Langy leaves it Late

Latics survived a scare at Adams Park to come away with all 3 points following a hard fought 3-1 victory over play off chasers Wycombe Wanderers. With the rest of the top 6 having favourable fixtures this week both sides knew nothing less than 3 points would do in the bid for promotion into the Championship.

Leam Richardson made 2 changes to the side that secured a brilliant point at Rotherham, with Tendayi Darikwa and Will Keane coming in for Jason Kerr and Stephen Humphrys. Wigan Today reporter Paul Kendrick confirmed that Kerr had left Rotherham in a protective boot on his right foot but there has been no indication as to how long he will be out for.

The decision to drop Stephen Humphrys raised eyebrows given the impact the 24 year old has had on the squad in recent weeks. The fact Josh Magennis was picked ahead of him suggested that the game plan for Latics would be to go direct towards a Target Man, a brave tactic against a brutish Wycombe defence.

The match began with Latics dominating possession but not creating any chances to speak of, whereas the home side made use of their direct style of play to fire shots on goal. Ben Amos’ goal was under siege with Sam Vokes and Lewis Wing who both troubled Latics from range. Jordan Obita also almost caught out Amos with a cross that would’ve snuck in at the near post had it not been for some excellent work by the Wigan keeper.

Wycombe eventually made the pressure count after a long goal kick from David Stockdale was superbly touched down by Vokes, straight into the path of Sullay Kaikai who fired home from 20 yards.

It would be wrong to suggest anything other than the fact the goal was completely deserved, and the away side would really have to up their game to take anything from it. The decision to go direct towards Magennis seemed fruitless, the striker touched the ball just 10 times in his 60 minutes on the pitch and completed a pitiful 12% of his passes.

It is a glaring issue in an otherwise seamless team, the Northern Irishman just hasn’t found his feet yet in Leam Richardson’s side. Whilst the argument can be made that he is yet to receive the service required to allow him to score there are still clear issues with his hold up play and I’m sure he’d be the first to tell you it needs to improve. He was withdrawn on the hour mark for Stephen Humphrys and things began to change immediately.

I promise this isn’t a brag, but I did predict the way to break down this Wycombe side was not through long balls, but rather through quick intricate passing and direct dribbling. The introduction of Humphrys as well as Gwion Edwards changed the game in this way, especially the latter who’s change of pace proved too much for the Chairboys defence.

Latics’ equaliser came when a troubling Max Power free kick was spilled by Goalkeeper, Pundit and Philanthropist David Stockdale, and the ball fell perfectly for Tom Naylor who followed in to head home from close range.

There was an immediate change in the momentum of the game with Wigan taking full control as they attacked the goal in front of the 600+ away fans. The players began playing a much more attractive brand of football that the Wycombe defence just couldn’t cope with, and when a flowing passing move resulted in a corner there was almost a certainty that another goal would come.

James McClean’s teasing delivery found Callum Lang at the back post and he duly lowered the ball home from close range to spark ‘limbs’ in the away end. It’s no secret that the academy graduate has an incredible relationship with the supporters and it reached a new high when he put us 2-1 up in what, because of results elsewhere, had become a must win game.

Incredibly though Langy would become even more popular just 2 minutes later when his persistent pressing forged a chance for himself in the box, and he finished calmly past Wycombe’s very own David Brent to secure the 3 points.

The reaction from fans, players and coaches at full time showed just how important this victory was for Latics in what is one of the most important weeks in the club’s recent history. Post match both Tom Naylor and Callum Lang paid tribute to the travelling fans and spoke about the positive impact they have every week.

Callum Lang will get the plaudits but Tom Naylor was fantastic in the engine room

Also worthy of a mention is Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth, who applauded the travelling fans and all of the Latics team after the game. He even went as far as calling us the best side in the division! “I think Wigan are the best team in the league. We played worse teams in the Championship last year!” the Chairboys gaffer said after the game.

Fair play sir!

Player of the Match

Callum Lang clearly loves scoring goals in front of the away end! The lad clearly thrives off the support and love he receives from the fan base and there is no wonder why he has such a good relationship with the Latics faithful.

On Tuesday night it wasn’t just Langs 2 goals that make him worthy of winning MOTM, it is the energy he brings to the side even when we’re not playing well. Whether it be firing up the fans with shouts and fist pumps, pressing high up the pitch and winning throw ins, corner and free kicks or carrying the ball forward on the counter, he always imposes himself positively on the game.

One Of Our Own 💙🤍

He could’ve had a hat trick yesterday too had it not been for a good save from the keeper, but I’m sure he’ll settle for 2 goals. He’s now bagged 15 goals in all competitions this season, and I have no doubts that number will continue to rise.

Final Thoughts

What a team we have! After the crap we’ve had to go through in the past season and a half no fan base deserves to enjoy themselves more than Latics fans, and with this group of players and staff we’ve absolutely won. They love us, we love them and there’s nothing better than that.

This win keeps the gap to 3rd at 3 points with 3 games in hand, but in the words of former manager Paul Cook, “just keep goinnnn”

Up the Tics!!

2 thoughts on “Langy leaves it Late

  1. Another excellent match report Daniel. Very much the same way I saw the game. I particularly enjoyed the comparison of Stockdale to David Brent!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a lot Scott I’m glad you liked it! I’ve heard Mr Stockdale considers himself a friend first, goalkeeper second and probably entertainer third…

      Liked by 1 person

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