Inconsistent refereeing frustrates Latics – Wigan Athletic 0 Walsall 0

Craig Morgan Wigan Athletic

Captain Craig Morgan was red carded. Photo courtesy of Wigan Athletic

In a game marred by some inconsistent refereeing the points were shared as Wigan and Walsall battled to a 0-0 draw at the DW Stadium.

Latics skipper Craig Morgan was controversially given a straight red card in the 69th minute when he brought down Kieron Morris on the edge of the area.

However, a similar offence in the first half when Saddlers defender James O’Connor fouled Jordy Hiwula was only punished with a yellow card by referee Andy Haines.

Latics had been the better team prior to the sending off, but Walsall dominated the closing stages and the home team were grateful to hang on to maintain their unbeaten home record.

Gary Caldwell made three changes to the team which drew with Millwall on Tuesday night. Craig Morgan and striker Will Grigg returned to the starting eleven in place of Sean Murray and Tim Chow.

Jussi Jaaskelainen surprisingly made his debut in-goal, as ever-present Richard O’Donnell missed out on his chance to face his former club.

The manager re-jiggled his formation to 4-4-2 with Will Grigg and Jordy Hiwula as the two strikers.

The opening period was characterised by both teams trying to play football on the ground and with some neat interchanges.

The Saddlers Kieron Morris had the first chance of the game on five minutes, when he forced a good save from Jaaskelainen who had to dive low to his left to push the ball away.

Latics responded, soon afterwards through Donervon Daniels, who linked up with Reece James, but his shot was blocked by a Walsall defender.

After 15 minutes Jordy Hiwula had an opportunity when he picked up Michael Jacobs’ corner from the right, but unfortunately he fired over the crossbar from close range.

Hiwula was then brought down by James O’Conner on the edge of the area and the Saddlers defender was yellow carded by referee Haines.

From the resulting free-kick Michael Jacobs effort was blocked by the Walsall wall and the danger was averted.

Jacobs got another chance on 27 minutes but once again his free-kick failed to get past the defensive wall.

Latics were unable to penetrate the Walsall defence but equally the away team rarely threatened, when they did the Wigan defence was well marshalled by the returning Morgan.

Both teams had enjoyed plenty of possession but went into the interval level.

Caldwell introduced new loan signing Yanic Wildschut in place of Jordy Hiwula at half time.

Latics went close almost immediately when Donervon Daniels broke down the right and fired a low cross towards Grigg but his effort was blocked by Neil Etheridge.

Grigg then had a shot but his effort went narrowly wide of the far post.

Wildschut was looking lively and the big Dutch striker broke into the area had two shots blocked in quick succession.

Latics were looking dangerous and it looked as though they had taken the lead on 64 minutes when Will Grigg had two great opportunities but on both occasions he inexplicably failed to finish.

Wildschut created the first down the left, with Grigg failing to make proper contact on the ball, which flashed across the goal. The ball was then returned into the box by Daniels, but somehow Grigg somehow failed to make contact.

On 69 minutes the game turned in the Walsall’s favour courtesy of some erratic referring by Andy Haines. Craig Morgan brought down Kieron Morris on the edge of the Wigan area and was immediately red carded.

It was a controversial decision and certainly debatable whether Morgan was the last man as Leon Barnett was in a good position to cover in the middle.

In fact the incident was very similar to the one in the first half when Walsall defender James O’Connor fouled Jordy Hiwula and was only issued with a yellow card.

Walsall were handed an advantage as Latics had to reshuffle their line-up with Will Grigg being sacrificed for debutant defender Donald Love.

Walsall pressed for the winner but were rarely able to threaten Jaaskelainen’s goal and Latics held firm for a deserved point.

This was a match between two teams who like to play football in the right way. It was unfortunate that it was spoiled by a referee, Andy Haines, who did not apply the rules of the game consistently to both teams and was erratic in his decision-making throughout.

Gary Caldwell commented afterwards:

“I have seen the red card back; it is very similar to the incident in the first half when we had a man brought down in the middle of the area and like us they had a man on the cover, they got a yellow, though, and we got a red,” Caldwell explained. “We are finishing with ten men a lot recently and that is very frustrating.”

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About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Andy Haines, Craig Morgan, Gary Caldwell, League One, Walsall, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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