Fulham 2 Wigan Athletic 2

Gary Caldwell
Gary Caldwell

GARY Caldwell’s first game in charge of Wigan Athletic ended in a battling 2-2 draw at Fulham.

The result probably increases the chance of Latics playing in League One next season, as they are now seven points adrift of Rotherham - who have a game in hand - with only four matches to play.

But the overall nature of the performance suggested the future under the Scot - albeit after one initial huge step back - could be very bright indeed.

Right from the off Wigan’s play was calm and assured, they worked hard without the ball and they looked a team again.

They responded from the disappointment of going an early goal behind to Ross McCormack’s curling effort to level by the midway point in the first half.

Jermaine Pennant lined up a free-kick on the edge of the area, and sent the ball curling into the top corner of the net.

Despite dominating much of the rest of the first half, Latics trailed at the break thanks to a world-class effort from Matt Smith.

But the visitors showed their character by hauling themselves off the canvas and forcing a second leveller at the three-quarter mark through Jason Pearce.

With a draw of no real use, Latics went in search of a late winner, but were frustratingly thwarted in their attempts.

They live to fight another day, but it could be that they need to win three or even all four of their remaining fixtures to remain in the Championship.

Caldwell admitted his first crack at football management was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

“It’s been crazy, absolutely crazy,” Caldwell said.

“It’s 24 hours a day, non-stop, thinking about how you’re going to play, who’s going to play, what needs to be done.

“Even during the game, you’re constantly thinking what can we change, how can we hurt them, who’ve we got on the bench.

“It’s a consuming job, but I must admit I loved every bit of it.

“I loved playing the game, but, as my first taste of management, I absolutely loved that and can’t wait for the next one.”