Crazy three minutes sinks battling Latics – Peterborough United 2 Wigan Athletic 1

Thelo Aasgaard scored his first goal for Latics first team

Thelo Aasgaard scored direct from a corner

With seven minutes of normal time remaining Latics were 1-0 up against league leaders Peterborough through Thelo Aasgaard’s goal direct from a corner and were looking good value for their lead.

But just when it looked like they would move out of the relegation zone they pressed the self-destruct button in a crazy three minute spell, first allowing Posh to draw level from a Jonson Clarke-Harris header before Tendayi Darikwa gave away an unnecessary penalty and Clarke-Harris converted the spot-kick.

Latics drop a place to 23rd and are now effectively two points from safety due to an inferior goal difference. Peterborough move four points clear of second placed Lincoln City at the top of the table.

Leam Richardson made two changes from the team which defeated Bristol Rovers on Tuesday with Gavin Massey and Dan Gardner replacing Thelo Aasgaard and Will Keane in the starting eleven.

On a difficult pitch the league leaders started brightly and Siriki Dembele fired wide of the target in the second minute.

Both teams were showing good attacking intent in the opening minutes with Latics getting plenty of players forward.

The hosts might have been reduced to ten-men on 12 minutes when Posh captain Mark Beevers’ two-footed challenge on Viv Solomon-Otabor was deemed not to be a red card offence by referee Thomas Bramall.

Joe Dodoo went close for Latics soon afterwards when Gardner’s free kick flicked off a Posh defender before the Ghanaian striker crashed his header against the post from eight-yards out.

Massey then went close for the visitors on 26 minutes as Christy Pym saved bravely at close range to deny him when he looked odds on to score.

Ward curled a free kick narrowly wide at the other end as the hosts tried to assert themselves. But Latics were pressing high and denying Posh their usual time on the ball.

Solomon-Otabor got to the byeline and crossed on 35 minutes and although Curtis Tilt was in a good position his header was wayward.

Dodoo then had a driving run towards goal on 36 minutes but the striker was well tackled by Nathan Thompson as he was about to shoot.

No more chances before the interval but Latics had matched the league leaders and had created the better chances in the first half.

Peterborough started the second half on the front foot and looked to improve on their first half display but Latics handled the pressure well and limited the hosts to half chances. Clarke-Harris headed wide on 52 minutes and Jamie Jones saved well from Dembele.

But Latics gradually got themselves back into the game and created several goalscoring opportunities. The hardworking Callum Lang forced a good save from Pym low down to his right on 59 minutes and two minutes later Solomon-Otabor’s left footed shot from the right was well saved by the Peterborough keeper.

On 71 minutes Massey cut inside the box and his right foot shot nearly found the bottom corner but Pym once again did well to turn it around the post.

Substitute Thelo Aasgaard gave Latics the lead soon after coming onto the field. The Norwegian midfielder produced a superb in-swinging corner which flew past Pym into the far corner of the net. A great piece of skill by the young academy graduate.

It looked like Latics would go on to secure the three points that would take them out of the relegation zone but on 82 minutes disaster struck as substitute Harrison Burrows was allowed time and space to cross from the left and Clarke-Harris headed home from inside the six-yard box.

Two minutes later and Dembele jinked his way into the box past Darikwa and the Zimbabwe international made a very risky challenge from behind, referee Bramall deliberated for a second before pointing to the penalty spot.

Clarke-Harris stepped up and sent Jones the wrong way from the spot kick.

George Johnston and Will Keane replaced Massey and Solomon-Otabor as Richardson pushed players forward.

Dembele showed some embarrassing play-acting while Darikwa was trying to take a free kick and was later yellow carded when complaining to the referee.

In five minutes of added time Latics went in search of what would have been a deserved equaliser and Dodoo’s strike nearly found the top corner but Pym made a vital save and Posh held out.

It was a hard blow to take after Latics who had matched their in-form opponents and had more shots on target than their normally prolific hosts, but they continue to make crucial defensive mistakes which is hampering their progress away from the relegation zone. If they can cut out the mistakes they surely have a fighting chance of survival.

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Jonson Clarke-Harris, League One, Peterborough United, Thelo Aasgaard, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Wild is the wind but Latics never say die – Bristol Rovers 1 Wigan Athletic 2

Scott Wootton

Scott Wootton volleyed home the late winner

Scott Wootton scored a 95th minute winner as Wigan Athletic defeated Bristol Rovers 2-1 to keep their League One survival hopes alive.

