Team: Kenny, Derry, Connolly, Hall (Harriman), Gabbidon, Perone, Taarabt, Faurlin, Buzsaky (Bothroyd), Agyemang, Smith (Andrade)
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Ephraim, Helguson, Hewitt
It was a disappointing result to say the least. We had some really good chances to take the lead, but failed to do so and paid the price. Once Wigan scored, the game was virtually over. Let’s face it, we had problems much of the time when we had to chase the game in the Championship. Perhaps it may be argued that for the Wigan goals our defenders were not quite tight enough and there was also the unfortunate element of deflections involved.
However, it must be said that the Wigan front players looked more lively, skilful and sharper than ours, which should not come as a surprise when you consider the QPR team selection. I’ll mention no names, but we carried one or two Championship standard footballers. We got away with a ‘backs to the wall’ job at Everton, but you can’t do that every week. I think there is a possibility of Wigan finishing below Rangers at the end of the season and if Swansea and Norwich also oblige then we have cracked it haven’t we ?
We played well in patches and there was little to choose between the two teams. It took a hugely deflected goal and a screamer to settle the match. We hit the post twice and the bar once. We are badly in need of getting our first teamers back in and some new signings. Numerous players were playing out of position and credit to them for the job they did. I’m not convinced about the midfield at times and also playing one up-front, particularly when that one is Agyemang. The one up-front idea is definitely impacting the performance of the aforementioned midfield. Andrade looked sharp in his brief cameo and has bundles of potential.
The statistics for Franco Di Santo provide worrying reading for any striker, let alone one for whom there was such great expectations when he joined Chelsea in 2008. When the Argentinian scored for Wigan Athletic against Sunderland in the 4-2 defeat at the Stadium of Light in April, he had only two to his name in a frustrating start to life in English football. But the 22-year-old doubled his tally on Saturday to inspire Wigan to an important first league win of the season.
Di Santo’s opener came in the 41st minute. It started with him 30 yards out, when he found Hugo Rodallega, collected the return pass, flicked the ball up and sent a stunning volley past Paddy Kenny. The decisive second came in the 66th minute and highlighted his new-found confidence. With his back to goal, Di Santo turned and let fly from the edge of the box and watched the ball soar into the top corner, aided by a deflection off Bruno Perone.
Joey Barton watched his Queens Park Rangers team-mates at the DW Stadium after completing his free-transfer move from Newcastle, and the right-back Luke Young has joined from Aston Villa. More, much-needed recruits are set to follow, but Neil Warnock felt his side deserved better after a spirited display. They struck the woodwork twice through Adel Taarabt, the first a neat turn and shot that beat the despairing dive of Ali al-Habsi, but hit the inside of the post. The second followed an audacious free-kick attempt from 40 yards. It struck a defender en route and Habsi stretched to touch the ball on to the post. Perone also headed against the bar and Habsi made fine saves to keep out Shaun Derry and Adel Taarabt efforts, as Wigan finally overcame a newly promoted side, following draws against Norwich and Swansea.
Warnock said: ‚ÄúAt 1-0, you need somebody to grab people by the throat – in a nice way – and say, ‘Let’s get going’. If we had scored the first goal, we would have won the game. All you can ask is for the lads to do their best and I said afterwards I can’t ask for any more than that.‚Äù
He was also heartened by the new arrivals, particularly Barton: ‚ÄúI’m amazed one of the bigger clubs hasn’t had a gamble on him and given him a chance. I think he should be playing at the top level. If he concentrates on his football, I don’t think there is much better around in this country.‚Äù
Alam Khan – The Guardian
I was disappointed to see us lose this. Neil Warnock did not seem overly concerned by the defeat, judging by his post match interviews, but I can see us needing the points that we could potentially have won Saturday come the end of the season. We had the chances and I suspect that, if we’d taken the lead rather than hit the woodwork early on, we’d have won it as Wigan were nothing wonderful.
To be blunt, I really don’t want to see Agyemang in the starting line-up again. We all know that he is most effective coming on as a late sub to terrorise tired defenders, Derby away precisely one year ago being a great example of that tactic. On Saturday he really did not look good enough to be on the pitch. I would have far preferred to have seen Bothroyd start, but I suspect that he was probably still suffering the after effects of the virus.
It was another pretty ropey looking team on paper, with an even weaker bench than at Goodison a week previously. It just goes to show that the team strengthening taking place now is vital if we are to have any serious chance of survival. I only wish that Fernandes and Bhatia had been in charge from mid-May to allow more time for signings and for them to then spend the pre-season period with us. Still, money is at least available and Barton and Young should both prove to be decent signings, more to come please – especially defenders.
I thought Akos Buzsaky and Tommy Smith both looked very good again – as they had done at Everton. Warnock regards Taarabt as unfit and I have felt that since the Bolton game. He is not looking anything like the player he did last season, although he did look better in patches on Saturday.
Putting it all in perspective, to end August in 11th place with 3 points after three games is better than I would have anticipated, especially after the Bolton game.
However, we could have got at least a draw with some better finishing. There was a good size R’s support of 2,000 or so which, considering the kick off time, was excellent.
Roll on Newcastle.
(The above pics were taken by Martin Percival and used with his permission)