Latics press the self-destruct button – Blackburn Rovers 3 Wigan Athletic 0

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Paul Cook out of luck and out of ideas

Dark days at Wigan Athletic as Paul Cook’s team engineered their own downfall and gifted Blackburn Rovers an easy three points at Ewood Park.

After enjoying plenty of early possession Latics contrived to present Rovers with three goals following defensive mistakes.

Reece James recklessly fouled Harrison Read in the penalty box after 39 minutes and Danny Graham comfortably converted the resulting spot kick.

Early in the second half substitute Callum McManaman set up Nick Powell but the former Manchester United midfielder was unable to capitalise as he headed narrowly wide of the target and soon afterwards Chey Dunkley’s miskick allowed Graham the easiest of tasks to add his and Rovers second goal.

Rovers wasted further chances to increase their lead before Jonas Olsson provided another gift when his poor back-pass allowed Bradley Dack another easy finish.

Latics remain in 20th spot in the Championship table just three points above the relegation zone while Rovers are comfortable in 16th spot.

The visitors made one enforced change from the team defeated at Reading on Saturday with Lee Evans replacing Nathan Byrne who had to miss out due to illness.

In difficult wet and windy conditions Latics enjoyed the majority of the early possession but Rovers went closest when Bradley Dack forced a good save from Jamie Jones.

Neither team carved out any clear cut openings until eight minutes before half time when Latics gave away a penalty. James caught Reed with a high boot and referee Chris Kavanagh had no hesitation in awarding a penalty.

Graham stepped up and fired Rovers into a one goal lead going into the interval.

Cook replaced Gavin Massey with McManaman at half-time and the winger had an almost immediate impact when crossing for Powell but the midfielder was inches wide of the target with his header.

Latics pressed for the equaliser but their good work was undone when a long ball from Rovers was not dealt with by Dunkley and Graham had an easy task to slot home past Jamie Jones.

The visitors tried to respond and Evans fired just wide and substitute Josh Windass forced a good save from David Raya, but the points were sealed on 86 minutes when Olsson’s back-pass was intercepted by Dack who finished calmly.

Either side of the third goal Rovers had very good chances to add to their tally through Joe Nuttall and Dack as Latics lost any semblance of defensive organisation.

This had been a disastrous performance by Latics which leaves them perilously close to the drop zone and desperately low in confidence.

Cook’s long ball tactics had proved ineffective and too many Latics players had performed way below the standard required for the Championship.

Basic mistakes had presented Rovers with three goals but it could easily have been five or six as Latics defenders offered limited resistance at times.

Even Latics player of the season so far Reece James had not been at his best, but others such as Evans, Dunkley, Olsson and Antonee Robinson should be ashamed of their performances.

Cook’s charges seem incapable of winning away from home and they could find themselves in the relegation zone if they lose at home against fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

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About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Blackburn Rovers, Bradley Dack, Championship, Danny Graham, Paul Cook, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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