Five things we learned from Peterborough (a)
Paul Kendrick reflects on five talking points from Wigan Athletic's 2-1 defeat at Peterborough on Saturday...
1 Ref justice. Leam Richardson certainly wasn't the first - not will he be the last - manager to criticise the performance of a referee after a defeat. But the Latics boss certainly couldn't be accused of deflecting blame for the result with a knee-jerk reaction. Richardson had a lengthy discussion with the official as the teams walked off at the half-time - with the scores locked at 0-0 - concerning the theatrical antice of some of the Posh players. Thomas Bramall assured Richardson he was on to it, and there would be no soft decisions awarded in the second half. For the game to be decided by a hotly-disputed penalty - with Quest pundit Clinton Morrison reckoning Tendayi Darikwa hadn't touched Siriki Dembele - was a bitterly bitter pill for Latics to swallow. And one Richardson had seen coming a mile off.
2 Another big step forward. The result may have gone down as a 'L' in the record books, but that was pretty much the only negative - albeit a massive one - on the day. For 82 minutes, Latics outplayed their opponents, who had moved top of League One after five wins in a row. Joe Dodoo had hit a post and Gavin Massey being denied by a fine save before Thelo Aasgaard scored his wonder-goal direct from a corner with 18 minutes to go. Unfortunately - as was the case last weekend against Lincoln, who were also top of the table at the time - Latics were once again unable to hold out for what would have been a deserved victory. But if they can maintain this level of performance, it surely won't be long before the results pick up.
3 Still all to play for. Despite the agonising finish to the game, it's still pretty much as you were at the bottom of League One. Latics slip a place to second-bottom, but remain a single point adrift of safety, and only four points behind seventh-bottom Swindon. Northampton, the team now rock bottom, were actually sixth-bottom at one point in play on Saturday, before their lead at Swindon was overturned into an eventual defeat. With the sides at the bottom all having to play each other between now and May - and Swindon visiting the DW on the final day - there are sure to be more twists and turns on the way yet.
4 Changing of the Gaard! Thelo Aasgaard will naturally have hit the headlines on account of his goal, which came direct from a corner. But it was another assured display from the 18-year-old which bodes even better for the future. Leam Richardson left him on the bench for three-quarters of the game, to avoid burdening him with too much football, too soon. But the composure he showed during his brief cameo - on the back of a superb game at Bristol Rovers in midweek - earmark him as a key man in the relegation run-in.
5 Mass-ive boost for Latics. It was also great to see Gavin Massey back in the starting XI for the first time in three months after a calf injury. One of the few survivors from the Championship squad, Massey was expected to be a central figure this term at a level he has excelled at in the past. For whatever reasons, it just hasn't happened for him or Latics. But with a third of the campaign still to go, his return to fitness - hopefully followed shortly by Lee Evans - will be music to the ears of Leam Richardson and the squad.
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