Mighty congested at the bottom of the Championship – Cardiff City 2 Wigan Athletic 2

Kieffer Moore Kieffer Moore grabbed a brace

Latics picked up a vital point in their battle for Championship survival with a 2-2 draw against promotion chasing Cardiff City.

Goals by Wales International Kieffer Moore had twice given Latics the lead but they were pegged back by a Josh Murphy strike and a Kal Naismith own goal.

In difficult conditions both teams created plenty of chances and the hosts had a late goal ruled out for a foul on David Marshall by Lee Tomlin.

Latics remain in 22nd spot three points behind Stoke City but the results on the day meant the bottom of the Championship table is becoming congested with seven teams only separated by nine points.

Paul Cook made four changes following the 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough with Brighton loanee Leon Balogun replacing the suspended Chey Dunkley, and Lee Evans, Gavin Massey and Jamal Lowe coming into the starting 11.

In very windy conditions Latics started strongly and were ahead after only five minutes. Joe Williams played a short corner to Samy Morsy, who found Moore in the box and the big striker produced an instinctive flick past Alex Smithies for 1-0.

Cardiff responded almost immediately from a set-piece routine as Will Vaulks long throw was headed on by Sean Morrison and Josh Murphy rifled home the equaliser.

Marshall was in fine form to deny his former club making important saves from Tomlin and Vaulks free-kicks and Albert Adomah’s close range effort.

The hosts main threat though came from set-pieces and Vaulks’s throw ins and Morrison’s aerial presence proved to be a regular problem for the Latics defence.

On the stroke of half-time Latics went back in front. Morsy teed up Williams on the edge of the box and the midfielder’s strike was blocked by the arm of Curtis Nelson and referee John Brooks awarded a penalty.

Moore stepped up and confidently converted the spot kick sending Smithies the wrong way to make it 2-1.

Early in the second half Cardiff were back level. Marlon Pack’s strike from the edge of the box appeared to be going wide but Naismith couldn’t get out of the way and the ball unfortunately diverted into Latics’ net.

Cook replaced Lee Evans and Gavin Massey with  Joe Gelhardt and Anthony Pilkington on 65 minutes and they soon linked up well to create an opportunity for Naismith but the defender’s shot was denied by Smithies from a tight angle.

Cardiff continued to pump high balls into the Latics box but the defence held firm with Balogun having a steady debut ably abetted by Cedric Kipre.

With 94 minutes on the clock Latics had a huge scare however as Morrison bundled the ball over the line, for a second it looked as though the referee had awarded the goal but he actually signalled that it had been disallowed as Tomlin had fouled Marshall on the line.

A good result and performance by Latics against a Cardiff team in fine form and pushing for the play-offs.

Striker Moore is now showing his real capabilities and starting to find the net after a difficult initial period.

The Latics defence is looking more resolute and strengthened by the addition of Nigeria international Balogun and the midfield continues to be combative with the excellent Morsy in charge.

The teams below Latics in the table, Barnsley and Luton both won, but the teams above them fared less well with Stoke, Charlton and Middlesbrough all losing and Huddersfield drawing.

The battle at the bottom is getting increasingly congested and Latics will be pleased to see that more teams are now becoming embroiled in the struggle. In the unpredictable Championship the fight for survival is certainly hotting up.

About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Cardiff City, Championship, Josh Murphy, Kal Naismith, Kieffer Moore, Leon Balogun, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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