Wigan Athletic 1 - West Bromwich Albion 1

Date: Wednesday 11th December 2019 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Wigan:
5.5
Jones, Byrne (Sterling, 94), Kipre, Naismith, Robinson, Evans, Morsy, Jacobs (Roberts, 80), Windass (Garner, 85), Massey, Lowe
Unused subs: Gyollai, MacLeod, Pearce, Gelhardt
WBA:
4.9
(4-2-3-1) Johnstone 6.3, Ferguson 5.7 (Furlong, 60 5.6), Ajayi 6.3, Bartley 5.0, Townsend 5.8, Sawyers 5.8, Livermore 6.3, Phillips 5.8 (Pereira, 60 6.3), Krovinovic 5.7, Edwards 5.6, Austin 5.9 (Robson-Kanu, 60 6.3)
Unused subs: Bond, Barry, Hegazi, Diangana
Manager: Slaven Bilic 5.4
Scorers: Johnstone (50 og); Austin (59)
Referee: Andy Davies 4.3
Attendance: 9,444   Home Fans 3.6   Away Fans 6.3
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 9

Summary:

Typically, on the back of a run of six wins, Albion travelled to 23rd placed Wigan and were somewhat lucky to come away with a draw. With three games to play in six days, Slaven Bilic made four changes - dropping Grady Diangana, Matheus Pereira and Hal Robson-Kanu to the bench and bringing in Darnell Furlong for the injured Kieran Gibbs.

After a goalless first half in which Albion looked more like last season's team at times, overplaying at the back and allowing themselves to be pressured by their hosts, they looked better after the break but fell behind in slightly freakish fashion after five minutes to a long range strike from Sam Morsy that Sam Johnstone saved, only to see it drop down again and bounce into the net off his back.

But way more bizarre was Albion's equaliser. Latics keeper Jamie Jones appeared to be busy having a drink when Kal Naismith passed back to him and conceded an indirect free kick on the edge of the six yard box. A bit of a melee ensued as Wigan prevented Albion from taking it quickly, possibly just as well as it allowed Jake Livermore to tap it for Charlie Austin to drive home past the ten home players on the goal line.

Bilic immediately made a triple substitution, bringing on Pereira for Phillips and Robson-Kanu for Austin, but it failed to earn the three points they didn't really deserve anyway - and Albion remain in second place, level on points with Leeds but with one worse goal difference. Bizarrely, results elsewhere mean that the "automatic promotion" cushion to third place has grown by a point to eleven.

Brendan Clegg:

I think the positive we can take from that is we were pretty poor but still picked up an away point whilst giving some of our key players a rest.

I think you can make a fair argument that, unless you expect to win every game, the result just about vindicated Bilic’s decision to rest a number of players as well as deal with the enforced change of Gibbs.

First half we were disjointed as you’d expect - the partnerships weren’t there, Austin was trying to get involved but getting in the way and Krov/Sawyers kept swapping positions between the deep role and the number 10.

There were mistakes aplenty and I think we could’ve gone in 2 or 3 goals down - Wigan showing no belief or conviction with a couple of sitters and opportunities when they turned away from goal when clean through.

We started better after the break and it was a bit ironic that Wigan scored with a long ranger after we’d penned them in for 10 minutes.

Fortunately we got a gift when their keeper got caught not watching the match and picked up a back pass. The hard working but ineffective Austin made the finish look way easier than was, picking the only gap on the goal line of 11 men superbly.

Bilic has already made his mind up on subs and made all 3 straight after with HRK, Furlong and Pereira coming on.

We looked the team slightly more likely to win it - HRK holding it up better transformed Edwards from a passenger to a threat and Pereira giving us intelligent forward passes. That final pass just wouldn’t come off and as the game wound down the referee made some poor decisions and there was still time for Wigan to nearly nick it.

A point gained and we move on - hopefully we’ll be bit sharper in what’ll be another tough game against Blues on Saturday.

  • SJ - 6 Strange game, mistakes and poor kicking followed by great saves and nifty footwork. On repeat. The goal was a long way out and not right in the corner, his footwork looked slow to me.
  • Ferguson - 5 Poor by his standards. Concentration wasn’t there and got caught a couple of times.
  • Bartley - 6 Some whopping errors and some big blocks. Erratic.
  • Ajayi - 7 Not as solid as normal but still a decent game.
  • Townsend - 7 Quality and effort were great but given a tough time physically.
  • Livermore - 8 The passes were sometimes tired but his mobility, pressing and tackling were bang on it again. Still sprinting lung-busters in the 90th minute.
  • Sawyers - 6 Some good moments but a little patchy and didn’t control the game.
  • Phillips - 6 Was our only attacking option first half. Probably right to take him off instead of risking injury.
  • Krov - 6 Frustrating. Too often the safe pass but sometimes tries to play one touch in silly areas with players (like centre backs) who don’t want to be doing it. Better when subs came on.
  • Edwards - 6 Redeemed himself late on after some poor and weak play. Snatched at a couple of things when well positioned but it’ll come.
  • Austin - 5 Felt sorry for him that everything behind him lacked the cohesion to supply but he ended up in all the wrong areas trying to get on the ball.
  • Furlong - 6 Solid but didn’t get forward.
  • HRK - 6 Gave us something to build from and made it stick.
  • Pereira - 7 Started out wide but drifted everywhere and made things happen. Why were we letting anyone else near free kicks that were in his range?