The 12th Man - Substitutes Lead The Way
This weeks Wigan Evening Post 12th Man feature has two contributions from Vital Latics, here are the unedited versions:
The Substitutes Impressed
It was going to be a walk over last Saturday, Charlton were just there for the ride, or at least that's what I thought. The last time I was so confident of a win we got turned over away at Doncaster, that's what makes football the game we love, results are difficult to forecast and games can be real thrillers.
Strong winds and horizontal rain didn't make for the best playing conditions, when we went behind in the third minute it was always going to be tough to get back into the game, Charlton defended deep and in numbers, we struggled with the conditions but stuck to the task, pressed and pressed and eventually got the break through with just two minutes to spare, then bagged the winner right at the death.
Rosler's substitutes did the business for him, Josh McEachran came on and had an impressive debut, he looked to have real quality on the ball and his pass to send fellow sub, Marc-Antoine Fortune through for the equalising goal was sublime, reminiscent of Jordi Gomez's through ball to McManaman at Wembley in the FA cup semi-final, talking of Gomez, he smashed home the winner just 14 minutes after coming off the bench.
Gomez, like McEachran and Fortune made a real impact when he came on, he played like he had a point to prove, strong in challenges, excellent on the ball as always and he drew the free kick on the edge of the box as the game drew to a close.
Gomez executed his free kick in real style, curling the ball around the outside of the defensive wall and in at the near post leaving the Charlton keeper clutching at air, two moments of quality won us the game, I couldn't help but feel a little for Charlton, they almost did a job on us, but in the end persistence paid off.
Two tough trips over the boarder coming up in the next seven days, Huddersfield on Saturday and a Tuesday night visit to Sheffield top play our rearranged fixture against Wednesday, I am not going to do any predicting full of bravado as that will surely come back to haunt me, but what I will say is that with just nineteen games remaining we really need to stay in touch with the pack.
Seven points and four places off a play-off spot, with two games in hand, on paper it looks very much achievable but the teams directly above us look in very similar form to ourselves, it is going to be tough, exciting and we'll need to hold our nerve, one thing is for sure though, there will be a few more twists and turns before this season is out.
One Of Those Day's
It was certainly looking like one of those days on Saturday, it was a cold wet miserable afternoon. Every bounce of the ball went their way in the early stages, 50:50 situations in which neither player controlled the ball, they all seemed to be dropping straight at the feet of Charlton players. We'd intercept a pass, but it would bounce right back to one of their players. A hurried interception in midfield, designed to simply prevent us breaking, turned out to be a perfect through ball for the opening goal. Players would look to make a run, and just as they decided not to, the ball would be played into the space, making the pass look poor. Almost everything was going wrong, clearly nobody plugged in a kettle, as if they had, the floodlights would have fused.
Half time brought with it a sense of hope, though that might have been more to do with the cup of warm coffee and an effective roof. I spoke to a few fellow supporters who also weren't so sure if the Charlton effort that hit the bar also crossed the line. Maybe things weren't so bad after all. And so it proved.
It's not just the fact we picked up the points that counts, it's the manner in which we got them. Fight and desire, with a touch of class, right through to the bitter end. It's kept us just on track for the season, and even though it will take more effort and determination to get into the playoffs, we can certainly make it. I for one wouldn't rule out being back at our favourite away ground again this May.
They do say that statistics can be made to show whatever you like. I sent a copy of the match stats to a colleague and Brighton supporter that suggested we got lucky. He simply sent me back a pie chart detailing the time each team led the game for. You won't get fat eating the sliver that represented Wigan being in the lead.