Report: Wigan Athletic 1-0 Swindon Town

Town may have a new manager on Tuesday, but supporters made the trip to Lancashire to watch another defeat, writes Anthony Gingell…

Saturday saw an unchanged XI, with a 4-4-1-1 still being played.

Within two minutes Town are looking ropey and panicking in this third full 25,000 capacity stadium. Wigan pressed Town high up the pitch, straight from their kick off, leaving the Swindon players in a state of shock. The only really treat for Swindon was that they got off on this occasion, as the ball was fed from the Swindon right and whizzed past the Town ‘keeper and the incoming attackers. One touch and that would have been 1-0. Some last ditch defending by Adam El-Abd and James Brophy (playing left midfield) also kept the score goalless.

Town regrouped to play the football we’d been accustomed to last year. Ben Gladwin threaded the ball into Nicky Ajose’s path, but the forward is unable to get a clear shot away due to the defender making it difficult. He plays a one-two with Brophy and creates a wonderful chance for Anton Rodgers. His back foot slips preventing a header clean on goal; but gets his stance back only to blast over and wide from 8-yards.

Wigan are looking more like the team with a big budget. A through-ball putting Will Grigg (nemesis of many Swindon defences) one on one with Lawrence Vigouroux, however he puts the shot wide, thankfully for the 500 or so travelling fans.

The creation of any Swindon play is coming via Gladwin. He has a 25-yard shot over the bar after some neat play reminding me of Hoddle days where the ball goes from right to left comes back in and then the shot. Just a shame that this 12th minute shot ballooned over the crossbar.

The 24th minute was key to Swindon. The ball bounced favourably for Town. Gladwin skiped past the onrushing Latics defender on the half-way line and charges forward with Nicky Ajose in support. Gladwin makes good progress and many yards into the Wigan half. The Wigan players catch up so Ben slid the ball across to Nicky but it’s a tad wide. Ajose controls and feeds the ball back to Gladwin who with his first time effort hits the far post. The follow up play allows Gladwin to have a tame shot which was an easy save for the experienced Jussi Jääskeläinen.

This highlighted our other problem of a lack of pace in the team as Town were always being caught up and outpaced when defending and either shows incorrect positioning.

“Rodgers is rubbish..” shouted the crowd (or words to that effect). I thought he definitely needed some studs after continually slipping. He played a poor ball to Gladwin which is intercepted and rebounds to be about 2-yards from Anton. The most pathetic slide tackle you will ever see in your life then proceeds to happen where he touches the ball with his toes just to prod it to the Wigan player who caught up 10-yards already. Wigan then break and a cracking Bradley Barry tackle prevents anything occurring.

Vigouroux had to make a couple of saves before the break but nothing you wouldn’t expect from him before the half-time whistle is blown for 0-0. A good half in comparison to recent games but there are still some frailties being shown.

Town kicked off the second half and Wigan make their first sub on 54 minutes after the former Tranmere midfielder Max Power leaves the field for the Everton loanee Francisco Júnior. The obligatory 60th minute substitution occurs by Lee Power as Rodgers is replaced by Louis Thompson and Ajose is replaced by Jon Obika. These are straight replacements and no change to formation. We could take the game to the higher lined Wigan team if we had moved two up top. The one forward is not having enough support and allows the full backs to press on meaning Henrik Ojamaa and Brophy are pushed back.

Francisco Júnior is booked for a lunge on Gladwin who was making his way into the box on 65 minutes. The free-kick comes to nothing. Surely with a week’s practice we could really be making more of corners, crosses and set pieces? This argument was pointed out even further by the disastrous corner by Yaser Kasim on 68 minutes which went out for a throw having had no-one near the flight of the ball (home or away teams). Wigan’s final two substitutions are made at the throw. Some tinkering could work here… Maybe?? Has Lee Power thought the same as me? No – it’s Brophy getting replaced by Fabien Robert one minute later with Ojamaa now on the left and Robert on the right.

Ojamaa finally gets a cross in on 74 minutes. He fizzes the cross about 3-yards out but it evades the incoming Robert. Nearly a master stroke Mr Power. The resulting goal kick ends up being worked for a Wigan chance. Ojamaa is beaten on the wing; the attacker crosses the ball and the shot from Reece James is blocked on the line and luckily for Town his follow up is like Rodgers’ earlier effort – high over the bar.

Wigan’s next shot hits the corner flag and stays in play. The lump up the field ends up back in the home team’s possession and the attacker slips when taking a wild swing for the shot which ends up comically wide.

Town are trying hard and have two more wasted free kicks which down to frustration gets Gladwin a yellow when he kicks the ball away.

On 89 minutes Ojamaa puts the ball four yards wide after Jon Obika’s powerful run. It’s just an amazement that Henrik has had a shot in anger… Town made another break with 5 minutes of injury time announced. Gladwin crosses the ball but no one is at the back post and it goes out for a throw.

Vigouroux makes a save and holds onto the ball well. His resulting kick out does not go to plan as he slips. The Wigan attackers were not able to take advantage as it becomes a goal kick to Town. The keeper is then booked for time wasting.

Then in 90+6 minutes the ‘Halloween Heartbreak Horror’ show came to life. Vigouroux caught the ball and come to the ground. What the hell has happened down the far end of the pitch? The ball is now bouncing around and Francisco Júnior heads into the net.

Gutted… Was it a foul? Was it poor ‘keeping? I couldn’t see but the team have come on leaps and bounds since Blackpool and Millwall and should have got a point. We move onto the FA Cup and hope for a £18k windfall by beating Rochdale…

I will be there but am now going to retire from these reports as my record stands at: W0 D1 L6. Maybe I could be manager instead of reporter?

Let’s keep supporting our team as they are improving. Let’s get behind the new manager and hopefully we can be out of the relegation places before Christmas.

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