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Match Report: Wigan Athletic 2-3 Swansea City

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At half time of this match I was visualizing an article which would show the rise of the club from the face of adversity, and the character shown by our players to fight long and hard for their Premier League place. By the 90 minute mark, I was wondering if there was any point talking about the game.

Michael Regan

Changes from the weekend’s game against West Bromwich Albion were non-compulsory. Someone had to come in for the injured Jean Beausejour, while Jordi Gomez’s below par performance was worth of the player being dropped.

So with that in mind, Gary Caldwell, Roger Espionza and James McArthur came in for Beasujour and Gomez and for Ronnie Stamm. The full back had a poor game against West Brom, but sometimes needs must and the player for his role in the team must be used. As it was we started better than we had against the Baggies. Swansea not really fighting for anything didn’t have much of a presence in the opening spell. The Latics crowd right behind our players and we tried to urge them on. Correctly though, the players didn’t rush and instead tried to work the ball about.

It paid off at time, and we were unlucky when the ball was worked well to a player in the wide positions, only for the final ball to lack that cutting edge of quality. How much has that been our season this year?

Down our end and those silly defence mistakes were still present. Gary Caldwell the culprit with a mixture of sloppy passing a poor defence choices. The first was to flick a ball back to keeper Joel following a tackle. The keeper having no option but to dive on the ball, and an indirect free-kick on eight yards out was the result. Luckily for us the Welsh team were practicing their conversion kicks, as Ashley Williams sent the ball a good ten yards over the goal.

A warning and did we heed it? Well Swansea were lacking their attacking edge. So it was with the game poised at 0-0 that the game was coming to half time. With 30 seconds to go, Roger Espionza looked to have grabbed what could have been a vital goal and his first for the club.

The ball coming in from the right was only half cleared by Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal, and Espionza had the time to watch the ball come down and volley into the net past the keeper before he had a chance to react. 1-0 and it was probably a fair reflection of the game so far.

So second half we needed to come out strong and fighting full of vigour and energy. I wished I was watching the wrong team. Wigan sat back, and back, and back. Swansea allowed time and space on the ball and no wonder they managed to pick us off and get the goals they did.

Their first of the evening coming inside the first five minutes of the half, Angel Rangel being picked out over the top of the Wigan defence, the defender himself had achers of space to volley the ball into the goal off the post.

Shock was the word of the fans and the players. But you felt that it was going to come after we had sat back and allowed them to attack us. Could we react, well we could as we got ourselves back in the lead, James McCarthy scoring off a lovely ball through from Gary Caldwell.

The game was back on, could we keep our heads. We could for all of seven minutes. Gary Caldwell committing himself too easily, then the Scottish international failed to clear the block from Paul Scharner’s block; Shetcher sweeping the ball in, yet again hitting the post.

That was it then. You felt that we had lost the game as the heads went down and the Swans were in full flow and control of the game. The third Swansea goal took a while to come, but Wigan were all over the place before and after Tiendalli managed to slot home, after yet another Gary Caldwell error.

No wonder the defender hasn’t been playing, this time Gary actually managed to miss the ball completely; before the Tiendalli managed to get onto the ball and power it home. It was all over you could feel there was nothing we could do. A free-kick form Shaun Maloney saw Paul Scharner, Ben Davies and Michel Vorm all go up for the ball. At the same time down went the Swansea keeper and defender. Davies was able to eventually get to his feet, yet Vorm was in a worse state and in the end was stretchered off.

At the same time Wigan brought on Ronnie Stamm and Jordi Gomez. Stamm would only last two minutes; a seemly innocuous challenge saw the full back hobble to the side-line and stay down. He would not return to the pitch. Yet another defender out injured? It very much looks like it.

In the dying minutes even though we had the ball camped in the Swansea half, we couldn’t find a third goal. Swansea in the end carved out the best chance with Nathan Dyer in the middle of the goal on his own looking to score. Joel was straight out to it and blocked the ball away.

In a game we had to, needed to, must win. We lost and lost in the worse possible way; by giving up the fight and losing our spirit and fight.