In extremely difficult windy conditions both teams struggled for any cohesion but Latics went ahead on 51 minutes. Viv Solomon-Otabor’s cross from the left was flicked on by Will Keane at the near post and Callum Lang headed home inside the six-yard box.

With the wind at their backs the Gas pushed forward for the equaliser and were rewarded on 69 minutes when Luke McCormick turned away from Wootton and Curtis Tilt inside the box before placing his shot into the bottom right corner.

The hosts now pressed forward for the goal which might pull them away from the relegation zone but Latics held out and in the last minute of added time Thelo Aaasgaard’s floated free kick found Wootton at the near post and the centre-half finished into the bottom left corner of the net.

Latics move up a place to 22nd while Rovers drop to 21st with both teams one point from safety.

Leam Richardson’s injury problems continued prior to the game with Chris Merrie and Jamie Proctor both unavailable, Joe Dodoo and Will Kane were their replacements in the starting eleven.

Bristol Rovers new managerial appointment Joey Barton took charge for the first time at the Memorial Ground.

The hosts made a brisk opening and had an early chance when Brandon Hanlan headed wide of the target and Jamie Jones tipped over another header from Alex Rodman following a corner soon afterwards.

Keane pulled his shot wide of the target at the other end but it was becoming clear that the wild wind would have a significant impact on the game. The swirling and unpredictable wind was making it difficult to judge passes, headers and set pieces. Some passes were overhit and others held up deceptively at the last moment.

McCormick fired over the crossbar from 20 yards on 38 minutes and Luke Robinson was denied by an excellent Rodman tackle before the interval.

Latics were against the wind in the second half and Rovers won an early free kick in a central position 25-yards out but Luke Leahy’s strike crashed against the Latics wall and the ball was cleared.

Some neat play down the left hand side put Latics in front on 51 minutes, full back Robinson combined well with Solomon-Otabor who crossed and Keane flicked the ball on at the near post before Lang headed his fifth goal of the season from close range.

This prompted the Gas to push forward with increased urgency. Latics survived a scare when Tilt failed to cut out a cross from the right on 68 minutes but fortunately no Rovers player could capitalise.

But a minute later as Wootton and Tilt both retreated, McCormick was allowed to turn in the box before placing his shot past Jones and into the bottom right corner.

The Gas were in the ascendancy now with the wind at their backs and Latics retreating further into defence.

George Johnston and Gavin Massey replaced Keane and Solomon-Otabor on 80 minutes as Latics changed formation to a back three of Johnston, Wootton and Tilt.

Sam Nicholson had a chance to put the Gas ahead on 85 minutes with a shot from inside the box but only found the side netting.

Substitute Jonah Ayunga volleyed over a difficult opportunity in the 90th minute and a minute later his low drive from the left hand side of the box was well saved by Jones low down at his near post.

In Latics’ final attack in the 95th minute they secured the vital winner. Aasgaard’s floated free kick from the left found Wootton at the near post and the Plymouth loanee finished superbly into the bottom left corner, much to the pleasure of Latics’ players and coaching staff who celebrated wildly.

Latics never say die attitude enabled them to achieve an important victory in their battle for League One survival. They had ridden their luck a little but they haven’t had much luck recently so they probably deserved some.

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Bristol Rovers, Callum Lang, League One, Luke McCormick, Scott Wootton, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics edged out by league leaders – Wigan Athletic 1 Lincoln City 2

Callum Lang’s wonder strike put Latics ahead

Wigan Athletic produced a much improved performance against League One leaders Lincoln City but ultimately slipped to another damaging defeat.

In an evenly fought encounter Latics took the lead on 33 minutes with Callum Lang’s wonder strike found the top right corner from 30-yards out.

But within a minute the Imps were level as keeper Jamie Jones collided with Luke Robinson and Anthony Scully bundled the ball home from close range.

Tom Hopper had a great chance to put the visitors ahead on 57 minutes when he headed into the side-netting from close range following a corner, but the striker later produced a fine finish on 73 minutes when he turned Curtis Tilt before curling his shot past Jones.

The hosts had plenty of chances to draw level but Jamie Proctor fired over, Lang headed over the angle and Will Keane poked narrowly wide from close range as they just couldn’t find the equaliser.

Latics remain second bottom in the table but are now four points from safety, while Lincoln retain top spot and are one point ahead of Peterborough. 

