill and Samuel Bastien added further goals.
  • Latics drop to 20th in the table and Burnley move up to sixth.

Leam Richardson made two changes from the victory at Birmingham City, with Curtis Tilt and Graeme Shinnie replacing Joe Bennett and Josh Magennis in the starting XI.

Burnley created the first opportunity of the match when the Brazilian Vitinho fired a dangerous ball across Latics’ six-yard box.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 17th minute. Vitinho crossed from the left-hand side and Johann Berg Gudmundsson kept the ball alive and after a scramble, the loose ball fell to Jay Rodriguez who reacted quickest to fire into the net.

Latics looked to respond quickly and two minutes later James McClean crossed into the six-yard box and Jason Kerr powered his header over Muric’s crossbar.

Keane and Max Power both threatened from range in the 25th minute. Keane saw his initial effort blocked into the path of Power whose drive flew over the crossbar.

But it was the visitors who added to their lead on 27 minutes. Vintinho found Brownhill arriving late into the box and he fired high into the net.

Latics gained a foothold in the game in the 41st minute. Lang chased down a long ball and Muric came flying off his line and clattered into the striker and referee James Bell awarded a penalty.

Keane dispatched his spot kick centrally and via Muric into the net.

2-1 to the visitors at half-time.

Latics created an early opportunity in the second half. McClean burst down the left and played the ball into the path of Shinnie whose blocked effort rebounded to Keane but unfortunately he lifted his strike over the bar.

The miss proved crucial as soon afterwards Latics were punished. Brownhill picked up a loose ball in midfield and played through Tella, who may have been marginally offside, but he curled his strike into the bottom right corner.

Latics continued to try to find a way back into the game. In the 65th minute Shinnie played in Lang down the left, but a block from a Clarets defender saw his strike deflect to Keane in an offside position.

Latics captain Tendayi Darikwa suffered a shoulder injury after a collision in the 69th minute and had to be replaced by substitute Ryan Nyambe.

In an attempt to get back in the game Richardson made a triple change introducing Nathan Broadhead, Josh Magennis and Thelo Aasgaard in place of Shinnie, Tilt and Keane in the 72nd minute.

Moment’s later Magennis drew an excellent save from Muric. Lang found space on the right and crossed to Magennis at the far post whose powerful header was pushed over the bar by Muric.

As the game moved towards the final whistle Latics continued to press but they were caught out by two quickfire counterattacks.

The Clarets added a fourth goal in the 86th minute when Brownhill turned Kerr inside the box, before firing past Jones at his near post.

Only a minute later Bastien added a fifth, when he fired across goal and into the bottom right-hand corner.

It was a convincing performance by Vincent Kompany’s team who are one of the favourites for automatic promotion.

Latics’ undefeated start had come to an end in brutal fashion.

Step up in quality

Burnley’s finishing had been clinical. They had had only eight shots on target and scored five goals. Latics had 18 shots and had only scored one from the penalty spot.

The step up in quality had been noticeable but it was perhaps inevitable given the two teams had been in the Premier League and League One last season.

The Championship is a fiercely competitive division and Latics will need to learn quickly from their mistakes as the challenges come quickly with West Brom at the DW on Tuesday night.

Reinforcements

The transfer window closes on Thursday and I’m expecting some reinforcements before the deadline.

Another goalkeeper, defender and midfielder should be on Richardson’s wish list as the club looks to establish themselves in the Championship.

Post match comments

Speaking afterwards Richardson said,

“The scoreline is tough. Within the reflection of the game, I don’t think we started the game particularly well. We probably weren’t ourselves for long enough in the game. I thought we finished the first half really strong, and in the main, probably shaded the first half in terms of chances created.

Coming out after half-time, I thought we started really well and missed a really big chance. They went up the other end and scored an offside goal which hurt us a little bit.

Collectively, we will take our defeat together. I will take the responsibility for the last couple of goals because with where we’ve been and the momentum we’ve got, we thought we would chase it and make it uncomfortable.

