Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Sunday February 2 2014
Latics ran out winners, eventually, in a game played in atrocious conditions at the DW Stadium, late goals from Marc-Antoine Fortune and Jordi Gomez gave the Latics the points after Marvin Sordell had put Charlton ahead with a third minute strike.
The game started off in the worst possible way for the Latics against a side that had lost their goalkeeper, central midfield man and leading goalscorer to outgoing transfers in the build up to the game and their right back due to suspension. Jean Beausejour's loose ball into midfield was picked up by Charlton and fed through to Sordell who easily outpaced the Latics back line and slotted past Al Habsi with aplomb, 0-1.
Shortly after the goal Charlton lost left back Rhoys Williams who injured himself trying to tackle Callum McManaman, his replacement Harry Lennon had a bit more pace about him and was cutting out our threat down the right side.
With both McManaman and McClean playing the Latics were attacking down the flanks, but it was the odd occasion when we attacked through the middle that we looked most dangerous, it was clear to see why Charlton keeper Yohann Thuram-Ulien had been their third choice up until last week, dodgy wasn't the word, but with crosses into the box we weren't testing the shotstopper as the centre backs were cutting the threat out, only when we probed from midfield did we look dangerous and McManaman was unfortunate to see his effort, set up by Chris McCann cannon back off the bar.
Charlton themselves had a couple of chances too in the first half, Reza Ghoochannejhad, who only joined the Addicks during the week, had a long range dipping effort that smacked the underside of the bar and bounced away to safety, also Sorvell found himself through on goal with only Al Habsi to beat and a team mate unmarked square, the striker though fluffed his lines and the ball was cleared.
The weather was atrocious and didn't improve any in the second half, driving rain and a strong wind playing havoc with the ball and also, apparently the assistant referee's vision. A Ben Watson free kick was knocked McManaman who hit a drive into the area, Nicky Maynard swivelled and hit a shot off a defender that flew into the bottom corner of the goal, only for the assistant to wrongly raise his flag for off-side. Was it going to be one of those days?
Rösler mad a double substitution McCann and Maynard off, Fortune and, making his Latics debut, Josh McEachran on. The tempo of the Latics attack raised considerably, McEachran looking a class player, comfortable on the ball, strong in the tackle and a good eye for a pass, we now started to attack more through the middle, but our finishing was wayward against a very unconventional and not very good keeper.
Both James McClean and Emmerson Boyce should have done better at the far post when on separate occasions they got free of their marker only to headed wide, then James McClean saw an effort deflected wide for a corner. Charlton were defending with great spirit as the Latics were pouring all over them, Jordi Gomez came on for James McArthur with 15 minutes left and the classy Spaniard was soon creating chances from the advanced midfield birth.
With just two minutes left on the clock and Latics looking likely to end the game with nothing everything was turned on its head. McEachran picked the ball up and played it to Watson, who fed McEachran again as the youngster moved through the midfield, Fortune started to make a run through the middle and the Latics number four thread the ball through the Charlton defence into Fortune's path, the big striker stroked the ball into the far bottom corner, 1-1.
Any thoughts that the Latics would settle for the point were quickly dismissed as they pressed for the winner, Gomez had the ball 20 yards out and invited a challenge from a Charlton defender and won a free kick, with 90 minutes on the clock Gomez strode up and curled a delightful free kick round the outside of the Charlton wall and into the bottom corner, 2-1.
Four minutes stoppage time came and went, at the final whistle I couldn't help feel a little for Charlton, but the joy of two late goals and three points soon quashed that feeling.
Date:Sunday February 2 2014
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