Leam Richardson made three changes to the team defeated by Hull with Thelo Aasgaard, Callum Lang and Luke Robinson starting. League leaders Lincoln were looking to consolidate their lead at the top of the table and had only lost one of their last ten games.

It was a scrappy start to the game in windy conditions. Latics had the first opportunity on 10 minutes but Funso Ojo blazed his effort over the crossbar from the edge of the box.

The visitors had a great opportunity on 16 minutes when Regan Poole was given too much space down the right but he side-footed his shot narrowly wide from a good position inside the box.

Viv Soloman-Otabor fired straight at Alex Palmer when a shot to either side might’ve resulted in a goal on 21 minutes and Robinson’s shot was partially blocked on 28 minutes when a clear strike might’ve beaten Palmer.

Latics went ahead on 33 minutes with a superb piece of individual play by Lang, the striker drove forward before unleashing an unstoppable drive from 30-yards which flew into the top right corner.

But almost immediately the Imps were level as Latics shot themselves in the foot – Jones was unable to deal with a cross and collided with Robinson and as the ball fell free Scully bundled the ball home. 

Merrie blazed over the crossbar from 30-yards on 42 minutes and in the process seemed to damage his hamstring. He was subsequently withdrawn at half time and replaced by Gavin Massey.

Latics 4-3-3 formation continued to provide them with the hope of a victory. Solomon-Otabor produced a dangerous cross but Lang diving forward couldn’t quite make contact at the back post on 67 minutes.

Following a Latics attack Lincoln broke quickly and although the defence looked for offside Hooper was in the clear and although his run was initially checked by Tilt the striker turned the defender before curling his shot into the far corner. 

Will Keane replaced Solomon-Otabor on 81 minutes as Latics pressed for the equaliser. Aasgaard blazed a free kick high over the crossbar before Proctor did the same from a great central position 12 -yards out.

Latics were carving out plenty of chances now and from Massey’s cross Lang headed inches over the angle of post and crossbar. In five minutes of added time Keane sliced his volley from inside the box just over the bar and in the 95th minute he riddled his way into the box past two defenders but agonisingly poked the ball wide from close range. 

It just wasn’t to be for Latics who probably deserved at least a point for a much improved performance against the league leaders. Richardson and his players will be frustrated with the result but they will take heart from this performance going into the relegation six-pointer against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Anthony Scully, Callum Lang, League One, Lincoln City, Tom Hopper, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics mauled by Tigers – Wigan Athletic 0 Hull City 5

Mallik Wilks scored a hat-trick for the Tigers

Mallik Wilks scored an impressive hat-trick as Hull City outclassed Wigan Athletic in a 5-0 victory at the DW Stadium.

No Latics players remained from the team which defeated the Tigers 8-0 in the Championship in July and the ravages of administration were for all to see as the hosts suffered their third 5-0 home defeat of the season.

Wilks opened the scoring in the 27th minute with a fine turn inside the box before firing under Jamie Jones. The striker was quick to add a second five minutes later this time placing his shot from inside the box and into the bottom left corner.

Early in the second half Keane Lewis-Potter headed home from close range from a Wilks cross and with Latics defence in complete disarray Josh Magennis added a fourth with a left footed shot into the bottom right corner on 53 minutes.

Wilks completed his hat-trick on 64 minutes with a powerful drive into the bottom left corner from just outside the box.

Latics remain second bottom in the League One table and the Tigers move back into second place on goal difference.

Leam Richardson made three changes to his starting eleven from the defeat at Oxford United. Dan Gardner, Viv Solomon-Otabor and Jamie Proctor came in. Callum Lang who was injured at the weekend took a place on the bench. Hull who were looking to return to the promotion places had former Latics players, Callum Elder, Reece Burke and Jordan Flores in their squad.

Latics made a slow start and Greg Docherty’s deflected shot forced a save from Jones at his near post after just five minutes.

The hosts were struggling for any cohesion and it was not until the 24th minute before they had an attempt on goal. Solomon-Otabor jinking his way into the box before seeing his deflected shot find the side netting.

Three minutes later and the visitors were ahead as Wilks turned smartly and drove his strike under Jones from the angle of the six-yard box.

It was not long before the Tigers doubled their lead with both Curtis Tilt and Scott Wootton out of position Wilks was able to run forward past George Johnston before placing his shot into the bottom left corner.

