The 12th Man Column...Cold reception for the Wigan Athletic fans but the team got the job done

Wigan Athletic fans give their opinions on the midweek win over Solihull in the FA Cup and look ahead to the next round.

Friday, 19th November 2021, 12:30 pm
Gwion Edwards in action against Solihull (Photo: Bernard Platt)

Caddy from the 5:

A scintillating victory over Solihull Moors on Tuesday has set up a mouthwatering FA Cup second-round trip to Essex to face Colchester – at 12.30pm on a Sunday in December.

Supposedly so the telly can show extended highlights. Sod the fans, eh?

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The ‘Tics return to league action this weekend hoping to reclaim top spot from Plymouth and become the best team in the division again, because all the teams vying to be the best in the division would surely beat a non-league side in extra time in the FA Cup wouldn’t they?

Well, wouldn’t they?

The game on Tuesday, in all fairness, was quite frankly terrible.

We looked disjointed and lost for ideas at times, and their well-drilled back four looked comfortable for most of the game.

It took their goal and probably them tiring a tad for us to take control and squeeze through into the next round.

Speaking of their goal, the ref had a shocker – if there was a handball, it was by their player not ours.

I know the ref only gets one look at it but he gave it, not the linesman, so he must have been 100 per cent sure!

It’s not sour grapes saying the refs in the lower leagues are garbage, because they genuinely are in my eyes.

It was good to see young Chris Sze get on the pitch and get booked with his first tackle, then following that up with a hat trick for the Under-23’s 14 hours later against former Premier League cannon fodder Sunderland.

Hopefully a bright future awaits Chris at the ‘Tics now we’re away from the vultures buying and selling our assets for peanuts.

Yes, I am still bitter...

Oxford is a big game Saturday, they’re going along nicely in the play-off places.

But one eye is already on the big one next week with the top two (at the moment) meeting in Cornwall for our tussle with Plymouth.

I know money’s tight at this time of year, but it would be a massive boost for the lads if we could take a decent following there.

If you can, go get yourself a ticket for what should be a cracking game.

Right, I’m off swotting up on the history of Strongbow 1960 to current day, we don’t want any of these Oxford lot thinking we aren’t intellectual up here...

Up the ‘Tics!

Matt Auffrey:

If you were anything like me, you were ready to completely check out of the FA Cup during the 47th minute of Tuesday’s first-round replay at Solihull.

The home side were just awarded one of the most asinine (just say ‘stupid’ –Ed) penalties that could be given at the professional level, and they promptly converted from the spot to take a 1-0 lead.

There was no reason to believe Latics would raise their game for the rest of the second half based on what we saw leading up to that point.

The phantom handball in our penalty box was the last straw for my spirits.

It was time to accept the FA Cup was not going to be a competition where we’d thrive and that we should direct our attention back to the league.

The ensuing events were not easy on the eye.

We managed an equaliser after a failed clearance from a corner and a fortunate deflection off our own player into the Solihull goal.

We squandered multiple clear-cut chances for a winner.

It took a perfectly delivered set-piece from Max Power and equally perfect flick off the head from Callum Lang to break the deadlock in extra time.

There wasn’t a more fitting way for Wigan to win an FA Cup match.

The 210 minutes of football we played against Solihull was far from our finest stretch of the season.

Several first-team players did very little to impress with the opportunity given.

A trip to glamorous Colchester in two-and-a-half weeks apparently was not the most incentivising reward under the sun.

But in spite of every underwhelming component that made up our first round FA Cup experience, we emerged victorious.

While the FA Cup is no longer the priority it used to be, I don’t want this club to normalise or accept losing under any circumstances.

There will be times where we’re outplayed by teams with better players.

The expectation should be for those occasions to be few and far between over the course of our remaining fixture list.

There is no underestimating how valuable it can be to establish and maintain a winning culture.

It’s quite the luxury in football to be able to put out a team in any competition and not worry about the playing form or collective energy of the group.

We are not yet in that position ourselves, but have made steady progress since the season started.

On the topic of progress, our opponents for this Saturday are as eager to get out of this league as any other side we’ll face this season.

Oxford are coming off back-to-back League One play-off appearances and aspire to make the ‘third time a charm’ in their quest for promotion.

Latics will be back at the DW and our line-up will feature players returning from injury and international duty alongside players who featured regularly for the club during our recent cup competitions.

After Saturday, we’ll have four consecutive away fixtures across all competitions.

We’ve persevered to advance in two cup competitions.

It’s time to ride that same wave back to the top of League One.

Statto:

A weekend off came at the right time to get the centre backs up and running again

And the FA Cup first-round replay was overcome.

Was it a great display? Probably not.

But we are in the next round for the fan friendly 12.30pm kick-off on a December Sunday at Colchester.

