Wigan Athletic were expected to make it two wins out of two at Dean Court but were defeated by a well organised, hardworking Bournemouth side who were given a little bit of help by a certain James Perch.
Right from kick-off it seemed that Eddie Howe’s side were up for a fight against the FA Cup winners as Lewis Grabban intercepted a stray pass from James McArthur and put the ball through the legs of the Wigan ‘keeper, Scott Carson, only to see the ball cleared off the line by McArthur himself. Grabban also saw an ambitious overhead kick travel just wide of the post within the first fifteen minutes of the game.
The first half was coming to an end and it seemed that the score-line would be 0-0 at half-time. But the scorer of all four of Bournemouth’s goals this season, Lewis Grabban, broke the deadlock in the 43rd minute. Wigan defender James Perch won the ball ten yards within the opposition’s half and passed the ball backwards towards his goalkeeper, Carson. The pass, however, was a sloppy pass that was not hit with enough force to even make it halfway to Carson and Grabban perched onto the mistake. Grabban took the ball into the Wigan box, rounded Carson and slotted home to make the score 1-0 going into half-time.
As the second half started, it was clear to see that Bournemouth were still dominating the game and were creating the most clear cut chances. This was made worse by Jean Beausejour early in the second half as he missed the ball in an attempt to clear from just inside the 18-yard box and clattered into Pitman. A penalty was given by referee Graham Scott. Brett Pitman stepped up for Bournemouth and hit a low, hard shot to Carson’s left. A decent penalty. Carson dived to his left and saved the penalty brilliantly. Now, surely it was time for Wigan Athletic to kick on and show their fans the kind of football they showed at Barnsley just two weeks ago. James McClean and Callum McManaman were brought on to offer a little more attacking prowess but within five minutes McManaman was sent off. He went in hard on Brett Pitman and, although he won the ball, both of his feet were off the ground therefore putting Pitman in danger of getting hurt. Pandemonium ensued: McManaman started shouting obscenities at Bournemouth’s players, James McClean became very angry and began making unnecessary challenges, and Owen Coyle had a strong word with the fourth official. For around ten minutes after this sending off the Wigan team were not in the right mind set to be playing a football match. Ben Watson made a few silly challenges and nothing seemed to be going right for the Latics.
However, Wigan started to play the type of football we know they can play with ten minutes to go. Leon Barnett had a free header cleared off the line from a rare Shaun Maloney corner and the Wigan team seemed to want to attack Ryan Allsop’s goal for the first time in the match. Unfortunately, it was not to be as Wigan could not find a goal and Bournemouth won the match 1-0.
The man of the match was Scott Carson as he dealt with a lot of nonsense that could have easily been avoided if the outfield players had been a little more awake. He saved early on from Grabban, expertly kept Pitman out from the penalty spot, he was alive to the danger of a quick free-kick late on in the game and dealt with a dodgy pass back from Emmerson Boyce with ten minutes to go.
Overall, however, Wigan were disappointing. The new formation (4-3-3) just isn’t working. Maloney is wasted out on the wing (he should be playing just behind the striker). The set pieces taken by Wigan are awful: the corners are floated to the back post and are then headed back into the box which is ineffective if it is done every time whilst Watson’s corners and free kicks are diabolical. We do not have a player that we can rely on every time to put in a killer corner, free kick, or cross and Coyle desperately need to sort this out before the transfer window closes.
Wigan play Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night. Maybe they can show what they are made of then in a must win game.