Wigan crashed to defeat at bottom club Rotherham after a shockingly poor first half display. They were 3-0 down at half time after goals by Aimen Belaid, Danny Ward’s deflected shot and Dan Burn’s own goal but it could easily have been more.
They rallied in the second half with goals by Yanic Wildschut and Jordi Gomez and might have had a 90th minute equaliser through Will Grigg but it was chalked off for handball.
Latics lined up without Shaun MacDonald, Nick Powell, David Perkins, Craig Morgan and Luke Garbutt. Craig Davies made his first start of the season.
Latics were completely outplayed in the first half. The Millers were one up after only 8 minutes when Lee Frecklington shot across the face of goal and Belaid finished from close range.
Things got worse on the half hour mark when a Joe Mattock shot from 20 yards took a deflection, it fell to Danny Ward in the penalty area and his shot wrong-footed Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The third came in first half injury time as Ward’s shot was first brilliantly saved by Jaaskelainen but the ball ricocheted off the unlucky Burn and into his own net.
It was the worst first half display of the season and it looked like there was way no back for Latics.
But after a half time rollicking from the manager they were much improved team in the second half.
Wildschut produced a superb curling shot from the edge of the area past Lewis Price on 54 minutes.
Gomez drove home Andy Kellett’s pass on 79 minutes to further reduce the deficit.
On 90 minutes it looked as though Latics had achieved on unlikely comeback through Will Grigg, but the referee ruled it out for a handball by Michael Jacobs.
It is now five straight defeats for Latics and the owner, chairman, manager and players must all take responsibility for the current predicament and start to put things right.
There are many reasons for the current situation but the sacking of Gary Caldwell was surely the catalyst.
The new manager has come in with his own ideas and is trying to get the best out of Caldwell’s squad but it is sadly not working.
The transfer window should offer some new options but Joyce must review his approach as the players have not yet bought into his strategy.
The injuries to key players have not helped matters but the players have a responsibility to give 100% and this was not evident in the first half at Rotherham.
Latics are now firmly locked in a relegation scrap with four or five other teams and unless there is a big improvement in all departments they will be making a speedy return to League One.