Magennis had a great chance to add a third on the stroke of half time but he headed wide of the target from Docherty’s cross.

Early in the second half the points were sealed as Latics defence was easily outwitted by the dominant Tigers. Lewis-Potter heading home Wilks chipped cross to the back post as the hosts defence appealed for offside.

Latics’ players heads dropped and the prospect of an 8-0 reversal loomed large.

On 53 minutes Tilt hesitated and lost the ball just outside his own box and Magennis capitalised driving his shot from the left side of the six-yard box into the bottom right corner of the net.

Richardson made a triple substitution on 56 minutes with Callum Lang, Joe Dodoo and Luke Robinson replacing Will Keane, Gardner and Solomon-Otabor.

But the visitors continued to dominate proceedings and Elder forced a good save from Jones and Lewis-Potter headed wide from a good position.

Latics defence was unable to contain Wilks however, and the powerful striker completed his hat-trick with an accomplished finish into the bottom left corner on 64 minutes.

Zach Clough replaced Proctor on 70 minutes and Latics enjoyed a little more possession in the last 20 minutes but without posing much of a threat to the visitors goal.

It was only in the 90th minute that Latics tested the Tigers keeper Matt Ingram when Clough forced a good save.

5-0 to the Tigers at full time but it could so easily have been many more. Perhaps the only comfort for Latics’ fans was that the Tigers didn’t reach eight.

This was a desperately poor performance by Latics and the second half capitulation doesn’t augur well for their survival chances.

Richardson will find it very hard to rally his troops for Saturday’s fixture against League leaders Lincoln City. A massive improvement will be required if they are to get anything from the game.

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Hull City, Josh Magennis, Keane Lewis-Potter, League One, Mallik Wilks, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Defensive lapse proves costly for Latics – Oxford United 2 Wigan Athletic 1

Callum Lang gave Latics the lead

Wigan Athletic matched promotion-chasing Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium for most of this fixture but a late defensive lapse denied them the point which would have taken them out of the relegation zone.

22-year-old striker Callum Lang had given the visitors a 57th minute lead but a Sam Winnall header had drawn the hosts level on 72 minutes.

But with only seven minutes of normal time remaining Latics centre-backs Curtis Tilt and Scott Wootton both hesitated inside the six-yard box and Elliott Moore had an easy task to tap the ball over the goal line for the winner.

Latics remain in the relegation zone and one point from safety while Oxford move up to seventh spot one point outside the play-off zone.

Leam Richardson named an unchanged starting eleven following the 1-0 victory against Northampton Town.

In-form Oxford had won 10 of their last 11 games and will believe they can still secure an automatic promotion spot.

In a very windy conditions and on a hard pitch Latics started the game brightly.

But the first real chance of the game fell to Alex Rodriguez whose 25-yard dipping strike tested Jamie Jones on 14 minutes.

Latics got into some good crossing positions but Tendayi Darikwa failed to deliver the final ball into the danger zone.

Full back Luke Robinson blazed over the crossbar following a long throw by George Johnston and Robinson supplied Wootton at the near post with a good cross but the centre-half headed wide at the near post.

0-0 at half time after a relatively uneventful first half with neither team creating any real clear-cut chances.

The half time interval was a more eventful affair as the match was interrupted for nearly an hour when the stadium had to be evacuated for a floodlight fire.

It could have been a disruptive factor but neither team seemed overtly affected by the extended half time delay and the second half had more goalmouth action than the first.

Robert Atkinson was allowed to drive to the edge of Latics’ penalty box on 54 minutes and forced a good save from Jones.

Three minutes later Lang put Latics in front with a smart-turn-and-finish from inside box after good work by Thelo Aasgaard and Johnston.   

Curtis Tilt produced a great block to deny Winnall on 65 minutes as the hosts pressed for an equaliser.

But Winnall was not to be denied and from Brandon Barker’s pinpoint cross to the back post he headed  Oxford level.

The hosts were upping their game now and Jones did well to tip over Mark Sykes strike from 25-yards out.

Darikwa’s first-time strike just veered wide of the target on 78 minutes as Latics looked to re-assert themselves.

The hosts measured build-up play was starting to have an impact and they were now dictating the game.

But it was a defensive mistake which allowed Oxford to take the lead. An innocuous cross from Sykes looked like bread and butter stuff for Tilt and Wootton inside the six-yard box but both men hesitated and when the ball dropped centre-back Moore was allowed the easy task of tapping the ball over the line.

