Wigan Athletic chief admits side almost paid high price for not finishing off Cambridge United

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Shaun Maloney hailed the 'patience' of his Wigan Athletic side after beating Cambridge United 2-1 at the DW - although he admitted they made it tougher than it needed to be.

Latics had to wait until the 57th minute before Stephen Humphrys scored a superb individual goal to open the scoring.

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REPORT: Wigan Athletic 2 Cambridge United 1: Humphrys and Aasgaard see Latics to...

And when Thelo Aasgaard doubled the lead five minutes later - after great work from on-loan Fulham winger Martial Godo on debut - it looked like the game was safe.

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Shaun Maloney admits Latics made it difficult for themselves before picking up their first win in three matchesShaun Maloney admits Latics made it difficult for themselves before picking up their first win in three matches
Shaun Maloney admits Latics made it difficult for themselves before picking up their first win in three matches

Cambridge, however, had other ideas, and Fejiri Okenabirhie reduced the arrears from the spot after Callum McManaman felled James Brophy in the box.

That made for a nervy last 15 minutes before Latics could record thier first win in three.

And Maloney felt the game could and should have been put to bed far earlier, with top scorer Charlie Wyke firing against a post before he was denied in spectacular fashion by U's goalkeeper Will Mannion before the break.

"It was probably a bit more tense than it should have been," he said.

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"But I guess that's football, if you're maybe not as clinical as the chances we had, especially in the first half.

"It was actually a very hard game, and it is very hard to stay patient when your opponent puts 11 players behind the ball.

"We tried different things tactically, you saw us maybe playing a few more long diagonal balls behind them.

"When teams are so compact, you need to find different ways of hurting them.

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"Staying patient is tough, and I could feel it in the support as well.

"It is difficult, and I have experienced it quite a bit in my career, when a team is set up like that, very defensively, by a good manager.

"You have to be patient, and then when you get your chances, you've got to be clinical.

"We had two really big chances in the first half, and if we score them, the feeling in the game is very different.

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"But that's why we have so many attacking players in the side and on the bench waiting to come on.

"You need that creativity, and when somebody beats somebody one-v-one, it breaks any structure - and that's what both goals came from.

"There was a five-minute period when we went 2-0 up, and I felt we maybe became a little bit comfortable, we dropped our levels slightly.

"And as soon as it goes to 2-1, it's game on, and they can attack, because they've got nothing to lose.

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"But there was also a part of it I really like, at the end, when I see players putting their bodies on the line to not concede.

"I didn't think we'd be in that situation, but there's a real satisfaction I get when I see players really putting everything on the line for the team."

Latics are now up to five points – having started the campaign on minus eight – and stay out of the drop zone on goal difference.

Gary Caldwell’s Exeter City continue to lead the way on 16 points.