Five talking points from Latics v Rotherham

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

1. Nick Powell is alive and kicking!

From the moment he was surprisingly named on the team sheet after three months out, there was a feeling that the ex-Manchester United man would mark his return with something special. There was comedy in the way the match-winning moment came about, with Powell being involved in a bizarre exchange with Rotherham goalkeeper Lewis Price. But the Latics man exacted his revenge in the perfect way to keep his side’s hopes alive.

2.

Graham Barrow is not afraid to make big decisions to get big rewards. Vice-captain Jake Buxton paid a high price for a big error in the midweek defeat at Ipswich that left Latics needing snookers at the bottom - the first time he’d been left out all season. The decision to bring back Powell out of the blue was also a masterstroke that paid off big time.

3.

If only Alex Gilbey hadn’t got injured... The ex-Colchester man was again impressive in the engine room, having a hand in the opening goal for Gabriel Obertan before slotting away number two himself. If he hadn’t missed five months with an ankle injury sustained in September, Latics may not be in the mess they currently are. He would also more than likely be a front-runner for player of the season.

4.

Gabriel Obertan could have a big role to play in the relegation run-in. The Frenchman ploughed the lone furrow up top with enthusiasm and effort, and was rewarded with his first goal for the club, as well as an assist for Gilbey’s second equaliser. His late substitution was only caused by tiredness, and Latics must hope there’s more of this to come in the next few weeks.

5.

Seriously, though, what was Rotherham goalkeeper Lewis Price doing? With seconds remaining, and the Millers on course for only their second away point of the season, Price - for reasons best known only to himself - chose to involve himself in a petty squabble with Nick Powell that resulted in him ending up on the back of the Wigan man, before the pair went head to head. Result: the referee booked both men, awarded Latics a free-kick from which they secured a dramatic win, ensuring a trip to the doghouse for Price.