Moment of 'tactical genius' that sparked Wigan Athletic's first home win
The Latics boss had been waiting for a break in play to send on Thelo Aasgaard for the last half-hour in place of Nathan Broadhead.
But he decided to pause for one more passage of play, which led to Broadhead scoring the only goal of a tight north-west derby.
"It was a piece of tactical genius that I kept him on just long enough to get the goal!" laughed Richardson.
"No, I just didn't want to disrupt the flow of the game, although I was conscious of his minutes.
"It was a restart where we'd been pressing them high all night, with our forward lads set to attack off their restarts.
"I didn't want to bring him off at that time, and thankfully it fell for us at the right moment at the right time, which flair players can do."
Broadhead was making only his third league start for Latics since arriving fromEverton on a season-long loan.
He repaid his manager's faith with his second goal for Latics - both of them coming in 1-0 victories.
"Our biggest challenge with Nathan is his injury history and his game-time record," acknowledged Richardson.
"The easiest thing for me would be to get him in and just put him in.
"But in my opinion, you keep doing what you're doing, you keep getting what you're getting.
"To be fair to Nathan, he's really adapted and accepted the challenge he has, and he's bought into everything we've asked of him.
"Because we need him on the pitch...not just for five, six, seven games, but 30 and 40 games.
"To do that, he's come through a period where he's worked extremely hard, his strength and conditioning has come up with the other lads.
"Even after his goal, the easy thing is to keep him out there on the pitch.
"But he's too important for us long term to make short-term decisions like that."
Broadhead is hoping to have done enough to retain his spot for Saturday’s trip to Sunderland, where he spent last season on loan.