- Latics were the victors in this closely contested encounter between two teams who will be hoping to challenge for promotion at the end of the League One season.
- Callum Lang’s composed finish in the 78th minute made the difference in a game of very few chances at the DW Stadium.
- Danny Cowley’s Pompey adopted a high press to put Latics under pressure but the home team showed good organisation and composure and as the game progressed the hosts posed a greater threat.
- The result moves Latics up to fourth place in the League One table and Portsmouth are now in fifth spot.
Leam Richardson made one change to his line-up that had won 2-0 at Charlton Athletic with Tom Pearce replacing Max Power, new loanee Tom Bayliss from Preston North End was on the bench.
Right from the kick off the visitors pressed high and tried to impose themselves on the home team.
Portsmouth’s Clark Robertson had a header comfortably tipped over the crossbar by Latics’ keeper Ben Amos early on.
When Latics did break out of defence in the 19th minute Referee Christopher Sarginson wasn’t doing them any favours as Jordan Jones went down under a risky challenge in the Pompey box.
Soon afterwards Ronan Curtis’ had a header easily saved by Amos and in the 24th minute the unmarked Curtis had a goal-bound effort blocked by a Latics defender.
At the other end Tendayi Darikwa had a chance but his shot was saved low-down by Gavin Bazunu in the 37th minute.
The teams cancelled each other out at the beginning of the second half.
But Curtis had another chance on 57 minutes when from Kieron Freeman’s cross he headed over the crossbar.
As the half progressed the visitors lost their momentum and energy, and Latics started to find more space in their opponents half.
Substitute James McClean had replaced Jordan Jones on 54 minutes and along with Tom Pearce they were causing Pompey problems down the left hand side.
McClean and Pearce combined well in the 78th minute and from Pearce’s cross the ball fell to Lang at the far post, and the striker composed himself before finishing into the bottom corner.
Portsmouth tried to respond but despite pushing numbers forward they didn’t manage to force a notable save from Amos.
Former Portsmouth players Jack Whatmough and Tom Naylor gave exemplary defensive performances for Latics.
It had been a game of few chances, Charlie Wyke tried his luck from 25-yards in the 87th minute but his shot was high and wide, and Latics saw out five minutes of added time.
For a newly assembled team Latics have exceeded expectations in the first five league games of the season.
It’s been a very difficult set of opening fixtures but the team are already looking a very capable outfit.
Richardson was rightly upbeat about Latics’ start to the season after the game.
“We’re still making small steps and we’re absolutely made up with the start that we’ve had. From when they’ve come in pre-season, the lads have done everything that we’ve asked, and again they’ve responded after a bitty first half into a second half where I thought we were worthy of something.”
With two centre backs and a full back incoming Latics now look to have the strength in depth to mount a promotion challenge.
With the backing of Phoenix 2021, Leam Richardson has done well to assemble such a strong squad in such a short space of time and the prospects for this season are now so much higher.