Cook on the brink? Reading 3 Wigan Athletic 2

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Nick Powell scored the opening goal

Wigan Athletic failed to capitalise on their dominance and succumbed to a late Reading fight back to slip nearer to the Championship relegation zone.

Latics went ahead through Nick Powell after 20 minutes and, although Reading equalised through a John Swift free kick in first half injury time, Joe Garner restored their lead on 64 minutes.

But with Latics looking to see the game out the Royals equalised through Mo Barrow’s 30-yard strike on 89 minutes and with the clock showing 97 minutes Yakou Meite broke Wigan hearts with a stooping header at the back-post.

Latics are now below Reading on goal difference and are just three points clear of the relegation zone with ten games still to play.

Paul Cook made four changes to his starting line-up from Tuesday night’s defeat at Derby  County, with Antonee Robinson, Jonas Olsson, Powell and Garner replacing Danny Fox, Cedric Kipre, Lee Evans and Leon Clarke.

After an even opening period, Latics started to take control of the game and went ahead after 20 minutes when Powell produced a neat finish from a Michael Jacobs cross after some excellent work by Reece James in midfield.

Latics again threatened when Powell set up Jacobs but his shot was well saved by Emi Martinez.

At the other end, Tyler Blackett’s cross found Garath McCleary but his effort was saved by Jamie Jones.

In added time at the end of the first half the hosts drew level when Swift’s excellent free kick beat Jones from the edge of the area

Early in the second-half Gavin Massey forced Martinez into another good save before Chey Dunkley fired over the crossbar from a James corner.

Latics went back in front on 64 minutes when Powell’s attempted overhead kick found the unmarked Garner at the back-post and the well-travelled striker finished with aplomb.

Dunkley forced another good save from Martinez before the keeper produced a superb reflex save to deny Powell at close range.

Martinez then presented Latics with a golden opportunity when he rolled the ball into the path of James but the Chelsea loanee was unable to capitalise and fired wide of the target from 25-yards out.

Samy Morsy then produced a stinging 25-yard strike but a full stretch Martinez was equal to the task.

Cook replaced the tiring Massey and Powell with Kal Naismith and Leon Clarke and Latics lost their attacking threat. Naismith looked uncomfortable on the right wing and Clarke was once again out of sorts.

With the clock ticking down to 90 minutes a lack of composure by Latics was to prove costly.

Morsy allowed a free kick to be taken quickly while out of position and with James off the pitch, Mo Barrow was allowed plenty of space to run into before firing past Jones from 30-yards.

Latics’ inability to manage the game out proved even more costly on 97 minutes when from a corner Meite was allowed to head home unmarked at the back-post.

It was a game that Latics shouldn’t have lost and their inability to win away from home is proving to be their achilles heel.

They have won only one game away all season and that was at Stoke back in August. If they are to survive they must pick up more points on the road.

The pressure is mounting on Cook and the next two fixtures against local rivals Blackburn (a) and Bolton (h) could well determine the manager’s future.

Cook did so well in getting Latics promoted to the Championship but if there isn’t a quick improvement he is likely to take the club back to League One.

Latics are in the relegation mire and in a downward spiral, if they don’t get a win very soon Cook will surely lose his job.

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About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Championship, Joe Garner, John Swift, Mo Barrow, Nick Powell, Reading, Wigan Athletic, Yakou Meite and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Cook on the brink? Reading 3 Wigan Athletic 2

  1. Gordyt says:

    He should have gone a few games ago ,his inability in this league is there for everyone to see ,he can’t cope with the pressures of this league,his substitutions against reading were unbelievable,we were virtually guaranteed 3 points when he decided to chop and change,we need someone in now to save us from another relegation,surely joe royle and the new owners can see this or are the accepting relegation,not fair on the fans that travel everywhere,change and do it it now our away form is a laughing stock.

  2. Philip Marren says:

    A change of manager ,really ?do you think that’ll change the players game management skills ,pathetic

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