Desperate days for Wigan – Wigan Athletic 1 Rotherham United 2

Ben Watson

Ben Watson header was not enough for Latics

This crucial relegation six pointer ended in 2-1 victory for the visitors Rotherham after a dismal display by Latics.

Despite the need to secure a vital first win in 17 matches the Wigan players showed little of the desire required to overcome the combative Millers. The strangely lacklustre display was not helped by Malky Mackay’s team selection with one central striker James McClean, largely ineffective in a must win fixture.

Wigan never really got going until the dying stages when substitutes Marc-Antoine Fortune and Oriol Riera might have grabbed a point.

Rotherham went ahead on 40 minutes after a calamitous mistake by full back Andrew Taylor which set up Tom Lawrence for a comfortable finish past Scott Carson.

Ben Watson managed to draw Wigan level on 64 minutes when he headed home James McClean’s corner. But within a minute Rotherham got the winner when Alex Revell headed home unchallenged from a free-kick.

Malky only made one change from the team that had lost at Watford with Shaun Maloney coming in for Roger Espinoza. The manager’s decision to go with winger McClean as the lone central striker was to prove costly.

Callum McManaman looked lively in the early stages and caused problems in the Millers box by beating three defenders before testing Adam Collin with a low shot.

Rotherham responded well and could have taken the lead themselves through Emmanuel Ledesma, who forced a save from Scott Carson, before firing wide on the rebound.

Latics had their best chance to take the lead on 22 minutes when Ben Watson followed up McCann’s header in the box from a corner, but fired the ball wide of the goal from twelve yards out.

As the half progressed, Rotherham started to get the upper hand and in the 39th minute, they went close to scoring when Lawrence forced a good save from Carson.

Shortly afterwards the Millers went ahead when Lawrence capitalised on a poor back pass from Andrew Taylor to side foot the ball past Carson.

Rotherham continued their dominance in the second half with Revell firing straight at Carson.

Malky responded by adopting a more attacking formation with substitutes Fortune (53 mins) and Oriol Riera (63 mins).

The changes made a difference and Latics were level in the 63rd minute when Watson’s near post header from McClean’s corner powered past Collin.

But disastrously for Wigan, Rotherham were back in front within a minute through Alex Revell. A free-kick was floated into the box and Revell rose unchallenged to loop his header high over Carson and into the Wigan net.

Marc-Antoine Fortune had a great opportunity to draw Wigan level when he turned his marker in the box but the striker fired high over the crossbar with the goal at his mercy.

It might have been worse for Wigan ten minutes later when Andrew Taylor cleared the ball off the line after Jordan Bowery’s dangerous low cross.

Oriol Riera almost restored parity late on when his powerful header hit the cross-bar but it just wasn’t to be. The vital three points deservedly went to Rotherham after what had been an abject performance by Latics.

It was Rotherham’s first win in 10 matches and they are now seven points ahead of Latics as we approach the halfway point in the season.

Wigan are in a dire run of form and have not won at home in the Championship since the end of August.

The new manager has suffered a fourth defeat in his five matches in charge. After a good start against Middlesbrough the performances have deteriorated and the prospect of relegation now looms large.

The lack of a cutting edge remains evident and Malky’s ultra cautious team selections have contributed to the problems. Malky has tended to go with the experienced older players but this has meant Latics have often lacked the energy to compete over 90 minutes. A more balanced mix of old and younger players is required if Wigan are to avoid the bleak prospect of relegation.

In his post match interview the Wigan manager acknowledged that the squad is too big and there is a need for changes in the transfer window. In the meantime Wigan need to get some points on the table as a matter of urgency.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Alex Revell, Ben Watson, Malky Mackay, Rotherham United, Tom Lawrence, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Desperate days for Wigan – Wigan Athletic 1 Rotherham United 2

  1. Boston East says:

    Crap! Crap! Crap! Now that might sound like two craps too much, but its not. This was the first time I bailed out with twenty to go because it was obvious we were not going to score again. What the f..k is our defence and keeper doing altogether. To let them score so soon after Bens goal is criminal at this level. The term fire sale comes to mind because we are fast becoming comedy value for every other f…ing club in this division. Get back on your bikes boys because division one is looming ever closer.

  2. Boston East says:

    Will the bubble burst, or are they just keeping us in suspenders. Will Malky play a decent hand up front and will the defence stop F..KING ABOUT! Tune in next week for another exciting, or should I say exiting episode of, LIFE AS A WIGAN ATH SUPPORTER.

  3. amaxey says:

    bet Adam Forshaw regrets leaving Brentford. Hope he goes done with Wigan deserves nothing less. We are happy we have Alex Pritchard on loan from Spurs

  4. davo says:

    At present the team is unbalanced and leaderless and our tactics appear to be kick and rush! We sadly lack attacking wing backs and our midfield has forgotten its role. ‘Big boot’ Carson gifts the ball to the opposition and we have forgotten how to work the ball up the field whilst regaining possession. No one leads the play on the field.
    The solution lies in team selection and the establishment of a range of playing patterns for the players to understand and apply. My team would be

    Al Habsi,
    Perch, Boyce, Kiernan,
    Tavernier, Mc Manaman, Watson,Maloney, Forshaw,
    , Fortune, Viera
    Watsons role would be to receive the ball from the defence and distribute forward. Tavernier and Forshaw would fulfil the wing back role linking with McManaman and Maloney respectively. Fortune would keep his target man role laying the ball off to Viera
    Until McClean learns to control the ball and develop awareness of others around him he would not feature on the bench!

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