MATCH REPORT: Wigan Athletic 2 Ipswich Town 0
Wigan v Ipswich: IPSWICH Town were left to rue missing several first half chances as they went down 2-0 at Wigan Athletic this afternoon.
Luke Chambers had already headed against the bar before Ryan Shotton nodded the hosts in front from a corner after 12 minutes.
The Blues then created chance-after-chance, with Scott Carson saving a close-range Daryl Murphy shot and McGoldrick twice putting headers just off target.
Wigan were the better side after the restart, but began to look nervy in the closing stages after failing to find a killer second.
Any hope Ipswich had of salvaging a point was quashed in the 89th minute though when keeper Dean Gerken simply stopped to appeal for the ball being headed out of his hands on the edge of the box, Nick Powell dribbling forward and ramming the ball home on the goalline.
Town boss Mick McCarthy made one change to his side following last Tuesday night’s 2-1 home win over Yeovil.
Paul Anderson – having started in the impressive 1-1 draw at Birmingham and 3-1 home win over Middlesbrough – returned to the team after missing the midweek win with a slight groin injury. He replaced Carlos Edwards on the right of midfield, with Luke Chambers regaining the captain’s armband as a result.
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Following a 2-0 loss at Leicester the previous weekend, Wigan boss Owen Coyle made seven changes for his side’s goalless draw at Belgium side Waregem on Thursday night.
And he has stuck with seven of those same players f, with Thomas Rogne, Ben Watson, Leon Barnett and Jean Beausejour the quartet to come back into the side.
Key men Shaun Maloney and Marc-Antoine Fortune were both absent from the squad, understood to be injured.
Ipswich flew out the blocks, with Chambers’ header from a Anderson corner bouncing down into the ground and up onto the crossbar before eventually being scrambled clear.
Ten minutes later, Wigan broke the deadlock from a corner of their own, Shotton’s angled far post header creeping inside the near post. The hosts had makeshift striker Callum McManaman to thank for the set-piece, his direct run past Chambers forcing Luke Hyam into a saving tackle.
Those two moments aside, it was a fairly forgettable opening 20 minutes, but the game then exploded into life.
James McClean almost danced his way past three players in the Town box, Chambers eventually getting a toe on the ball just as he was about to pull the trigger.
At the other end, Ipswich saw McGoldrick head a golden chance over the bar, after Hyam had delivered Anderson’s quickly taken short corner.
Shortly afterwards, Leon Barnett and Ben Watson both produced lunging blocks in the area to deny quickire goalbound efforts from Ryan Tunnicliffe and Murphy.
It was becoming end-to-end stuff, with McClean’s low free-kick clipping the wall and going narrowly wide.
Minutes 30 to 40 then belonged to the visitors, with Mick McCarthy’s men creating four good openings.
After Christophe Berra had flicked on Chambers’ long throw, the late-arriving Anderson headed narrowly over.
In the very next attack, McGoldrick’s glancing header from around the penalty spot – from a pin-point Anderson cross – went a whisker past the far post.
Carson then came to the rescue for the hosts in the 36th minute, racing off his line to spread himself and produce a super block after the ball had fallen kindly to Murphy in the six-yard area. As good as the stop was, the Irishman should still have put it either side of the custodian.
Wigan then finished the half the stronger, with Manchester United loanee Powell twice fizzing long-range strikes just wide.
Following a quiet start to the second half, Wigan missed a golden opportunity to make it 2-0. Gerken stayed rooted to his line when Ben Watson crossed closed to the goal, Tommy Smith lost his marker Thomas Rogne, but the pair could breath a sigh of relief as the centre-back failed to get a good connection on his close-range header.
Wigan continued to look the more dangerous side, with McManaman pulling a shot just wide after a good square ball from Powell.
Powell glanced a header just past the post following Watson’s sublime free-kick delivery, while McArthur side-footed well wide with plenty of time and space just inside the area.
Ipswich had barely threatened after the restart, but after failing to put the game to bed some nerves began to creep into Wigan’s play.
Watson just about got the ball clear in a classic goalmouth scramble in the 84th minute, while Carson producing a fingertip save to turn Berra’s thumping 30-yard effort three minutes later.
It was game, set and match in the 89th minute though as Gerken was guilty of failing to adhere to the golden rule of playing to whistle.
After he thought Powell had headed the ball out of his two hands, the custodian – who had raced off his line to collect a long ball forward – just stopped and appealed to the lineman. Nothing was given and the striker, still with a little bit to do, had the luxury of dribbling back inside and ramming the ball beyond Smith on the goalline.
WIGAN ATHLETIC (4-5-1): Carson; Shotton, Rogne, Barnett, Beausejour (McCann 84); Watson (cpt), McClean, Perch (Boyce 75), McManaman (Espinoza 66), McArthur; Powell.
Subs: Nicholls, Crainey, Gomez, Dicko.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Anderson (Taylor 59), Hyam (Wordsworth 84), Skuse, Tunnicliffe; Murphy (Nouble 74), McGoldrick.
Subs: Loach, Hewitt, Tabb, Edwards.
Referee: Mr James Adcock