Match report by Jamie Aspinall.
On a blue-sky day the Sky Blues were in total control. A goal in each half by Adam Armstrong made Coventry the opening day victors. Even though Wigan dominated possession in the first half the home side always looked well organised and disciplined with a clear game plan that paid off.
The plan was simple but effective, using the strengths of the ex-Newcastle striker Armstrong’s pace and well-timed runs to get behind the rigid Wigan defence. His movement was rewarded when O’Brien dissected three defenders with a beautifully weighted diagonal ball into his path and the striker calmly slotted past O’Donnell into the corner of the net.
The second goal was a cross in from the left from Fleck finding Armstrong’s untracked run, once again outsmarting the Wigan defence and he applied a controlled touch to the right corner of the goal.
Tony Mowbray admitted that his team had been working on getting the ball behind the defence in training and it clearly helped. Football can be a simple game if you understand your strengths and play to them rather than trying to over complicate things.
Caldwell on the other hand has stated that he is trying to re-create the passing style that Martinez brought to Wigan. Personally I think this is not the approach he should be taking in League One due to the battling style of football and with the squad he has available.
To get results in this league Caldwell would be better suited trying to emulate the Paul Jewell era, as we are no strangers to this level of football and this brought us success when climbing through the leagues.
Jewell achieved 100 points in the old Second Division but his was not done with a lone striker for a start. You have to attack in numbers and put constant pressure on the opposition.
Yesterday, Wigan controlled the majority of possession but spent too much time in the build up stages, something we are all too familiar with and this hasn’t brought us enough goals in recent years.
Our equivalent of Coventry’s Armstrong is Will Grigg. At his previous clubs he has shown with the right supply he can be a neat finisher. With nobody around him he is likely to become another Wigan striker that is starved of opportunities to score goals for the team.
In the lower leagues we were successful playing attacking 4-3-3 line ups with the likes of Andy Liddell bolstering the forward line from deep, and in the days of McCulloch he would come in from the left and act like a battering ram threatening the goal.
There were some positive attacking performances in the first half from the likes of Jacobs and in the second McNaughton did his best to make positive runs, however there was too much sitting back and waiting for the perfect opportunity, we need to force the ball forward and intimidate the opposition to make things happen.
If we are to realistically challenge for promotion then we need to wipe the slate clean and go back to basics.
We no longer have the International players that we have been accustomed to, and you could feel the Wigan fans’ frustration during yesterday’s game because the previous level of football and success we have reached has spoilt us. It is now time to face reality, buckle down and fight our way up this league.
It has been branded a ‘New Era’ by Wigan, but it is old territory so let’s learn from our history.