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Match Report: Barnsley 0-4 Wigan Athletic

Wigan kicked off their return to the Championship with an away day trip to Barnsley. One of the in form teams at the close of last season, on paper it looked easy, off it you felt that we could get caught out if the lads didn't stand up and perform to the level that they should do.

Matthew Lewis

Owen Coyle stood in the dug out for his first game, and the face of the Scotsman was one of content. The new look Wigan side that he now leads into the Championship now had a fairly English/British feel to it with five English players starting, along with three Scottish internationals. That could be the key to any success we have in the Championship this season, players who know what the English second tear is all about.

Barnsley know all to well how hard a league it can be, and last season if it wasn't for a resurgent second half of the season then they wouldn't be facing Wigan today. They knew a high intensity was need but could they keep it up for long to go stride for stride with the Latics.

For the first half an hour even team could have gotten that opening goal, Wigan the first to come close. Shaun Maloney looking to get his goal scoring account open, but his low driven shot was saved well by the legs of Luke Steele. At the other end some scrappy defending for the new look back line at Wigan meant that Barsnely were only a tap in away from scoring; luckily the ball was cleared for a corner.

Eventually the passing and possession game we all know so well came through. The ball being worked well down the left meant Stephen Crainey could find a floating Ben Watson in space in the middle of the park, the midfielder looked up and curled the ball into the bottom corner of the net to make it 1-0.

That was how the half ended, just as the Latics were going up through the gear, so Barnsley would be happy to go in at half time and hopefully regroup and get back into the game.

Unfortunately for them, we were in no mood to take our foot of the gad and went at them from the start. James McArthur getting in on goal, yet his shot was well saved. The next attack did produce a goal though, a cross come shot from Emerson Boyce into the box managed to hit the forward running Grant Holt. The deflection took the ball into the net and opened Grant Holt's account for the season.

2-0 down and Bransley needed to change things on came former Bayern Munich player Dale Jennings. It was however going to be a short afternoon for the player as a flying high stooded challenge on James McArthur left the referee with only one decision a straight red card.

Down to ten men and it wasn't looking good for Barnsley now. Owen Coyle making two changes to Wigan as off cames James McArthur and Jean Beausejour for Chris McCann and Callum McManaman. McManaman the player many Wigan fans hope can spur us on to success.

With ten minutes to go, Wigan managed to double their advantage, two goals before the end of the 90 minutes. The first goals was a swerving corner from Shaun Maloney which fell to the feet of new defensive signing Leon Barnett. There was only going to be one result, his first goal for the club.

Then in the 88th minutes Shaun Maloney turned goalscorer. A magnificent series of passes and wonderful possession of the ball from Wigan gave Marc-Antoine Fortune the chance to run the channel before rolling the ball across the goal for Shaun to turn it home.

The final whistle went and it was a good day for the Lancastrians, and one to forget for the Yorkshire men who hope this isn't going to be a repeat of last season.