Viv Solomon-Otabor and Zach Clough replaced Will Keane and Johnston on 85 minutes as the visitors went in search of the equaliser but in the last minute of added time Solomon-Otabor’s low cross was easily cleared and Latics slipped to a disappointing defeat.

It was a frustrating result for Latics who had played so well for much of the game against in-form opposition. They have another tough game against second placed Hull City on Wednesday night and they will need to eradicate all such defensive lapses if their to get anything from the game.

Player ratings

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in Callum Lang, Elliott Moore, League One, Oxford United, Sam Winnall, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Latics edge basement battle – Northampton Town 0 Wigan Athletic 1

Callum Lang scored a vital winner

Wigan Athletic battled to their first win in seven matches with a narrow 1-0 victory at fellow strugglers Northampton Town.

In a dour encounter on a poor pitch neither team created many clear-cut chances, but it was the visitors who secured the win with the one moment of real quality during the 97 minutes.

In the 82nd minute Callum Lang shrugged-off two defenders and drove forward into the box before shooting low into the bottom right corner of the net.

The hosts rarely threatened keeper Jamie Jones throughout and Latics well-marshalled defence held out for a valuable three points in their quest for survival.

Latics move up to 21st place and our now only in the relegation zone on goal difference. The Cobblers drop to 23rd spot on goal difference.

Leam Richardson made three changes to his starting eleven from the defeat against AFC Wimbledon. Full back Tom Pearce was injured, striker Jamie Proctor was self isolating and midfielder Dan Gardner dropped to the bench.

On a very cold night on a difficult pitch Latics had an early chance when Will Keane escaped his marker and his shot from close range was initially saved by Jonathan Mitchell, the ball rebounded to Thelo Aasgaard who seemed odds on to score but his strike hit Lang and Northampton escaped.

Both teams struggled for any cohesion and long hopeful balls forward became the norm. The Cobblers had their first chance on the half hour mark when Peter Kioso blazed over the crossbar following a corner.

Apart from those chances the most interesting period came when there was a prolonged game of head tennis in midfield as both teams failed to get the ball down and play football.

0-0 at half-time with neither team looking likely to score unless there was a significant improvement.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first with neither team finding any cohesion on the bumpy pitch. Latics delivery from set-pieces was once again found wanting and it is something on which they must improve.

However Latics’ defence was looking more solid than in recent games with Curtis Tilt dominating the back line alongside George Johnson and Scott Wootton.

Just when it looked like neither team would create a decent goalscoring opportunity, Lang stepped forward.

The well-travelled striker shrugged-off two defenders and drove into the box before shooting powerfully into the bottom right corner. A moment of class in what had been a poor game.

Keane had a half chance a couple of minutes later but he couldn’t control the ball on the edge of the area and the opportunity went begging.

Northampton took off their captain and centre-back Cian Bolger and replaced him with striker Caleb Chukwuemeka in an attempt to get something from the game but despite seven minutes of added time Latics held on for a vital victory.

After three consecutive defeats this was an essential three points in their relegation fight. This was an improved performance by Latics but it was against a poor Northampton team.

Unfortunately they will face much sterner opposition in the coming weeks against in-form Oxford United, Hull City and Lincoln City.

Player ratings

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

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Latics’ erratic display pushes them further into trouble – Wigan Athletic 2 AFC Wimbledon 3

Jamie Proctor scored on his debut

In a game of two halves Wigan Athletic were edged out by fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon at the DW Stadium.

The visitors dominated the first half and went ahead on 22 minutes when Nesta Guinness-Walker got to the byeline and pulled the ball back to Jack Rudoni who flicked the ball home from very close range.

The Dons doubled their lead on the half hour mark as Latics defence appealed for offside, Joe Pigott calmly collected Will Nightingale’s through ball and finished past Jamie Jones.

Latics got a lifeline just before half time as Curtis Tilt headed home from very close range to reduce the deficit.

The second half was a different story as Latics upped their game and pushed Wimbledon into defence. The hosts drew level on 68 minutes when Tom Pearce’s free kick was deflected into the path of Jamie Proctor who rifled the ball into the bottom left corner.

With Latics the dominant outfit they succumbed to a sucker punch on 75 minutes when with the Wimbledon attack seemingly going nowhere the ball was cleverly back heeled by Rudoni, Jones was slow to respond and brought down Ethan Chislett for a penalty. Pigott stepped up and calmly converted the spot kick.

