Desperate times both on and off the pitch for Wigan Athletic – Burnley 3 Wigan Athletic 0

Kick off at Burnley

  • Wigan Athletic remain rooted to the bottom of the Championship table after they were outclassed 3-0 by Premier League bound Burnley at Turf Moor.
  • Southampton loanee Nathan Tella headed Burnley’s opener after 14 minutes and Latics were reduced to ten-men on 29 minutes when Omar Rekik was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
  • Despite being under the cosh Latics wasted two good opportunities to draw level through substitute Steven Caulker and Ashley Fletcher.
  • Early in the second half the hosts doubled their lead when Tella struck again. Burnley had chances to add further goals before South Africa international Lyle Foster completed the scoring on 75 minutes.
  • Off the pitch it’s been a dreadful week for the Latics after news was released that the Bahraini owners had not paid wages for the fourth time and this is likely to result in a three point deduction.
  • Latics are bottom of the table and effectively seven points from safety due to an inferior goal difference. Burnley are 13 points clear at the top of the table and are 16 games unbeaten in the league.

Shaun Maloney made five changes from the original line up against West Brom with Ryan Nyambe, Tom Pearce, Tom Naylor, Callum Lang and Josh Magennis all starting.

The Clarets attacked from the kick off and their first effort at goal was saved by Ben Amos from Johann Berg Gudmunsson’s 25-yard strike.

Rekik picked up an early yellow card as he brought down Tella.

The woodwork saved Latics on 11 minutes when Anass Zaroury drove a low shot against Amos’ near post.

Soon afterwards Latics frustratingly gave the ball away trying to play out from the back and Zaroury crossed from the right for Tella to head past Amos at the near post.

Burnley were rampant now and they should have doubled their lead on 20 minutes when Tella went through down the right but he fired his shot wide of the far post.

Latics’ day became much more difficult when Rekik foolishly got sent off on 27 minutes for a second yellow card after a late tackle on Tella.

It was one way traffic and Amos produced a spectacular save to tip over Ian Maatsen’s 20 yard dipping shot.

But against the run of play Latics had two good opportunities to draw level before half-time.

First Tendayi Darikwa’s cross was headed at goal by substitute Steven Caulker but the Burnley keeper Arijanet Muric made a point-blank save.

Then a poor back pass put Ashley Fletcher in the clear down the left but his strike towards the far corner was well saved by Muric.

Latics needed to try and contain Burnley in the second half and hope to hit them on the break.

But it took less than two minutes for the hosts and Tella to double their advantage. A corner found Tella free inside the six-yard box and he headed home.

Burnley continued to press forward and Amos saved from Ashley Barnes from close range before Zaroury fired wide of the far post.

Zaroury should have made it three on the hour mark, but fired over with just Amos to beat after a flowing move from the Championship leaders.

Maloney made three changes on 67 minutes as Christ Tiehi, Thelo Aasgaard and Will Keane replaced Max Power, Ashley Fletcher and Callum Lang.

But the onslaught continued from the home side as substitute Foster had an effort fly wide and soon afterwards he volleyed in a third goal from the edge of the six-yard box.

Latics had defended valiantly with ten-men but the difference in class between the two sides was for all to see.

Maloney will now have the difficult task of trying to regroup his troops and raise morale for Tuesday night’s fixture against Coventry City at the DW Stadium.


Latics were second best in this fixture against a very strong Burnley team who will be playing in the Premier League next season.

The gap in quality was clear from the kick off – a team buoyed with parachute payments and some highly paid loan signings – against a League One bound team lacking in confidence and psychologically drained by a fourth late wage payment.

Credit should go to Latics players for their effort and commitment but following Omar Rekik’s irresponsible second yellow card the result was never really in doubt.

Off the field matters continue to escalate badly. The club held a fans forum this week which painted a positive picture going forward. But on Friday at midnight the owners released a press statement saying that the staff hadn’t been paid for the fourth time and now risked a three point penalty from the EFL.

The fans have previously been fed superficial or misleading answers to important questions about the club’s finances and stability.

It now seems that Phoenix 2021 Ltd have liquidity issues which could be masking even more serious issues about the owner Mr Al Jasmi’s ability to fund the club. 

It is clear that the poor football decisions and financial mistakes by the ownership have put the club in a precarious position.

  • The sacking of Leam Richardson and the appointment of the inexperienced Kolo Toure and the associated costs of both sackings.
  • The limited player investment when the club were promoted from League One.
  • The four late salary payments in nine months, due to liquidity issues, which is likely to result in a three point deduction from the EFL and which could effectively relegate the club.

Chairman Talal Al Hammad bizarrely attempted to ease the fans’ worries using an AI-generated statement (via @slacktheplanet) on Saturday night.

Despite such reassurances, after being let down by the owner’s before, the fans fear the club will go into a second administration in the space of three years.

Post match comments

Speaking afterwards Shaun Maloney said,

“It’s been a difficult 48 hours or so. In terms of on the pitch I was super proud of the last half hour.

“Once you go down to ten men they are a very difficult team to play against and the players and supporters showed resilience. There’s pride, which is not always the case after a 3-0 defeat, but [there] definitely was today.

On club’s wages problem: “The lead-up to the game and preparation definitely affected not just the players but the support, staff, stadium staff and training ground, so it was an emotional couple of days, very difficult.

“It’s a position I don’t think any of us expected to be in so it’s really difficult. It was difficult to train and prepare – the things off the pitch become bigger.

“For the last half hour the fans sang after me and the team and for what the players gave I am super-proud.

“When the CEO relayed it to us and the players it was the same reason they put in the statement. We’re hoping it’s a short-term situation.”

Player ratings

Player ratings courtesy of


About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in Burnley, Championship, Lyle Foster, Nathan Tella, Shaun Maloney, Wigan Athletic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Desperate times both on and off the pitch for Wigan Athletic – Burnley 3 Wigan Athletic 0

  1. Matches against the likes of Burnley don’t define the season, but another defeat is demoralising for the players. Off the field matters have obviously affected the quality of squad available to Richardson, Toure, and now Maloney. At least we can have a relegation party on the 15th of April!

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.