An early headed goal by Ryan Shotton and a late finish by Nick Powell secured an unlikely three points for Wigan at home to Ipswich Town.
The Stoke loanee Shotton rose unchallenged at the back post to head home following a corner by Nick Powell.
Powell sealed the game for Latics in the 90th minute following a mistake by Town keeper Dean Gerken.
But it was the away side who had looked the more dangerous over the 90 minutes. Wigan keeper Scott Carson produced a man of the match performance to deny Mick McCarthy’s team.
Wigan manager Owen Coyle once again shuffled his pack following Thursday night’s draw at Zulte Waregem in the Europa League. Captain Emmerson Boyce was rested and Shaun Maloney and Marc Antoine Fortune were notably absent from a line up which did not include a recognised centre forward. Callum McManaman, James McClean and Powell were expected to provide the attacking threat.
The opening minutes demonstrated that Ipswich would be no pushovers as they set about unsettling the unfamiliar Latics formation. Luke Chambers had his header deflected onto the cross-bar as the away side forced a succession of corners.
But Latics took the lead in the 12 minute and Mick McCarthy will no doubt be disappointed that his side went behind from a set piece. Shotton was allowed too much space at the back post and he headed his first goal for Wigan in only his second appearance.
But, despite the early set back, Ipswich were the better side for much of the first half. Wigan Captain Ben Watson produced a great block to deny Daryl Murphy from scoring and then David McGoldrick headed just wide.
Scott Carson was in fine form first producing a fine reaction save to keep out Murphy’s close-range effort and then tipping Cole Skuse’s scorching drive around the post.
Latics were very fortunate to go in at half time a goal to the good but the second half continued in similar fashion to the first with Tunnicliffe driving a shot at Carson.
Wigan looked threatening on the break however, and the unmarked Thomas Rogne somehow contrived to head wide from close range when it looked easier to score.
Powell nearly grabbed a second following a Watson free kick but his header went wide and James McArthur should have done better when presented with an open goal but he also fired wide.
Ipswich put pressure on the Wigan goal and continued to win free kicks around the penalty box but Wigan ‘s defence held firm. McGoldrick and Tunnicliffe were both thwarted by blocks, while Carson tipped a long-range effort by Berra around the post for a corner.
It was to prove a crucial save as Wigan wrapped up the points in the 90th minute when Powell robbed Ipswich keeper Gerken of the ball and tapped home the winner.
Ipswich will rue their missed opportunities after they had dominated possession, and had 25 shots compared to Wigan’s 16 and 10 corners compared to Latics 3.
On another occasion Latics could easily have lost the game. Their deficiencies were all too evident as they gave the ball away far too easily and often resorted to a hopeful long ball. Their opponents controlled much of the play and if it was not for some excellent saves by Carson the points would have gone to Suffolk.
On the plus side there were some good performances by Carson and Watson and first goals for loanees Shotton and Powell. But there is still much that requires improvement if Wigan are to make a serious challenge for promotion.
Pingback: Wigan ride their luck to survive Ipswich onslaught – Wigan Athletic 2 Ipswich Town 0 - Unofficial Network