Despite a late Latics onslaught Wimbledon held on the secure an important three points in the relegation battle.

Latics remain second bottom and four points from safety while AFC Wimbledon move up to 19th place and one point above the drop zone.

Leam Richardson made one change to his starting eleven from the defeat against Swindon with Jamie Proctor making his debut in place of Zach Clough. Viv Soloman-Otabor took his place on the bench after returning from injury.

Despite being on an 11 game winless run the visitors asserted themselves with a high press which denied Latics time on the ball.

Latics struggled to get into the game and Wimbledon looked the most likely to go ahead. Callum Reilly went close for the visitors when his shot was deflected narrowly wide on 14 minutes.

The hosts were denied a penalty on 21 minutes when Pearce was barged over in the box but referee Andy Haines waved away Latics’ appeals.

A minute later and the Dons were ahead as Guinness-Walker got to the bye line and pulled the ball back to Rudoni who flicked the ball home from very close range.

Chislett might’ve have added to their lead moments later when he nutmegged Pearce near the byeline before crashing his shot against the crossbar.

Three minutes later the visitors did increase their lead when Nightingale’s pass found Pigott in yards of space and he ran through unchallenged before slotting the ball past Jones.

Latics had been very poor for most of the half but they did improve just before half time. Darikwa’s shot was deflected narrowly wide on 42 minutes and four minutes later Tilt headed home from close range following a corner.

The hosts were much brighter in the second half and played with more vigour and determination.

Scott Wootton headed narrowly wide of the near post from Pearce’s corner and Proctor’s header was deflected wide by Nightingale soon afterwards.

The former Rotherham striker then had a great chance to draw Latics level but he blazed wide of the target after good work by Chris Merrie.

At the other end Jones saved well low down to his right from Rudoni’s strike.

But Latics were in the ascendancy now and drew level on 68 minutes when Pearce’s free kick was deflected into the path of Proctor who rifled the ball into the bottom left corner.

It looked like Latics might now go on to win the game but some sloppy defending allowed Wimbledon to restore their lead nine minutes later.

Rudoni chased down a ball that looked to be going out of play before back heeling into the penalty area and Jones was slow to respond and brought down Chislett for a penalty. Wimbledon’s leading scorer Pigott stepped up and calmly converted the spot kick.

Latics pressed for the equaliser and created several good chances in the seven minutes of added time.

Proctor headed narrowly wide of the top corner from Pearce’s free kick, Lang fired just wide after a good turn in the area and Tilt’s looped header from another Pearce cross was saved by Walker.

But Wimbledon held on for the points and Latics slipped to their third consecutive defeat.

It had been an erratic display by Latics. A woefully poor first half performance followed by a much improved second half but once again some terrible defending had proved costly.

Richardson will be left extremely frustrated by this performance against a team who had not won in 11 games.

Credit to Wimbledon for a good first half performance but Latics didn’t start to play until they were two goals behind.

Latics are a team in transition due to administration and new players coming into the team but all three goals could’ve been avoided with better defending. They are their own worst enemy at the moment and they must tighten up defensively if they are to have any chance of staying up.

On a more positive note when they started to play in the second half they looked much more of a goal threat with Proctor scoring on his debut and they created many more chances than in recent games.

Player ratings

Player ratings courtesy of Whoscored.com

Posted in AFC Wimbledon, Curtis Tilt, Jack Rudoni, Jamie Proctor, Joe Pigott, League One, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Out of the Darkness: From Top to Rock Bottom: My Story in Football by Matt Piper

Out of the Darkness by Matt Piper

Matt Piper’s autobiography is a tale of the rise, fall and redemption of a professional footballer. Piper was a rising star at Leicester City and Sunderland but his career was prematurely cut short by a succession of injuries and he had to retire at the age of 24.

‘Out of the Darkness’ tells the story of what happens when the dreams of being a top professional footballer turns sour and when deep depression descends post football.

Piper alongside co-writer Joe Brewin is an honest and forthright author who opens up about his mistakes, his alcoholism, drug taking and criminal behaviours and a near death experience. 

Matt Piper tells his story without too much embellishment, recounting life as a young starlet rising through the ranks with tales of pranks, high jinks and misdemeanours at Leicester and Sunderland with the managers and characters he encounters.  

