Wigan Athletic vs Middlesbrough: Match Report

Alex Livesey

The second of three home games on the bounce, and Wigan were looking to build on their improved second half performance against Doncaster. Play to that high standard and tempo and you felt that we could beat anyone in the league, so long as the defensive mistakes were cut out.

The team that started against Doncaster saw a few changes, that meant James McArthur, Jean Beausejour and Marc-Antoine Fortune came in from the injured Shaun Maloney, James McClean and Ben Watson. A line up fro success? Well with out Maloney we looked to have lost our edge and struggled at times consequently.

The players had a better understanding of what they write doing than on Tuesday night. The great cohesion of the team was there for all to see and the introduction of Marc-Antoine Fortune gave us some added guile up front. Grant Holt so far yet to hit the heights of form we all felt he could.

Yet with a partner up front to help control the ball and work it towards the goal we seemed to flow more freely. Yet it wasn't Holt who was threatening. Fortune was able to break into the box on several times and we should have had a penalty following a push on the player ten minutes in.

The fans in up roar and the players responded as we turned up the heat and the pressure on the North-East team. Eventually that pressure told and yet again the man of the game broke free and Fortune was in the box and yet again fouled, this time though the referee pointed to the spot and Grant Holt was able to have is first shot on goal of the day.

The striker stepping up and managed to send the keeper completely the wrong way as he slotted the ball coolly into the corner of the net. 1-0 and it was much deserved by an improved Wigan side.

Yet Boro were not ones to lie down and were back on the prowl.

Scott Carson had to be on his best, first for a curling shot heading into the corner of the goal as Middlesbrough's big striker Lukas Jutkiewicz forced a wonderful save out of the keeper. The second was a leg save at the near post to keep Wigan in the lead.

With only second remaining of the half though, the Wigan back door swung open and allowed Boro to get back on level terms. George Friend beating James McArthur on the Wigan right, was fouled but carried on to everyone's surprise before firing the ball home into the goal.

Not the score line we were hoping for.

Second half and we had gone back to our old ways. Poor passing and even sloppier defending.

Stephen Crainey the culprit this time, he allowed Albert Adomah getting the better of the full back and yet again the legs of Scot Carson saved our blushes. They wouldn't save us again as time after time Crainey was beat for pace and understanding on the pitch which you felt would eventually tell.

On 74 minutes it did as Adomah beat his man again and managed to cross the ball right across the face of goal for Grant Leadbitter to poke between the legs of the Wigan keeper Carson as yet again we went behind in a game.

The changes came and the introductions of James McClean and Roger Espionza paid dividends. The two were inspired and were weaving magic all over the pitch. McClean working hard down the right side of the pitch with the ball looking for space, while Roger was in the middle with his industrious running style we all love to see.

Much like the Doncaster game a freekick would be the defining point. Espionza bursting through at the Middlesbrough defense was brought down on the edge of the box. That meant that our third substitute Jordi Gomez had a chance to get a goal and continue to impress Owen Coyle.

The Spaniard who's free kick are usually all about curl and whip, let the Wigan fans into a treat. The midfielder smashed the ball right down the middle of the goal, wrong footing keeper and defense as the ball flew into the net and gave Wigan and all important draw and point from the game.

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