Wigan Athletic: The 12th Man - 'It really is the Wigan way to criticise at the earliest opportunity...'
Our panel of 12th Men reflect on a rare setback against Sheffield Wednesday, ahead of this weekend's long trip down to Gillingham...
Caddy from the 5:
It’s taken nine games for some – not all – ‘Tics fans to start the annual ‘he’s rubbish,they’re not good enough, Leam needs to change the team’ garbage after our FIRST defeat at home this season, and only our second league one in total. All while we sit comfortably in second place in the division! This comes after the Sheffield Wednesday game. Did we play well? Not really. Did we deserve to lose? Not really either. Our commitment was outstanding, and on another night our chances – of which there were plenty – could have gone in. Two silly mistakes cost us both goals – albeit a great finish for the second – but both easily sorted out. Wednesday were no better than us, but chased us down and harried us all night. Credit to them for that, oh and being the first team ever to bring 3,600 to the DW, as their deluded fans seemed to think...not. Again, some of our fans need to settle down. We’re a new team learning every week and getting better every week. Blips are going to happen – if you think we’re going to walk all over teams this season, you’ve clearly forgot how football works. Four goals in three games now for Charlie Wyke, and there’s no way he was ever not going to come good. He’s a class striker and looks to be finding his feet now. Callum Lang will run all day and night for us, while Will Keane looks to be enjoying his football again. I also heard from some we’ve no back-up for the first XI...are you mad?? Have we forgotten there’s the likes of Kerr, Bayliss, Humphrys, Massey, Tilt, Aasgard, Pearce and more to come in at any time, and all worthy of a start if needed? It really is the Wigan way to criticise at the earliest opportunity. Try having a look how far we’ve come in such a short time before mouthing off, and in Talal’s words #believe! Saturday sees the long trip to Gillingham. Always one of the worst trips on the fixture list –horrible place to get to, and not much nicer when you’re there. Fair play to all that’s travelling...you’ll be back around Wednesday! Right I’m off to get my injections for the 16th and recce anywhere that’s got ‘Bow over in Bolton.
The past week saw Latics play twice against teams that were in two different divisions than us last season – Cheltenham in League Two and Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship. The matches, which were separated by two days’ rest, produced two different results and saw the winning side score two goals in victory. Charlie Wyke scored twice over the two matches and the subsequent results saw Latics drop from the top spot in League One to… you guessed it, second place in the table. However, if there is any take away from these first two months of the season, it’s that it is too (not two) early to anoint Latics as future League One champions when they win, or declare that the sky is falling when they lose. Tuesday’s midweek mega-clash against Sheffield Wednesday produced new levels of adversity for the home side at the DW. For the first time this season, Latics played a league match where they were losing for the majority of the 90 minutes, and one where they went down by two goals for the first time in nine league fixtures. The combination of the wet and slick pitch, along with the physical nature of our opponents, did not allow Latics to establish a rhythm and impose their will on the match early on like they recently did against Accrington and Cheltenham. Both self-inflicted goals brought about high levels of frustration. After conceding for the second time at the one-hour mark, we found ourselves at an unfamiliar crossroads for the early part of this season. Would we accept defeat and just go through the motions for the final 30 minutes? Or would we fight and claw our way back into the match in an attempt to achieve a result? Latics responded with an inspired effort, particularly over the final 15 minutes, and came just short of forcing a draw by full-time. We were not deserving losers based on their 90-minute performance, but were punished for their mistakes against a very talented League One side. There is little time to dwell on Tuesday’s defeat as a long trip to Gillingham awaits Latics this weekend. The Gills sit 18th in the league table despite losing just three of their first 10 matches. They will not be a pushover in the least bit. Will Leam Richardson rotate the squad after keeping the same starting XI for the past four league fixtures? Will we be able to obtain positive momentum early in the match without a massive away following to propel the team? How will we respond if we go down a goal again? An impressive winning/unbeaten streak was just broken and, as Latics continue to face assorted challenges over the coming months, it may be a while before we establish a streak of positive results again. Alternatively, Saturday could mark the start of another cracking run of form that sees Latics further separate themselves from the pack. There is as much to play for as any preceding match. And while we can’t predict the outcome, we can be assured that our players will rise to the occasion and deliver a performance that will make us proud.
What a run we’ve been on, halted on Tuesday night by mistakes that can happen to anyone. Leam is doing a fantastic job, as are the players, and there is a long way to go until the end of the season. There will be ups and downs but guess what...this is far better than last time out! Loving the rivalry between opposition fans, little Wigan ain’t half ruffling feathers, just how we like it! Some of the things that come out of people’s mouths, though, need educating! Anyway still second in league, onwards and upwards. Up the ‘Tics.
Smell that refreshing air; The result of our dizzy, giddy height;
Plenty goals scored and least conceded, we must be getting summat right.
The stink of doom is gone; that acrid Begbies ******** stench;
The club is thriving everywhere;
Heck, just look at the players on t’ bench.
Match sounds are back to normal;
Lots of singing, cheers and moans;
There’s no more players voices echoing in their empty stadium homes.
Moans about the price of th’ ale;
And the quality of the pies;
Moans about the referees, who need to test their eyes.
I’nt it great to be out again; And watching our great team;
And bloody hell, we’re top o’ t’ league (wrote on Monday), it all seems like a dream!
Oh bother, have the wheels come off;
Have we dared to hope too much?
We’ve lost our first game in eight and now those dreams have turned to slutch.
Players called “not good enough”;
Or “not fit to wear the shirt”;
“The manager has no tactics”, what utter rubbish they spurt.
You really have to laugh I s’pose;
Or else, not give a toss;
How opinions turn so easily, after such an undeserved loss.
So though the stadium will soon be blue;
We shouldn’t moan and frown;
We should hold our heads high, ‘Tics fans all, the best damn team in town!
What is that I detect? A bump in the road? I’d like to think it’s more of a pothole than one of those sleeping police men that ruin your suspension. You can’t win them all as the old saying goes, and the ironic thing is we could and probably should have won on Tuesday night against Sheffield Wednesday. Take nothing away from Darren Moore’s side. They came and did a job on us. For the first 15 minutes we struggled to get a foot hold in the game but, if not for a freak mix-up between Max Power and Ben Amos, I have no doubt we would have been on top going in to half-time. It wasn’t that Wednesday were better than us on Tuesday, far from it. But two individual mistakes from three players who have been fantastic since they arrived in the summer meant we were facing an uphill battle to get anything from the game. Yet we still could have got something. Sadly Charlie Wyke’s penalty came too late to be a real platform to build on, especially after the referee inexplicably decided that taking two minutes to book Wednesday’s keeper for time wasting during injury time meant that no further time was added on! As disappointing as Tuesday was, it’s important to remember where we’ve come from over the last few months. If you’d said back in the summer we would be disappointed at the end of a five-match winning run that left us in second place and two points off top at the start of October back, people would have thought you had taken leave of your senses. We’ve made a fantastic start to the season, and it’s important that progress is kept in mind. Tuesday was disappointing, but a win down in Kent at the weekend and it will all be forgotten. And that’s got to be the aim – to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible. Fair play to all those travelling down to Gillingham on Saturday. I went back in 2017 and it’s a hell of trek. Especially to a ground where we haven’t had the best of history in recent years. It’s 17 years since we last got all three points at Gillingham. Surely it’s time for us to lay those ghosts to rest. I’d expect a few changes to the side on Saturday. There were a few players who looked like they were running on empty at the end of Tuesday’s match. Whoever takes to the pitch on Saturday, you would put us as favourites. But it doesn’t always work like that, does it? Hopefully the disappointments this season won’t come along that often.
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