2019/20: An Incredible Journey. Match Day 20 – Tuesday 28 January 2020: Wigan Athletic v Sheffield Wednesday

Another night game – I do love going to watch games under the floodlights, and this one was only about an hour down the road at the DW Stadium in Wigan.

Matchday programme cover

Wigan were formed in 1932, the same year as my Dad was born and spent most of their early life in non-league football. They earned election to the league in the days before automatic promotion and relegation, which was not introduced until 1987. The Latics actually finished in second place in the Northern Premier League in the 1977/78 season, behind Champions Boston United. However, Boston’s ground and facilities did not meet the Football League criteria for a League club, whereas Springfield Park, the then home of Wigan did. They replaced Southport (another ground to visit on the list) for the start of the 1978/79 season. The club languished in the lower echelons of the professional leagues up until the mid-90s. Then in 1995 the club was taken over by former professional footballer and local businessman Dave Whelan (he played for Blackburn Rovers, including an appearance in the 1960 FA Cup, when he broke his leg and later, Crewe Alexandra), famous for the JJB Sports empire. He put together a plan for the club to reach the Premier League which they finally achieved in 2005 and unexpectedly remained until their zenith of the FA Cup Final win over Manchester City in 2013. However, that same season they were sadly also relegated and have remained either in the Championship or League One since. As I write, the club has become embroiled in controversy, as at the start of July 2020, less than a month after a change of ownership, the Club announced it had gone into administration.

The Latics moved from Springfield Park to the DW Stadium for the start of the 1999/2000 season and it is also home to the town’s Rugby League team the Wigan Warriors. I opted for a seat in the Springfield Stand on the west side of the ground on a night when the conditions kept the attendance to under 10,000, but my overall impression was that it was a tidy ground.

Handshakes before kick-off

It was a quiet start to proceedings with the first real chance not coming until about twenty five minutes in, when Wigan’s Antonee Robinson had space in the box but fired over and wide as Wednesday ‘keeper Cameron Dawson advanced out to close him down. Just five minutes later it was the visitors Sheffield Wednesday who nearly went in front. Poor defending from The Latics in giving away possession provided an opportunity for The Owls Newcastle United loanee, Josh Murphy, however much to the relief of the home fans after a driving run, the forward dragged his effort wide. Wednesday though went ahead on thirty-two minutes, Morgan Fox got out wide and his cross was headed in by Murphy who out-muscled his marker on the edge of the six-yard box. Samy Morsy responded for the home side with a shot from 35 yards which Dawson did well to push away. Just before the break, The Owls had another good chance, when from a knock-down, Fox fired wide from the edge of the area. At the half-time whistle, the visitors held a 1-0 advantage.

The home fans didn’t have to wait too long to have something to cheer in the second-half, when on fifty-six minutes, Wigan levelled. After good hold-up play a ball into the box found Keiffer Moore who did well to control and then turn and fire home despite pressure from The Owls defender Julian Borner. With their tails up after the goal Wigan went in search of a second goal. A good chance came with about fifteen minutes remaining as Cedric Kipre broke into the box following a corner, but his effort lacked power and Dawson was able to save comfortably at his near post. More opportunities came as the game entered the closing stages. Michael Jacobs had a glorious chance to put Wigan ahead from a Jamal Lowe cut back but The Owls ‘keeper Dawson saved well. With just seven minutes remaining, Jamal Lowe got behind the Wednesday rear-guard, but goal-scorer Moore, couldn’t connect properly and another opportunity went begging. With some fans starting to drift away in the last minute of the game, Wigan pumped a hopeful ball into the box and after a flick-on Jamal Lowe was first to the ball and looped his header over Dawson into the Wednesday goal. The Latics though had to endure six minutes of time added-on and survived a last gasp goalmouth scramble to claim all three points in a 2-1 comeback win.


Tuesday 28 January 2020

Sky Bet Championship

Wigan Athletic 2 (Moore 56’, Lowe 90’) Sheffield Wednesday 1 (Murphy 32’)

Venue: DW Stadium

Attendance: 9,759

Wigan Athletic: Marshall, Byrne, Kipre, Naismith, Robinson, Morsy, Evans (Garner 89’), Lowe, Gelhardt (Jacobs 66’), Dowell (Williams 66’), Moore

Unused Substitutes: Jones, Dunkley, Roberts, Massey.

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Fox (Lees 50’), Harris (Reach 71’), Pelupessy, Bannan, Winnall (Rhodes 58’), Borner, Murphy, Nuhiu, Odubajo, Iorfa

Unused Substitutes: Wildsmith, Borukov, Hunt, Urhoghide.


Steve Blighton

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Posted July 10, 2020 by Editor in category "2019/20: An Incredible Journey

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