Sheffield Wednesday 2 Wigan Athletic 1

Will Grigg
Will Grigg

Wigan Athletic couldn’t build on Will Grigg’s early goal as they crashed to a third defeat in a row at Sheffield Wednesday.

While the last two losses - against Nottingham Forest and QPR - saw Latics unfortunate to lose by the odd goal, this time they can have few complaints over the 90 minutes.

Gary Caldwell’s men could hardly have had a better start, with Grigg on hand to slot home from close range after great work down the left from Michael Jacobs with only five minutes gone.

But the home side recovered from the early blow and quickly got into their stride, asking questions galore of the visitors.

Steven Fletcher had Wednesday back on level terms just before the half-hour, sliding the ball past Adam Bogdan following an incisive ball from Barry Bannan.

The Scotland international headed against the bar six minutes into the second period, before Fernando Forestieri did notch Wednesday’s second on the hour mark, at the second attempt.

Latics were indebted to Bogdan for keeping them in it when he pulled off a superb stop to keep out Gary Hooper’s overhead kick.

Ross Wallace should have made the game safe but wanted far too long to convert a regulation chance, and the home side’s inability to make the most of a mountain of promising openings kept Latics interested far longer than they deserved to be.

Having had to wait a fortnight over the international break for the chance to get back to winning ways, Latics took less than five minutes to get into their stride.

Jacobs did well to read a careless ball out of defence by Tom Lees, and made his way into the box before finding Grigg who couldn’t miss.

Wednesday wasted no time in fighting back, with Daniel Pudil’s cross behind nodded back into the danger area by Fletcher, only inches in front of Forestieri.

Reece Burke, making his Latics debut, then did ever so well to nod behind for a corner under pressure from Fletcher.

The home side were turning the screw, though, and it was no surprise when they found the equaliser on the half hour.

Bannan’s clever ball over the top was well controlled by Fletcher, who held off the attentions of Jake Buxton to slide past Bogdan.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Latics and Luke Garbutt, who’d been booked for needlessly kicking the ball away, could easily have received a second yellow for a couple of ill-advised challenges.

Latics suffered another blow six minutes before the break when, after a lengthy stoppage for treatment, Nick Powell limped off with a groin injury, to be replaced by Shaun MacDonald.

Credit the visitors for the way they ended the half, though, with Jacobs seeing a shot deflected wide and Luke Burke advancing from right-wing back to have a fierce shot tipped over by goalkeeper Kieran Westwood.

But Wednesday should have gone in front right on halfway when Bannan played in Wallace, who did everything right in bringing the ball down and composing himself, before somehow firing wide from point-blank range.

Latics made their second change at the interval with Adam Le Fondre taking over from right-wing back Burke, which led to a reshuffle and a switch in formation.

But the home side continued to dominate, and Fletcher headed against the bar off Wallace’s shot with Bogdan struggling to get there.

Wallace then fired wide from a good position, before Latics were forced into their third and final change on the hour with Garbutt withdrawn before he picked up a seemingly-inevitable second booking, and Yanic Wildschut coming on.

Within seconds, though, the home side were in front as Forestieri slotted home at the second attempt after his initial attempt was blocked.

It was nearly three when Forestieri’s cross was nodded down by Kieran Lee into the path of Hooper, whose overhead kick was clawed away by a desperate Bogdan.

And Wallace looked odds-on to score moments after a lovely Wednesday move, but wanted an eternity to pick his moment, allowing Latics to get bodies back and snuff out the danger.

A third Wednesday goal seemed only a matter of time, but Latics were encouraged by its failure to arrive and actually threatened themselves in the last 10 minutes.

Jacobs saw a shot deflected wide for a corner, and Le Fondre might have done better with a crossing opportunity from the right, only to find a home shirt.

Wigan’s final chance fell to Wildschut, but his low shot was snaffled by Westwood at full stretch.