Wigan Athletic boss reacts to deserved draw at Bristol City

Shaun Maloney admitted Wigan Athletic's battling point at in-form Bristol City had made him feel 'the happiest I've been' since he took over as manager.
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Ashley Fletcher's second-half equaliser made it a five-point return from Maloney's first three games in charge, after a draw at Blackburn and a home victory over Huddersfield.

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REPORT: Bristol City 1 Wigan Athletic 1

The Scot, who left out both Callum Lang and Will Keane from the starting XI, made three substitutions at the break after Latics trailed 1-0 to Rob Atkinson's free header.

Shaun Maloney saw his Latics side pick up a precious point at Bristol CityShaun Maloney saw his Latics side pick up a precious point at Bristol City
Shaun Maloney saw his Latics side pick up a precious point at Bristol City
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And he was rewarded with Fletcher’s cool finish off Max Power’s cross to maintain his unbeaten start.

"I feel very happy with that, tonight's probably the happiest I've been out of the three games," enthused Maloney.

"Obviously going into the break 1-0 down, I felt we had to make changes, and I asked the team to show me a bit more - and they did

"It was nothing to do with the performances of the three lads who came off, and I told them that.

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"It was just a tactical thing, because I'd seen the way Bristol City were hurting us, and I didn't think we were aggressive enough in possession.

"I needed to change the profile of some of the players, and as a manager you have to make those decisions.

"But it's the players who are the ones who change the game, and I thought all the subs who came on were very good.

"Even Tom Naylor coming on at the end produced a block that changed the game, and that's typical of what I'm getting from the players.

"Overall I was very happy with the performance.

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"I was unhappy with the goal we conceded, but the team is scrapping for their lives and they're giving me everything.

"On the ball, I think we can play even better, and be a bit more aggressive in terms of our positioning.

"But I've seen how good the players can be, and I just think they just need to believe that, which is my job, to give them that little bit of confidence.

"I challenged them at half-time to show me more in terms of personality, and they have to take every credit for the result."

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The first half was a very cagey affair with neither side creating anything in the opening half-hour.

That changed eight minutes before the break when Matty James took a quick free-kick to Anis Mehmeti, who had far too long to cross for an unmarked Atkinson to nod home a free header.

Latics responded positively, with a Christ Tiehi shot glancing the bar on its way over in first-half stoppage-time.

Tom Pearce, Will Keane and Callum Lang took over from Tendayi Darikwa, Thelo Aasgaard and Danel Sinani at the interval.

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And the visitors immediately looked a different side, pushing forward in numbers with confidence before equalising on 65 minutes.

Power crossed from the right, and the ball found its way through to Fletcher, who prodded home from close range.

Credit City for their reaction, and they hit the woodwork twice in the space of two minutes just after the three-quarter mark.

First, from a cross from Latics old-boy Joe Williams, Alex Scott directed a free header against the bar.

Then it was Mehmeti who sent over a speculative cross-shot that hit the far post.