Wigan’s disastrous run of home form continued when they went down 1-0 to Leeds United on Saturday. Latics dominated possession and created numerous chances but once again they were unable to capitalise on their dominance.
Alex Mowatt’s quality finish just after half time was enough to secure all three points for the visitors.
It was an emotional day for Wigan fans as outgoing Chairman Dave Whelan gave a rousing speech prior to kick off and couldn’t resist having a dig at the Leeds United fans stating ‘ …you are a great club, but you haven’t won the FA Cup for 25 years!’
Malky Mackay made just one change from the victory at Norwich City on Wednesday night with Sheyi Ojo returning to the line-up in place of Leon Clarke.
It was a very competitive opening to the game with both teams battling for possession and neither gaining the upper hand.
Latics first opportunity came in the 22nd minute when Liverpool loanee Ojo cut in from the right hand side and fired his shot across the Leeds goal and wide of Silvestri’s far post.
As the half progressed the Wigan fans became increasingly frustrated with referee Geoff Eltringham’s lenient approach to the Leeds players physical challenges preventing the home teams’ progress. A more competent official would have given several early bookings to the Leeds players for persistent fouling.
Latics continued to press forward but were unable to create any clear cut chances and the teams went in level at the interval.
The second half commenced with Wigan having an early appeal for a penalty turned down by referee Eltringham. Substitute Don Cowie drove into the Leeds area but as he progressed forward he was taken out by Giuseppe Bellusci and despite appeals by Latics players the referee awarded a corner.
From the resulting corner Latics might have gone ahead. Sheyi Ojo fired in a low cross in the direction of McClean, and the Irishman’s first time effort at the near post produced an excellent save from Marco Silvestri.
But against the run of play Leeds went in front on 55 minutes. The ball was knocked into the box from the left and unfortunately hit Jason Pearce, fell into the path of Alex Mowatt on the edge of the area, and the midfielder finished with some aplomb past Scott Carson.
Latics tried to respond and went close twice soon afterwards when Marc-Antoine Fortune put two excellent low balls across the six yard box but agonisingly no Latics players were able to get the vital contact.
Wigan’s luck certainly seemed to be out and it was confirmed on 65 minutes when Kim-Bo Kyung’s goal bound volley hit team-mate James McClean in the area and deflected away to safety.
McClean then had his free kick well tipped over acrobatically by Silvestri. Referee Eltringham added seven minutes of added time and Wigan continued to press for the equaliser.
Harry Maguire headed William Kvist’s long throw into the path of McClean and the striker’s first time effort smashed frustratingly into the side netting proving that it was just not to be for Latics.
Wigan had enjoyed 60 per cent possession and had 19 shots but their inability to take their chances had once again been their downfall. They are now eight points from Championship safety with ten games remaining.
Next up is a trip to relegation rivals Rotherham and a win is essential if Wigan are to have any chance of survival.