- Wigan Athletic remain rooted to the bottom of the Championship after another toothless display against Luton Town.
- Latics gave home debuts to January signings Christ Tiehi, Steven Caulker and Miguel Azeez but they couldn’t stop the downward spiral continuing.
- The visitors went ahead after only 11 minutes when Caulker dallied and Harry Cornick stole the ball to fire past Ben Amos.
- The hosts tried to respond and they thought they’d equalised when Ashley Fletcher headed into the top corner on 25 minutes but the goal was ruled out for offside.
- The Hatters added a second goal from a counter attack early in the second half through Elijah Adebayo.
- Latics huffed and puffed but rarely threatened to breakthrough and Kolo Toure’s charges are now winless in nine games.
- Latics are rock bottom of the Championship table and effectively five points from safety while the Hatters move up to seventh place.
Toure made six changes from the FA cup defeat to Luton in midweek, with Tiehi, Caulker, Azeez, Ryan Nyambe, James McClean, and Will Keane coming into the starting line-up.
The visitors started the game strongly and adopted a high press.
Latics struggled to get out of their own half and when Azeez played the ball backwards to Caulker the former England international dallied and was robbed by Cornick whose strike was deflected past Amos.
The visitors continued to look lively and they had another opportunity in the 20th minute. Adebayo burst into the box from the left before firing across goal and narrowly wide of the far post.
Latics thought they had drawn level five minutes later when Charlie Hughes’ excellent cross from the right was met by Fletcher’s perfect header into the top corner, but the Watford loanee’s header was ruled out for offside.
The hosts had a half chance just before half time when Power and Caulker combined to find Fletcher inside the penalty area, but the striker blazed his effort over the crossbar.
Latics started the second half strongly and went in search of an equaliser.
Hughes created an opportunity when his incisive pass released Fletcher, but the striker’s low strike was easily saved at the near post by Ethan Horvath.
Just when it looked like Latics were gaining the ascendancy, the visitors broke quickly and doubled their lead in the 53rd minute when Adebayo produced an excellent finish into the bottom corner.
Latics huffed and puffed but couldn’t create any clear cut chances and it was the visitors who nearly added a third from substitute Alfie Doughty the 76th minute. The midfielder found space on the edge of the penalty area, but his low effort was dragged wide of the post.
The visitors comfortably held out for the three points in the remaining minutes with keeper Horvath relatively untroubled.
This was another poor performance by Toure’s team. Defensive lapses had once again proved costly and they were out of luck when Fletcher’s goal was disallowed for a marginal offside.
The appointment of Toure was always a high risk appointment and Latics’ fortunes have so far only deteriorated under his stewardship.
Latics had started the season positively under Leam Richardson and despite a rocky period it is hard not to believe that they would now be in a stronger position under his leadership.
Richardson’s team had won at Kenilworth Road in September but Toure’s team have been abject in the last two home fixtures against Luton.
If the board had backed Richardson in the transfer market in pre-season the club would probably not be in its current position.
A change in manager and tactics in mid-season has not proved beneficial and the chances of survival now look very slim.
Even the prospect of Joe Gelhardt being Latics’ new saviour is now in the balance with plenty of other clubs interested in taking him on-loan until the end of the season.
Post match comments
Speaking afterwards Toure expressed the importance of his side working hard in training to improve their own fortunes in both penalty areas.
“It was tough,” he said.
“I thought in the first 20 minutes, they put us under pressure and we couldn’t find our rhythm on the ball. Unfortunately, we gave away another cheap goal, and when you concede so early in a game, it puts you straight on the back foot.
“We reacted well and played better for 25 minutes until the end of the first half. You could see we were putting them under pressure, and we scored a goal which was disallowed.
“We came back again in the second half and put them under pressure, and from nothing again, they scored the second goal.
“In both boxes, we need to make sure we are ruthless, attacking-wise as well as defensively. We need to make sure we don’t give away cheap goals.
“We need to change and be proactive. We can’t wait to concede until we start playing. We have two weeks to work in training to make sure we create some connections between the players.
“We just need to put our heads down and keep working hard on those details we need to fix.”