There were two divisions between us not so long ago, but it’s something that we will reflect on and something we won’t get too high on or too low. Within 72 hours, we’ve got another big challenge, and it’s important we meet that head-on.

Whether the scoreline reflects the game, we’ve taken a loss today. We will take it on the chin, be respectful and congratulate Burnley.

It’s up to us to be better in adversity. You learn a lot about yourself as we certainly know but moving forward, we will continue to make small steps and continue to be the best versions of ourselves. We will certainly learn from today.

Around the corner is a really good challenge, and we will look forward to it. We will approach it in the best way possible. We’ve got to hold our heads up and get our chests out because it’s never an easy one to take when you lose.”

Player ratings

Player ratings courtesy of WhoScored.com

Posted in Burnley, Championship, Jay Rodrigues, Josh Brownhill, Leam Richardson, Nathan Tella, Samuel Bastien, Wigan Athletic, Will Keane | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richardson building something very special – Birmingham City 0 Wigan Athletic 1

Leam Richardson photograph by Bernard Platt
  • Wigan Athletic produced one of their best ever Championship away performances with a heroic 1-0 victory at St Andrew’s.
  • Latics were harshly reduced to ten-men after only 10 minutes when Joe Bennett was adjudged to have brought down Lukas Jutkiewicz.
  • But Leam Richardson’s team were resolute throughout, restricted Birmingham to very few chances and created good opportunities themselves.
  • On 82 minutes substitute Charlie Wyke returning to the side after suffering from a cardiac arrest combined with fellow substitute Nathan Broadhead and the Everton loanee finished clinically into the bottom corner.
  • Latics held out in the remaining minutes and recorded their first victory of the season and remain unbeaten after four games.
  • Wigan move up to 14th place in the Championship table and Birmingham are 18th.

Richardson made one change from last week’s draw with Bristol City with goalkeeper Jamie Jones replacing the injured Ben Amos.

Early on Przemyslaw Placheta tried his luck from the edge of the area, but his rising effort was didn’t trouble Jones in the Latics goal.

Latics were wrongly reduced to ten-men in the 10th minute when Bennett was harshly adjudged to have brought down Jutkiewicz as he was running through on goal.

The visitors had to reshuffle the defence with McClean filling in at left back.

Juninho Bacuna’s resulting free-kick, was fortunately for Latics, fired just wide of the left-hand post.

The Blues then had a big chance when the ball was pulled back from the right-hand side to Scott Hogan, but Jack Whatmough did superbly to make a crucial block.

Latics then went close when James McClean’s corner was headed back across goal by Jason Kerr and it fell to Tom Naylor on the edge of the box and his volleyed effort went narrowly wide of the target.

Latics started the second half strongly and they were gifted a real goal-scoring opportunity when a loose pass out of the Blues defence allowed Callum Lang to drive into the penalty area, but the forward was unable to capitalise on the opportunity.

The Blues came close when a cross-field pass fell to Bacuna but Jason Kerr diverted his low shot behind for a corner.

Jutkiewicz then managed to get on the end of a cross from Maxime Colin, but his header was comfortably saved by Jones.

Latics threatened when Max Power’s low angled drive tested John Ruddy at his near post.

The Blues then threatened in the 81st minute through former Latics striker Sam Cosgrove, but Jones saved brilliantly pushing the strike around the post.

Moments later Latics were ahead as substitutes Wyke and Broadhead combined superbly.

Wyke held the ball up before sending through the Everton loanee, and he drove forward before producing a clinical finish into the bottom corner.

Birmingham pushed players forward as they attempted to try and draw level.

But Latics defence was determined not to be breached and they deservedly held out.

Despite playing for most of the game with ten-men and several of the players suffering from cramp they had earned a magnificent first three points of the season.

After going down to ten-men Latics had defended superbly and threatened on the break. They had worked tirelessly, putting their bodies on the line.

