Latics maintain the gap – Rotherham United 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Josh W

Josh Windass on target

Wigan Athletic maintained the six-point gap between themselves and fourth-bottom Rotherham United with a hard fought 1-1 draw at the New York Stadium.

Latics lost new signing and acting captain Danny Fox after 25 minutes with a head injury and the Millers went ahead after 28 minutes with a Clark Robertson header from a Will Vaulks’ cross.

But they soon drew level when Josh Windass was played through by Nathan Byrne and the former Rangers striker produced a quality finish.

The Millers aerial bombardment caused Latics’ defence lots of problems but the longer the game went on it looked like the visitors might snatch a rare away victory.

Latics remain in 19th spot seven-points above the Championship drop zone while Rotherham are in 21st place just one-point above the bottom three.

Manager Paul Cook had to make some late changes to his squad at the New York Stadium with midfielder Lee Evans taken ill and Nick Powell leaving to attend the birth of his second child. Chey Dunkley came in to replace Cedric Kipre in defence and Everton loanee Beni Baningime made his debut in place of Evans in midfield.

Prior to the kick off it was clear what Paul Warne’s team’s tactics would be and this was certainly evident in the early exchanges. The Millers direct approach is well known and they are hard to beat, particularly at home where have only lost four this season.

Every set-piece and throw-in is well rehearsed and the high balls into the penalty area caused Latics all sorts of defensive problems.

The visitors prospects were furthered hampered when after 25 minutes central defender Danny Fox was knocked unconscious and had to leave the field. Fox was replaced by Kipre and shortly afterwards the hosts went ahead from a cross by Vaulks which was headed home by Robertson.

But it was not long before Latics drew level when Byrne provided an incisive pass and Windass produced an excellent low finish past Marek Rodak.

Reece James curled a free-kick from 25 yards into the hands of Rodak before the Millers had a glorious opportunity to go ahead when Richard Wood headed across goal but Michael Smith somehow missed the target from six yards out.

Smith then had another opportunity with a looping header but this was well tipped over by Jamie Jones.

Latics were somewhat lucky to go into the interval level after the Millers had put them under such an aerial assault. They showed a much improved performance in the second half but not before Semi Ajayi had headed wide for the Millers from another Vaulks throw-in.

Latics had an opportunity on the hour mark when Pilkington tried to get on the end of Kal Naismith’s cross but he was denied by Joe Mattock’s challenge.

Leon Clarke forced another save from Rodak with a header from a Pilkington cross and Windass dragged a shot wide from a Kipre cross.

The Millers chances were now decreasing but Naismith had to clear an Ajayi header off the line from another Vaulks long-throw.

The visitors had chances through Kipre and Dunkley but both headed off target and a draw was probably a fair result in the end.

After an indifferent start to his Latics career Josh Windass has now scored three goals in his last three games and if he can continue to hit the back of the net he will begin to justify the £2m that the club splashed out for him in the summer.

Latics had backed up the home victory against QPR with an important away point and they will now want to maintain their good home form against Stoke City on Wednesday night.

They will also be looking to emulate their most impressive performance of the season when they defeated the Potters 3-0 at the bet365 Stadium in August.

With Nick Powell and Gavin Massey returning from injury and available for selection it will be interesting to see if they are given a starting place at the DW Stadium.


About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Championship, Clark Robertson, Josh Windass, Rotherham United, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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