Date:Sunday October 27 2013
Thanks in part to a fantastic £6 offer, a good following of around 800 made the trip to Charlton to see Latics attempt to return to winning ways after the disappointment of Blackpool away.
We can only assume that Owen Coyle was sick and tired of Latics losing away after 3 back to back away defeats, as he named a defensive lineup. Carson was injured in the warm up so Lee Nicholls made his league debut for the club. The tried and tested back four of Boyce, Rogne, Barnett and Perch was predictable, but McCann kept his place in midfield alongside Watson at the expense of a right winger, with McArthur slightly on the right of centre and a gap on the right. Powell lined up in the midfield also, leaving McClean wide left and Holt up front alone. You could hear the groans in the crowd at a lineup that was unadventurous.
In the first half it took Latics a long time to get going and when they did there was very little to note. There were far too many misplaced passes, with Watson the key culprit and on a couple of occasions we were left hanging on. A brilliant clawed save by Nicholls from Wood was the closest Charlton came and young Lee will be sure to remember that one. One another occasion Pritchard had an excellent chance to score when he was found in space and with time inside the box but he side footed tamely over. Wigan's attacking play was far too repetitive, endless passes to a crowded-out McClean, or aerial balls in to Holt who was winning his fair share but had no support to utilise. The half time whistle was met by murmurs of discontent from the travelling fans. Charlton without looking particularly good had been the better side in a poor half.
To our great relief, from the start of the second half it was a completely different game. Powell pushed forward and started to cause problems. And suddenly we looked a threat. There was much more urgency about our play and we created a number of chances, although we looked a little vulnerable on the break. Sadly our finishing was woeful as player after player snatched at their chances. Without doubt the best attempt was a powerful header from my man of the match McCann from a corner that smacked firmly against the underside of the bar.
McClean, who although willing had offered little, was replaced by McManaman on to the left before switching to the right when Espinoza came on (to a heroes welcome) for Watson and finally we had a natural shape. Sure Espinoza wasn't playing as a winger but he provided an outlet on the left giving us a more balanced attacking threat. Powell was a growing influence on the game but will be disappointed with his final touches and finishing. On one impressive bursting Powell run Espinoza pulled the trigger and shot well wide just as Powell looked to shoot himself to highlight that Espinoza isn't quite the footballing messiah that some might believe. But the Honduran's urgency and unpredictability gave us a boost and surely he has a lot to offer at this level. Holt, who was persistently fouled all game and increasingly wound-up, came off for Fortune with 15 minutes remaining and, similarly to the Rubin game, Fortune looked lively and a hand-full though less able to win the aerial battles and short on finishing.
The game ended as an open affair with Latics looking the more likely but Charlton proving a threat on the counter, repeatedly thwarted by an excellent defensive performance from Barnett, Rogne and Boyce. Given what we'd seen in the first half the Latics supporters left the game feeling we could and should have won the match after an impressive turnaround, but also wondering what might have happened had we not have approached the game in such a negative way. As Coyle mentioned in his post match interview, sooner or later our talented footballers will start taking their chances. Lets hope it's sooner.
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Date:Sunday October 27 2013
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