When Wyke came on there was one of the loudest ever cheers by the away fans.

His hold up play was excellent with some terrific touches and he brilliantly set up Broadhead for the winner.

This was an all round team effort and the players deserve great credit for their tenacious victory at St Andrew’s.

Building something very special

Richardson has marshalled his troops superbly since taking over as manager.

He has guided the club through a traumatic period of administration, won the League One title in his first full season and is now establishing Latics as a force in the Championship.

He has made some very astute signings and has instilled a fantastic team spirit within the club.

He is a superb figurehead for the club and is loved by the supporters.

With the continued financial backing of Phoenix 2021, Richardson could be on the verge of creating something very special at Wigan Athletic.

Post match comments

Reflecting afterwards Richardson said:

“I thought the output the lads gave today [was fantastic]; everybody who went onto the pitch, with the information that they had to carry out to go and get that victory, I thought they represented themselves terrifically well and deserved the win.

“It wasn’t [an ideal start]; and I’d rather not comment on refereeing decisions because they have a lot of moving parts, some they get right, some they get wrong.

I’d rather be positive and look at Charlie Wyke coming back on the pitch, Jamie Jones with a clean sheet, Nathan Broadhead’s first goal, the lads carrying the job out terrifically well and the captain setting the example around the pitch. The distance covered by the team collectively was fantastic.

“I think we prepared as well as we could this week and within the change and the sending off, I still felt we could control large parts of the game in certain areas and we could control large parts of the game out of possession as well and we were comfortable with that at times, although we had to be respectful of the quality of player that was on the pitch because they had a lot of Premier League and Championship experience on the pitch.”

On Wyke, who made his first competitive appearance for Latics after suffering a cardiac arrest nine months ago,

Richardson added:

“You know my thoughts on the person – nevermind the footballer – and I know how hard he has worked from nine months ago to get back in training and get back on the pitch. There was never going to be anybody who could stop him.

“All I had to do was support him and give him that platform to do that – I thought his touch was fantastic so he has obviously been doing something while he’s been away! His assist was great as well.”

Player ratings

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Posted in Birmingham City, Championship, Charlie Wyke, Leam Richardson, Nathan Broadhead, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics fast becoming draw specialists – Wigan Athletic 1 Bristol City 1

Will Keane
Will Keane grabbed the equaliser
  • Wigan Athletic recorded their third consecutive Championship draw when they were held at home by Bristol City.
  • The visitors went ahead through Andreas Weimann after only six minutes.
  • Latics equalised midway through the second half when Will Keane followed up after a goalmouth scramble.
  • There were chances for both sides to take all three points, Tommy Conway and Nakhi Wells going close for City and Callum Lang and James McClean for Latics, but the points had to be shared.
  • Latics move up to 15th in the Championship table and Bristol City remain second bottom.

Leam Richardson made one change to the starting XI from the draw with Norwich City with Jack Whatmough replacing Curtis Tilt in defence.

The visitors shocked the home crowd and took an early lead. They won the ball in midfield and Conway crossed low from the left for Weimann who lifted his strike over Ben Amos and into the corner of the net.

Joe Bennett was a little lucky to stay on the pitch after he kicked out at former Latic Joe Williams but he only received a yellow card.

Latics first good opportunity came around 27 minutes when Max Power’s curled free kick found Josh Magennis at the far post, but his header was down into the turf and bounced over Bentley’s crossbar.

Latics searched for a way back into the game and Bennett’s dangerous cross into the six-yard box nearly found Magennis for a tap in.

City then had an opportunity in the 42nd minute, Mark Sykes incisive pass found Conway who from close range fired into the side netting.

Latics responded and McClean played an inch-perfect pass to Magennis who did well to bring the ball down and move to one-on-one with Bentley but his scuffed shot went narrowly wide of the post with Lang desperately trying to make contact at the far post.

