Stoke City vs Wigan Athletic Match Review

Latics’ unbeaten run finally came to an end as Leam Richardson’s side fell to a 2-0 to Championship side Stoke City in the FA Cup 4th round. But whilst the score line might suggest we were outclassed by superior opposition, the reality is the result could’ve been a lot different had it not been for key moments falling the way of the home side.

In his post-match interview Leam Richardson declared ‘the game was won and lost in both boxes’ which pretty much sums the 90 minutes up perfectly. Stoke made their key moments count whilst Wigan lacked the cutting edge possessed by their opponents.

Despite this there are many positives to take from the game. Firstly, a number of key players were rested ahead of a busy schedule, whilst many fringe players got a good run out to build match sharpness. New signings Jamie McGrath and Glen Rea completed the match and looked very promising, and we played a much more possession based style of football that has been missing in recent weeks.

Both Stoke goals came just moments after big opportunities for Latics too, another example of us just not getting the rub of the green. The first came from a breakaway after a huge opportunity for Max Power went begging, with Josh Maja finishing well in the box after a slip from Jason Kerr.

Stoke’s second found the net 2 minutes after a Tom Bayliss free kick hit the top of the bar and the game was all but over 10 minutes later when Gwion Edwards was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Its now time to turn our attention to the league and EFL trophy, two competitions we have far more likelihood of winning than the FA Cup.

Player of the Match

This is a hard choice as there were plenty of positive performances in Latics shirts yesterday, but I’m going with a player that silenced his critics with a fantastic performance. I’m of course talking about Gavin Massey.

His work rate, ball retention and dribbling ability shone through in what was probably his best performance in a Latics shirt for at least 2 years. If he can carry on this kind of form his place in the side won’t be questioned anywhere near as much as it has been in recent weeks.

As well as Massey I’d like to give special mention to Jason Kerr and Joe Bennett, two players yet to break into the side for good but both looked very capable against Championship opponents.

Final Thoughts

It never feels good to lose but this is about as close as it’ll get. Latics love the FA Cup run but in the context of this season its a competition we could do without. Now we can focus fully on the league for a month and look to achieve our number 1 goal: promotion.

It gave the 4000 travelling fans a good day out and the opportunity to see some positive football from players some won’t have seen much (or any) of this season. On to Tuesday against Wednesday!

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