Still can’t work out Solihull manager Neal Ardly complaining about the ref, when he got a penalty for his own player handling the ball.

But now back to the league, and Oxford.

Hopefully all the players come back from international duties fit.

Let’s get back on the league horse in style.

Stay safe.

Tony Moon:

This was going to be on the theme of “I’m fickle and I know it”, based on the views of (some of) our fans swinging wildly from “we’ll top 100 points”, to “we’re going down if we don’t buck up”.

However, that was a little harder than I thought!

So, “Turn around” seemed to be a decent alternative …… but I fear the “fickle” message might have been a little diluted somewhere along the line.

Never mind, it’s not as if anyone reads this stuff, any road!

So, in the immortal words of Jilted John, “here we go, two, three, four” …

‘Turn around, you’re a Latics supporter, you’re a little bit lonely, when you’re rattling in a third full ground;

‘Turn around, every now and then we get a little embarrassed that the fans sometimes can barely make a sound;

‘Turn around, every now and then we get a little bit nervous of the non-league teams we play in the cup;

‘Turn around, every now and then we get a little bit terrified the rollercoaster ride is nearly up;

‘Turn us around, Leam, every now and then we fall apart;

‘Turn us around, Leam, second half’s OK, but not the start;

‘At home we’re rubbish on Tuesday nights;

‘And then Saturdays are sometimes no better;

‘But you’re trying to get it right;

‘And we’ll do it if we stay together;

‘Coz we know that you’re making it right;

‘And with the chairman in tow;

‘Together you can taken us to the Promised Land;

‘(And Galloways in the stadium, now that would be grand);

‘I don’t know what to do, sometimes we’re in the dark;

‘Then other times we play top teams right off the park;

‘We really need you to win;

‘Cos we’re fickle if we lose a game;

‘Yes we’re fickle and we have to pass blame;

‘Once upon a time, I thought we were doomed;

‘Our club was nearly falling apart;

‘But we’re still in the cup(s);

‘We love this club with all of our heart;

‘Once upon a time, we were stuck in Admin;

‘Them you-know-whats nearly ripped us apart;

‘But now we’re near t’ top o’ t’ league;

‘A total affair of the heart!

Sean Livesey:

Ahhh Solihull, with your welcome colder than Margaret Thatcher’s heart.

It wasn’t a classic on Tuesday night, be that in the form of an away day or a performance.

Despite proudly advertising four bars on their website, you’re not allowed in any of them if you come to watch the away team.

God help you if you have the audacity to arrive in a car too.

You’re directed back down the road to the airport and a cargo centre, despite an empty car park facing you.

The welcome at a lot of non-league clubs is often warm and welcoming.

Indeed, when we travelled to Fylde in the FA Cup back in 2017 the treatment we received couldn’t have been better.

I wouldn’t wish to return to Solihull in a hurry, especially when you see how Latics have struggled against the National League side across a total of 210 minutes.

All credit to Leam Richardson for naming such a strong side again and giving the FA Cup the respect it’s owed.

Some games you just struggle.

It doesn’t mean the side that have spent most of the season in the promotion places in League One are a bad side suddenly – it just means we had an off night.

Some of the grumbles in the away end and on Twitter pointed to us having far more serious issues than we have.

I mean, I know we’re not the best team in the league (eyes gaze over the hill to Horwich), and equally we wouldn’t have the same sort of issues as that said ‘best team in the league’ but Tuesday wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be.

We huffed and puffed but we managed to get across the line.

Callum Lang, who struggled in the first half, came to life during the latter stages of the match and showed his importance to us.

In the end, meaning ITV missed out in the battle of the FA Cup replays, with the BBC clearly having the plum choice just 24 hours later.

We’re into the second round.

Yes, a replay was the last thing we needed and, yes, extra time was even less welcome than that.

But we’re in the hat and that 12.30pm visit to Colchester in a couple of Sundays time is all that matters.

One million plus superfan points to anyone who can make that away trip, with no trains available to get you there in time.

So with the cup taking a back seat for a few weeks, and international breaks now a thing of the past (until March), we face Oxford on Saturday.

It’s going to be a difficult few weeks with the amount of games coming up.

Tuesday’s trip to Solihull was the first of 11 matches in just 44 days.

Thankfully ,there was some good news to come it.

The back line looks a lot stronger with the return of Kell Watts and Jack Whatmough to fitness.

Throw in the continued development of Jason Kerr, and things look a lot better than they did a couple of weeks ago.

Oxford will be a tough match on Saturday, Karl Robinson has done a good job there in recent years they’re unbeaten in four league matches but they too faced a punishing extra time in their defeat against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.

It won’t be an easy game, but there aren’t any easy games at this level and especially at this stage of the season.

After a few weeks away it’ll be good to see if we can continue that march up the league.