He suffers from multiple injury problems, with 16 knee operations before he has to retire. He has Lax ligaments, an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear, a Hernia and even an inflamed testicle at one point. 

Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy once said that Piper was the fittest injured player, he’d ever seen but he also said with dark humour, “F**k me – if you were a horse you’d have been shot by now.” 

When he decides to retire it comes as a pure relief. “My knees have been a mess since I was 16-years-old – by the end, I’d lost count of the operations, injections, physio sessions, and consultations, the constant rehab that seemed never-ending. Twenty years of development for 55 professional games over five years.”

After his retirement his life spirals downwards into depression, alcoholism and Valium addiction. He reaches rock bottom, “Breaking down in front of your Boss, your brother calling you an embarrassment, your Mum crying in your living room every day.”

He suffers a near death experience and is admitted into the Sporting Chance clinic for rehab. Eventually he fights off his demons and turns his life around setting up the FSD Academy to help others achieve their potential, working for Radio Leicester and producing his own podcast.  

It is ultimately a positive story of adapting to change when a professional footballer’s life goes desperately wrong and how he achieves redemption. This is a story that should be read by other professional footballers but it is also a universal story of how a desperate situation can be transformed for a better future.

Out of the Darkness: From Top to Rock Bottom: My Story in Football by Matt Piper. Published by Pitch Publishing. Price £19.99

This review first appeared in the February/March edition of Late Tackle magazine.

Posted in Book Reviews, Late Tackle magazine, Matt Piper, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Latics in dire straits – Swindon Town 1 Wigan Athletic 0

Leam Richardson

Leam Richardson will be very disappointed with his team’s performance.

Wigan Athletic tamely surrendered to Swindon Town in the League One basement battle at the County Ground.

The hosts went in front on 17 minutes when Jamie Jones spilled Tyler Smith’s header and Brett Pitman followed up to head home from close range.

The Robins had further chances to increase their lead when Hallam Hope drove his shot straight at Jones, Pitman headed narrowly wide of the post and Jordan Lyden’s strike was cleared off the line by Tom Pearce.

Swindon were reduced to ten-men on 65 minutes when last man Dion Conroy fouled Will Keane on the edge of the area but despite having the extra man Latics failed to register a shot on target on the night.

This was a desperately disheartening performance by Latics which leaves them three points from safety while Swindon move out of the relegation zone and up to 19th place.

After a hectic January transfer window Leam Richardson made four changes to his starting eleven from the defeat against Blackpool with new additions Funso Ojo and Scott Wootton making their debuts and Curtis Tilt returning on loan from Rotherham. Dan Gardner also returned to the team after only being named as a substitute against Blackpool.

In difficult wet and windy conditions neither team settled in the opening 15 minutes but Swindon went ahead on 17 minutes with their first real attack.

Former Latic loanee Matty Palmer’s cross into the box found the unmarked Smith whose header was spilled by Jones and the veteran striker Pitman followed up to head home from close range.

Latics struggled to respond and it was the hosts who looked most likely to go further ahead as Hope’s right footed shot from inside the box was saved by Jones, Pitman’s header went tantalisingly wide of the post and Lyden’s strike was cleared off the line by Pearce.

Pearce was once again one of the few Latics players to emerge with any credit as he defended solidly and posed a threat going forward.

Latics were given a lifeline on 65 minutes when Conroy was dismissed for a red card offence on Keane but the visitors failed to exploit the extra man advantage.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession but failed to pose any real threat to the Swindon goal.

Substitute Thelo Aasgaard did give Latics a little more vim when he replaced the ineffective Zach Clough on 58 minutes.

The young Norwegian midfielder did manage to break into the box on 74 minutes but his shot was well blocked by the Swindon defence.

Tilt was pushed forward in added time as Latics went in search of the equaliser but an equaliser would have been underserved after such a toothless and dispiriting performance.

Richardson will be extremely disappointed with his team’s performance against a relegation rival and he will require all his motivational and coaching skills to ensure his team improve significantly against fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon on Saturday and Northampton Town next Tuesday.

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Posted in Brett Pitman, League One, Leam Richardson, Swindon Town, Tom Pearce, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: British Football’s Greatest Grounds – One Hundred Must-See Football Venues by Mike Bayly

British Football's Greatest Grounds Continue reading

Posted in Book Reviews, Late Tackle magazine, Mike Bayly, Wigan Athletic | Tagged , , | Leave a comment