- Wigan Athletic slipped deeper into relegation trouble after a dispiriting 2-0 defeat at Coventry City.
- In a competitive first half there were chances at both ends as Will Keane headed against the crossbar for Latics and Kasey Palmer fired inches wide of the target for the Sky Blues.
- But in the second half Latics offered little going forward and despite some good defending they went behind on 77 minutes when Gustavo Hamer’s deflected strike from outside the box beat Jamie Jones.
- Latics threw men forward in six minutes of added time but it was the hosts who sealed the three points when Victor Gyokeres finished from Josh Eccles’ pass.
- Latics remain in 23rd place in the Championship table and the Sky Blues move up to 12th place.
Leam Richardson made three changes to the starting XI from the draw at Swansea with Ramari Edmonds-Green making his debut, Callum Lang and Jordan Cousins replacing Jason Kerr, Tom Naylor and Nathan Broadhead.
In a lively opening period the Sky Blues threatened first when they fired a dangerous cross into the area in the first minute but it came to nothing.
James McClean then had a couple of early shots blocked at the other end before Will Keane headed against the crossbar on 14 minutes but was adjudged to be offside.
Josh Eccles fired high over the crossbar for the hosts on 14 minutes.
Latics then had another opportunity on 20 minutes when a Max Power corner was headed across the area by Jack Whatmough and McClean fired just wide of the target from a tight angle.
Coventry’s best chance came just before half time when Hamer’s strike from the centre of the penalty area was inches wide of the post.
0-0 at half time with Latics putting in a competitive first half performance.
But the second half was a different story with the Sky Blues dominant as Latics offered very little going forward and had to defend for most of the half.
The hosts pressed forward from the kick off and Latics had to defend in depth and often desperately.
Ben Sheaf fired just over the angle of post and crossbar on 50 minutes, Hamer had a goal bound strike blocked two minutes later before Michael Rose’s strike just cleared the crossbar a minute after.
Latics were under the cosh and they had to block strikes from Callum O’Hare, Jake Bidwell, Gyokeres and Palmer in quick succession.
Keane had to be withdrawn for an injury on 60 minutes and replaced by Broadhead.
Coventry made a triple substitution on 73 minutes as Jamie Allen, Tyler Walker and Callum Doyle replaced Palmer, O’Hare and Rose.
Richardson made a double substitution at the same time with Graeme Shinnie and Josh Magennis replacing Callum Lang and Charlie Wyke.
Despite concerted Coventry pressure Latics were unlucky to concede from a deflected strike on 77 minutes. Gyokeres unleashing a drive from just outside the area which deflected off Whatmough and completely wrong-footed goalkeeper Jones.
Gwion Edwards and Thelo Aasgaard replaced Darikwa and Cousins on 82 minutes as Latics tried to respond but they created very little until in added time when they pushed men forward.
Unfortunately in that added time the Sky Blues broke away with Gyokeres showing strength and power to get away from Latics’ chasing defenders and power his strike low past Jones to confirm the three points.
Coventry are in fine form at the moment having defeated Watford and Blackburn in their previous two games but Latics were well beaten at the Coventry Building Society Stadium.
The other results around the relegation zone couldn’t have gone much worse for Latics on the night with Huddersfield winning at QPR, Hull City winning at Cardiff and Middlesbrough winning at Blackpool.
Latics have only picked up one point in the last seven games after starting the season so well. The players effort cannot be faulted in recent games and fine margins often decide results in the Championship but it is clear to everyone that they are lacking quality in certain positions.
Latics Chairman Talal Al Hammad has commented on Twitter that the club will use the forthcoming World Cup break to ‘overcome the current obstacles.’ Let’s hope that this involves strengthening the current squad during the transfer window. Latics owner Mr Al-Jasmi must surely realise that they will now have to invest in the squad if they are to retain their hard-won Championship status.
Post match comments
Speaking afterward, Richardson felt that luck wasn’t on their side, as a deflected opening goal helped the hosts on their way to victory.
“Any negative result is tough to take, especially when the work ethic of the lads was there for all to see,” he said.
“The first half was very competitive, with not much in it – with neither goalkeeper really having a save to make.
“In the second half, they started probably a bit brighter, and the momentum swung with a couple of decisions in their favour.
“Our distances got too big, and they’ve had a deflected shot that goes in – which is disappointing.
“The last goal, we were chasing the game, but I thought we got into enough areas to go for the equaliser.
“It wasn’t to be, and I thought our lads’ effort and endeavours was there to see, but we just need that a little bit of quality in certain moments.”
Saturday will see Blackpool arrive at the DW Stadium in Latics’ final game before the World Cup international break, and Richardson expressed the importance of his players making the most of the energy generated by the fans to stride towards a positive result.
“They’re all huge, massive games for us. Saturday, we’re at home, and our home crowd will give us a massive lift,” he said
“They will give us a massive amount of energy, and it’s up to us we replicate that on the pitch and certainly get a positive result.”