Latics left to rue lack killer instinct
DW Stadium, Wigan
Prior to the game Roberto Martinez had sounded the rallying call to fight for every point and onn tonight's first half performamnce it appeared to have been taken to heart by a Wigan team showing just one chnge from the team that hung on for a draw at Sunderland.
The change was a surprise one, with the inclusion of Scotland at the expense of Thomas with Rodallega dropping back to the left wing and Scotland playing the lone striker .
For the first half it worked a treat with Scotland , who never looked like scoring holding the ball up when played to his feet and allowing the two wingers along with Scharner and Mc Carthy to push forward in support.
So dominant was Wigan's first half that the only disquiet at the half time was that there was only one goal to show for an excellent team effort in which all the starting eleven played their part.
The lone goal came for a superb header from Scharner and it was a just reward for a tremendous performance from the Austrian who is still being linked with a free transfer at the end of the season.
As with last Saturday's game Latics emerged a very different side in the second half, appearing hesitant on the ball with too many passes going astray and the team seemingly content to sit back and try and defend a one goal lead hoping to catch Stoke on the break.These chances were few and far between with an overhead from Rodallega which landed on the top of the net the only noteworthy opportunity.
The key moments came when Martinez elected to make two substitutions, the first replacing the limping McCarthy with Thomas seemed logical but the second replacing Scotland in his best Wigan performance of the season with the constantly underperforming and ineffectual Gomez mistified the Wigan fans.
This change allowed Stoke to further seize the iniative and they poured through midfield constantly putting the Wigan back four under pressure with their physical style of play .
The Latics centre halves were immense espicially Bramble whose battles with Sidibe and Fuller were worth the admission alone.
Stoke's most dangerous player was Tuncay, a player ironically who Martinez is believed to have turned down the opportunity to sign in the summer and it was no surprise when Stoke's constant pressure paid off and the lively Turkish international headed past Kirkland from an Etherington cross.
Once again Latics heads appeared to drop and even with the introduction of Martins they rarely looked like exerting any pressure on the Stoke goal, except for a wayward shot from the Bolivian and a couple of weaving runs from N'Zogbia.
Stoke looked far more dangerous and appeared to believe that they were the home side and Sidibe hit the bar and then Beattie was through with only Kirkland to beat but the keeper pulled off a magnificent save,
The full time whistle brought more murmerings of discontent from the Wigan crowd at what was only their seventh point in the last thirty and extends their record to one win in their last ten.