Maloney’s men edging closer to safety – Bristol City 1 Wigan Athletic 1

Ashley Fletcher equalised for the Tics

  • Wigan Athletic secured a vital point in their battle against relegation when they drew 1-1 at in-form Bristol City.
  • The Robins are now unbeaten in nine games but Latics matched their mid-table opponents throughout.
  • In a first half of few chances the hosts took the lead when Rob Atkinson headed home from Anis Mehmeti’s cross on 36 minutes.
  • Christ Tiehi’s superb side-footed strike clipped the top of the crossbar as Latics went close before half time.
  • Latics equalised in the 65th minute when Max Power’s cross found Ashley Fletcher on the edge of the six-yard box and the Watford loanee controlled the ball before finishing under Max O’Leary’s legs.
  • Alex Scott hit the crossbar with a header and Mehmeti’s cross hit the post for the hosts but Latics had worked hard to get another important result and are still unbeaten under manager Shaun Maloney.
  • Latics are now in 22nd place, two points behind Cardiff City with a game in hand. Bristol City are in 16th place in the Championship table.

Maloney surprisingly made two changes to the team that had defeated Huddersfield with Thelo Aasgaard and Ashley Fletcher replacing Callum Lang and Will Keane.

Nigel Pearson’s team had an early chance when Alex Scott cut inside and fired high over the crossbar from 25 yards.

Latics responded and after a good move between Daniel Sinani and Fletcher the big striker found Tendayi Darikwa, but unfortunately his low cross was blocked.

Latics continued to exert considerable pressure which resulted in a series of corners but they came to nothing. Neither keeper had had to make save until in the 36th minute the hosts went ahead. 

Following a short free-kick Anis Mehmeti chipped the ball in-between two defenders and centre-back Atkinson rose to head past Ben Amos.

Latics almost equalised on the stroke of half-time as Tiehi’s side-footed effort from from 25 yards hit the crossbar with keeper O’Leary beaten.  A lucky escape for the hosts.

Maloney made a triple substitution at the break as Keane, Lang and Tom Pearce came on for Aasgaard, Sinani and Darikwa. Nyambe moved to right back and Pearce came in at left back.

Latics were enjoying plenty of possession in the second half and forced several corners.

They drew level in the 65th minute when Power’s inviting cross found its way to Fletcher on the edge of the six-yard and he took a touch before finishing under O’Leary’s legs. 

The hosts tried to respond quickly and a cross into the box found Scott in space, but his header smacked against the crossbar and away.

A few minutes later the hosts hit the woodwork again as Mehmeti’s deep cross looped over Amos and struck the far post.

Bristol weren’t having it all their own way however, as Latics threatened when a Lang effort was denied at point blank range by O’Leary.

Substitute Tom Naylor made a superb block in the box in the 89th minute as Bristol went in search of a winner. But despite some late pressure and four minutes of added time Latics comfortably held on for a valuable point in their battle against relegation.


This was another improved team performance were everyone contributed but Christ Tiehi was especially tidy in midfield, picking the ball up from the defence, maintaining possession and keeping the ball moving. He also nearly got on the scoresheet when his first half strike hit the crossbar.

This was important step in Latics’ revival under Shaun Maloney. Taking on an in-form Bristol City at Ashton Gate and matching them is no mean feat.

The Scotsman has only been in charge for a few weeks but he has already galvanised the team and made them so much harder to beat.

A few weeks ago Latics looked dead and buried with Kolo Toure in charge, but they are now only two points behind fourth bottom Cardiff City with a game in hand.

There are difficult games ahead but the positive vibes coming from the manager and his coaching team mean there’s plenty of optimism  around the club. There’s still a long way to go, but with 15 games left the prospects are looking so much better.

Championship Table

Post match comments

Speaking afterwards, Maloney was pleased with the performance levels that were on show in the second period, after he challenged his side to ‘show more personality’ in possession at the break.

“I’m very pleased,” he said.

“It was a difficult game, particularly in the first half. We had to make changes at half-time, and I was really happy with the second-half performance. 

“It turned into a scrap, but they gave me everything so I’m very pleased.

“I was really unhappy with the goal because we switched off during a set play. That can happen, but how we defended the box was the thing I was unhappy about, and the players knew that. 

“I think we can be better on the ball. At half-time, (I felt) we needed to show more personality, and I thought we did that.”

On Fletcher’s goal and superb shift leading the line, Maloney added,

“When he’s aggressive and shows everything he can, he’s going to be a threat, and I need that in every game from him. He can be happy with tonight but he needs to give us that every single game.”

Over 300 supporters made the long-haul midweek trip to back Maloney and his side at Ashton Gate, and the Gaffer was quick to recognise the immense dedication levels that was on show from the travelling Tics to get behind their team. 

“The fans were great again. I know it’s a long trip on a Wednesday night, and they’ll get home late.

“They were with us (all night) and we need them. Hopefully, they can see we are giving them everything.”

Player ratings

Player ratings courtesy of


About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Ashley Fletcher, Bristol City, Championship, Rob Atkinson, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.