Sheffield Wednesday 1 Wigan Athletic 0

Sam Morsy in action at Hillsborough, with Sheffield Wednesday goalscorer Steven Fletcher in the background
Sam Morsy in action at Hillsborough, with Sheffield Wednesday goalscorer Steven Fletcher in the background

Wigan Athletic’s woeful away record continued with Steven Fletcher scoring the only goal for Sheffield Wednesday on the hour mark at Hillsborough.

Paul Cook’s men were looking to build on last week’s morale-boosting 3-0 victory over Aston Villa, but were second best for much of the encounter.

And Fletcher’s 25-yard strike - after he was given far too much time and space - means Latics have lost 13 of their 16 matches on the road in all competitions, winning only one.

In fairness, Wednesday were very good value for their win, with only the brilliance and bravery of Cedric Kipre and Chey Dunkley at the heart of the defence helping to keep the home side at bay, and Jamie Jones having another good game behind them.

At the other end, Josh Windass had Wigan’s solitary effort on goal, only for Keiran Westwood to make a comfortable save.

Not even the late introductions off the bench of Will Grigg and Callum McManaman could tip the game back Wigan’s way.

And the sight of Grigg having to limp through the closing stages after damaging an ankle - with Latics having used all of their substitutions - summed up the way it’s been going for much of the last few months.

The only positive was the margin of defeat could have been even more emphatic, had the home side shown more of a cutting edge in front of goal.

Wednesday had come flying out of the traps and dominated the first half an hour.

Dunkley managed to get his head in the way of a Fletcher shot that was travelling, with the resulting corner looking goalbound until Jones stuck out a leg out to divert it away.

Kipre then got his head to a Barry Bannan strike from distance, before Latics found themselves stretched from a corner that broke down.

Adam Reach outpaced Dunkley down the left but, just as he was in the act of shooting, the Latics man dived in and executed the perfect sliding challenge.

The Wednesday fans wanted a penalty, but tellingly there was no protest from the player.

Latics were grateful to Jones for tipping a Fletcher strike round the post, before Latics finally managed to get a sight of the Wednesday goal.

Windass had a shot deflected just wide and, from the corner, Anthony Pilkington flicked it on but Joe Garner couldn’t quite connect at the far post.

Latics went close again as Garner headed back a cross into the path of Pilkington, whose shot was blocked.

The Latics new-boy jarred his ankle in the collision, requiring lengthy treatment, but he was able to continue, albeit in some discomfort.

There was another massive Wednesday penalty shout after Fletcher’s volley was blocked by Kipre, with a suspicion of an arm being involved, but again the official waved play on.

Kipre denied Fletcher again moments later with a superbly-timed challenge as the Scot tried to pull the trigger.

And Latics ended the half well with Garner allowing a pass to roll through his legs to Windass, but Westwood wasn’t troubled by the shot.

Michael Jacobs took over from Pilkington at the interval, but it was Wednesday who started the stronger once again.

A Reach shot led to another big appeal for a penalty against Dunkley, who was alleged to have handled, but again the official was unmoved.

But Latics were being pushed gradually backwards, and the goal that had been coming eventually arrived on the hour mark.

Fletcher managed to get himself in space between the Latics defence and midfield.

And before Dunkley could get out in time, he curled a fine shot from 25 yards that was too good for Jones.

Kipre had to throw his body in the way of another effort from Fletcher as Wednesday tried to kill the game off, the ball flying over the bar for a corner.

And Latics went all in with Grigg and Calllum McManaman taking over from Gary Roberts and Garner.

The action continued to take place almost exclusively at the other end, however, with substitute Adthe Nuhiu being denied first by Jones and then by Kipre.

And Jones did even better moments later to deny Nuhiu from close range, with not even six added minutes affording Latics a way back in.