Latics trailed 1-0 at half-time but there were positive signs from the hosts for the second half.

Goalkeeper Amos had to be withdrawn due to injury in the 53rd minute and Jamie Jones replaced him between the sticks.

Latics next chance came in the 58th minute when McClean’s deep cross found Whatmough but his header across the six-yard box was beyond his teammates and City survived.

The hosts were now dominating possession and they deservedly drew level in the 62nd minute.

Power’s corner caused panic in the City six-yard box and after a goalmouth scramble ‘The King of the Six-yard Box’ Will Keane calmly slotted the ball past Bentley and the defenders on the line.

City almost immediately responded and Sykes’ deep cross found Conway free in the six-yard box, but his header was luckily for Latics, narrowly wide of Jones’ post.

Both sides had opportunities to claim the three points in the remaining minutes.

Keane got on the end of a Power free-kick but was unable to keep the ball down.

In the 80th minute, Lang forced an excellent save from Bentley with the goalkeeper doing well to push his strike wide of the near post after Power had superbly played him in behind the City defence.

City threatened on the counter-attack and in the 89th minute, substitute Aasgaard came to Latics’ rescue by preventing Wells from grabbing all three points for the visitors.

Latics did threaten in the dying moments with McClean firing over but they had to settle for a point on the day.

Leam Richardson’s team are fast becoming the draw specialists in the Championship after three opening fixtures.

They have already shown that they will be competitive in the new division.

The performances have been hard working, they have shown good organisation and in defensive areas they have been resolute.

But having created good chances in all the games so far they will be looking to be more clinical with their finishing in their forthcoming fixtures.

The loan signings of forwards Nathan Broadhead and Ashley Fletcher should help with this and they could be the difference between the club fighting in the top half, or bottom half of the Championship.

I’m expecting more reinforcements in defence and midfield before the transfer deadline but the omens are already looking good for the rest of the season.

Post match comments.

Speaking to the media afterwards Richardson was pleased by the manner in which his side responded after falling behind, in addition to their desire to go on and win the game.

“It was pleasing in the main,” he said.

“I thought we started the game terrifically well, and after the first imbalance to our side, we went 1-0 down.

“To respond the way we did – especially at the end of the first half and continued into the second – and have the impetus to go on and win the game (was a huge positive).

“To come back from behind and get a result is very pleasing.”

Latics are unbeaten after three games in the Championship.

Richardson expressed that it will be the case of more of the same in the coming weeks, as his side aim to keep their habits strong and continue to accumulate points on the table.

“We’ve come back from pre-season, and we’re unbeaten so you look at all the positives. If we keep working hard as we do, and we keep being diligent and getting our job spec. correct, we will find our areas and create those chances like we have been doing.

“For me, it’s more of the same, more hard work. I think the most pleasing thing today is the clock didn’t dictate what we were doing with our impetus to go and win the game.

“We’ve got to learn as people and as a team to make sure our habits stay strong. We’ll do that by scoring those goals, getting in those areas and taking those chances.”

Player ratings

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Posted in Andreas Weimann, Bristol City, Leam Richardson, Wigan Athletic, Will Keane | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics confidence booster at Carrow Road – Norwich City 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Fireworks at Carrow Road

  • Wigan Athletic gained a confidence boosting point at recently relegated from the Premier League Norwich City.
  • Latics were under the cosh in the opening 20 minutes but went ahead when James McClean slotted past Tim Krul in the 29th minute.
  • In a pulsating second half the Canaries drew level when Max Aaron’s fired home in the 62nd minute.
  • Teemu Pukki hit the crossbar late on for the hosts but Latics defended the remaining minutes resolutely and hung on for a deserved point.
  • Latics remain unbeaten after two draws in the Championship and are 15th in the table. Norwich are in 21st place.

Leam Richardson made one change from last weekend’s game against Preston North End, with Jason Kerr coming into the starting line-up for the injured Jack Whatmough. 

