Wigan Athletic started the game well and looked increasingly dangerous down the left side of the field: Jean Beausejour linking up with Roger Espinoza. However, it was the away side that took the lead after just eight minutes when Leon Barnett foolishly fouled Henri Lansbury on the edge of the area. Andy Reid (formerly of Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland) stepped up and took a superb free-kick that looped over the Wigan wall and in to the top left hand corner of Scott Carson’s net.
Last season, Wigan gained a reputation for playing well and going behind in games but this team looked different when they went a goal down. They continued to play their football and continued to put pressure on the Forest defence. And in the fourteenth minute Marc-Antoine Fortune received the ball just outside of the Forest box. He took on one defender before being brought down by Jack Hobbs (on loan from Hull City). There was no argument about the penalty and Shaun Maloney stepped up to put the ball in the back of the net. It was not the best penalty Maloney has taken, however, and the ball only just went under Karl Darlow’s arm to make the score 1-1.
The game carried on in the same vein and the Forest fans did not get to see the type of football that had won ten points out of a possible twelve this season and in the thirty fifth minute Jordi Gomez scored Wigan’s second goal of the game. The ball was kicked up field and Fortune expertly chested the ball down and ran through the middle of two Forest midfielders. He then took the opportunity to shoot from twenty five yards. The ball flew towards the top corner of the net but Darlow managed to get his fingertips to the ball and push it on to the crossbar. The ball came back off the crossbar and in to the path of Gomez who coolly placed the ball past the already grounded Forest ‘keeper. 2-1 to Wigan and fully deserved.
The second half was completely different to the first and Forest perked up and put a lot more pressure on the Wigan defence. Reid headed over after Eric Lichaj put in a perfect cross and later on Jamie Mackie headed over the bar by an inch. The new partnership of Thomas Rogne and Leon Barnett was working a treat for Coyle’s men and they held out until the final whistle which confirmed their second win of the season.
Wigan Athletic should be extremely happy after Saturday’s game due to the fact that they won, conceded only one goal, and looked absolutely solid at the back. The five changes that Coyle made had the desired impact: Beausejour looked a much better left back than Stephen Crainey and Roger Espinoza worked hard for an hour until he ran out of steam. Furthermore, Thomas Rogne won everything in the defence and he added more height to the Latics’ back four.
The man of the match was Marc-Antoine Fortune. He worked hard, held the ball up, and created both Wigan goals. Fortune was a handful for the opposition and caused more problems than Grant Holt has been doing
Wigan’s formation was not solid enough and Coyle needs to tackle this if he wants to start keeping clean sheets in games.