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Match Report: Wigan Athletic 2-2 Reading

Well that was, anyone have a word to describe it? The start of the season is always full of anti-climaxes, and this was an anti-climax to beat them all. A Wigan team which is clearly a few competitive games of hitting their stride clung onto an undefeated start thanks to a last gasp James McArthur goal.

Michael Steele

A glorious sunny day we had yesterday full of hope and promise, much like the start of each new league season, even teams who always sit in the middle of the table believe that for one day they could go on and win the title. Yesterday we all felt would be the start of a new era at Wigan Athletic, weren't we emphatically told to keep our feet on the ground.

A very experimental team was first of all chosen by Uwe Rosler. Not that he had much choice, with Shuan Maloney not yet fit and Roger Espinoza becoming injured the day before the game. That meant that Don Cowie and Emyre Huws would be thrown into the action straight away at the club in a midfield three with James McArthur, who himself is not a 100%.

The defensive structure also looked weak and sloppy and within six minutes of the game starting Reading nearly took advantage of that. Emmerson Boyce, the ever dependable, sliced his clearance and it fell to the on rushing Reading attacker Pavel Pogrebnyak who cut it back to Ryan Edwards. The shot which followed was well saved by the Scott Carson and get the scores level.

What followed was a very typical seasonal opener both teams compressed the ball in the middles and looked to get use to playing a competitive game again. Wigan looked to begin to edge the contest and it became clear that if we managed to get Callum McManaman or Huws on the ball then we looked decent enough to carve open a chance.

27 minutes in that is just what happened. James Perch playing an exquisite ball over the top of the Reading defense saw Callum put on his change of pace and race clear of the Reading backline, through on goal Adam Federici was out quick and denied Callum. Marytn Waghorn picked up the ball and his shot was blocked, before the ball then dropped back to the feet of Callum who lifted the ball into the back of the net.

1-0 and you wondered if we would push on. Instead we seems to flounder about and look lost with being in the lead. The rest of the half limped on, and Wigan took the lead at the break. Was it right, possibly thanks to the Callum moment of brilliance.

Well half time with the gaffer and surely Wigan would come out firing. It was the complete opposite.

The defense managed to more or less completely disappear from the game. This left Reading with the chance to get at our goal and try and get back into the game. We were holing out quite well, that was until Nigel Adkins played his hand and brought on new signing Simon Cox and Danny Gutherie. The substitution changed the game.

From being one 1-0 down on the 70th minute Reading went 2-1 up by the 80th. The first goal was a long range effort from Shaun Cummings. The player picking the ball up centrally in front of the goal and finding space to have a shot, the ball travelling through players legs and with the pace it left Scott Carson flapping at air.

The goalkeeper would have wanted to have done better, but with the amount of saves he had already made by this point to keep us in the game, there was not much we could complain at him for.

The second goal though was nothing to do with poor goalkeeping, instead the defense pretty much left Carson on his own to deal with the Reading attack. A free kick was drifted into the box and the ball was headed back across the box by Alex Pearce to the unmarked and waiting Sean Morrison who made it 2-1 to Reading.

The Royals were good money for their lead and they kept the pressure on the Wigan goal. Even the introduction of Marc Antoine Fortune and Shaun Maloney had little affect to how the side was performing and it looked like this was heading towards an opening day defeat for the Latics.

Yet with one minute of injury time, a long ball down field by Emyre Huws for the first time all game managed to find our new striker Oriol Riera and he head the ball on towards a charging James McArthur. The Scottish International who had covered every blade of grass during the game had enough energy to burst into the Reading box to head the ball home and grab a late late equalizer.

Very early for us to be playing our get out of jail card but somehow we managed to get a point from a game where we deserved nothing more than a defeat.