Norwich started confidently and Latics were quickly pushed back into defence.

Dimitris Giannoulis hit a volley towards goal from just outside the penalty area, but his effort flew over the crossbar.

The hosts continued their energetic opening and Pukki nearly opened the scoring when he fired his snapshot just wide of the post.

The visitors couldn’t get out of defence and Curtis Tilt did well to divert Milot Rashica’s goal-bound effort off the line after the forward had lifted the ball over the onrushing Ben Amos.

Latics gradually found their feet and grew into the game after the first 20 minutes.

They had their first opportunity to take the lead in the 22nd minute when Will Keane found Callum Lang inside the area but the striker was denied by an excellent close range save from Tim Krul.

The Canaries Jacob Sorenson then fired an effort from 18 yards out which seemed to surprise Amos, and soon afterwards Marcelino Nunez curled an effort narrowly wide of Amos’ right hand post.

Latics shocked the home crowd five minutes later when they took the lead through McClean. Keane capitalised on a mistake, before sliding the ball across to the unmarked McClean and the Republic of Ireland international made no mistake by calmly slotting the ball past Krul.

In a highly competitive game Latics were holding their own against recent Premier League opposition and the hosts were getting increasingly frustrated.

Very early in the second half a low drive from Rashica forced a full length save from keeper Amos. 

Latics almost added to their lead in the 48th minute when Josh Magennis burst forward exchanging passes with Keane before firing a low drive at the near post but Krul pushed the ball away with his legs.

An injury to Giannoulis, after a collision with Lang, caused a long delay and immediately after the re-start the Canaries levelled the scores through Aarons. The full back’s low finish was close to Amos and might’ve been saved by the keeper on another day but it was not to be.

The Canaries now boosted by the equaliser pushed forward and Pukki flicked Sam McCallum’s left-sided cross towards goal, but Amos was able to save the improvised effort.

With eight minutes of normal time remaining Pukki, thought he’d won it for the hosts when his right footed shot from outside the box crashed against the crossbar, before falling to substitute Josh Sargent who saw his follow-up saved by Amos. 

The referee signalled 10 minutes of added time and Latics’ supporters feared the worst but with some resolute and accomplished defending they held out for a confidence boosting Championship point on the road.

Despite the absence of last season’s player of the year Jack Whatmough, central defenders Curtis Tilt and Jason Kerr had been excellent and the team overall had defended well as a unit while posing a threat on the break. 

After two consecutive draws against good quality Championship opposition Latics have made a promising start to their campaign. The prospects for the season are looking good but if they can manage to add a little more quality and depth to the squad before the transfer deadline it could be a very good season ahead.

Post match comments

Richardson praised his side’s performance afterwards.

“It was very resilient, hard-working, and hard-fought,” he said.

“It took us 15-20 minutes to adapt to their shape, and the pace of the game but once we got the distances, we were resilient in what we are doing and could always catch them on the counter.

“Before the goal, we should’ve scored but we grew in belief within the game as well. You’ve got to run to match the quality of the player – and with the five substitutes coming on, some teams are finishing with a stronger team than what they started with.

“That’s the challenge we’ve got to accept and embrace, and these lads aren’t half accepting the challenge. 

“We’ve got to get that belief and education through the week to be better and repeat that Saturday/Tuesday. It’s going to be a tough ask but these lads have certainly got the mindset and acceptance to take it in.”

A large contingent of Latics supporters made the long trip to get behind the lads at Carrow Road, and Richardson was delighted that his side’s performance will send them home in good spirits.

“The energy levels that we needed to finish that game had to come from the stands,” he said

“It was huge (to have their influence). We wish them well travelling back home and it’s some ask and shift to get there for a 12:30pm kick-off.

“I’m glad we can send them home in good sprints, fall on the right side of the result, and make them have a good weekend.”

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Posted in James McClean, Leam Richardson, Max Aarons, Norwich City, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment