- Wigan Athletic lose to Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship.
- Graham Barrow can't conjure win despite much improved display
- James Chester and Scott Hogan with late second half goals
- Omar Bogle came closest for Latics
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
ASTON VILLA 2
Attendance – 14,781
Football can really be so cruel. Latics were the better team for the vast majority of this game but two late goals saw Aston Villa take the points back down the M6 after a much-improved display from Graham Barrow’s men.
As promised by the interim manager in the build up to the game, his team attacked from virtually the first to the last whistle, and gave absolutely everything to the cause, but they were not able to convert a number of chances in both halves, the best falling to Omar Bogle.
Sam Johnstone in the Villa goal was forced into making some really good saves and Latics paid the price when the visitors netted late on with virtually their only two significant efforts on goal.
There were four changes for Latics, with Andy Kellett, Craig Morgan, Sam Morsy and Shaun MacDonald back in the team in place of Alex Gilbey, David Perkins, Callum Connolly and the injured Stephen Warnock. Jake Buxton wore the armband for the first time. On the bench, Jakob Haugaard and Max Power were both back after injury.
The sides were level after a competitive first half of relatively few chances, the best of them definitely going Latics’ way.
After 13 minutes, Michael Jacobs picked up a poor pass from Mile Jerdinak to send Bogle absolutely clear on goal, but the angle was just too tight when he rounded Johnstone and his effort struck the side netting.
Bogle was at it again, after 25 minutes, when he picked up an interception from Morsy on the right side, ran straight at goal but his fierce shot flew well wide in the end as he cut in to the edge of the box and let loose a 20 yard effort.
After 28 minutes, Gabriel Obertan found a yard of space to shoot from the edge of the box from a Bogle chest down, his low drive going a yard wide of Johnstone’s right post.
Then on 41 minutes, Bogle picked up a loose ball and drove at goal, he was dispossessed but Conor Hourihane hand-balled on the edge of the box under pressure from Obertan, Jacobs forcing a good save from Johnstone to palm away the resultant free-kick low to his left.
Villa, for their part, hardly troubled Matt Gilks before the break, a Jerdinak header over the bar as close as they came.
Latics were dealt a blow after 53 minutes when Kellett limped off, to be replaced by Connolly, who slotted in at left wing-back.
Bogle immediately had a chance when he forced Johnstone into a neat save, although he was narrowly offside, then Jacobs picked up a loose ball 40 yards out, drove at the Villa centre halves and forced Johnstone into another good save, at full stretch, low to his left.
Barrow threw on Ryan Colclough for his first appearance this calendar year on the hour mark and Latics forced another good save from Johnstone immediately afterwards, Connolly finding space in the box to shoot from a tight angle.
Villa did threaten from a couple of corners, taken by Lansbury, after 64th minute, Buxton getting ahead of the ball just before Jonathan Kodjia for the first, then fizzing a ball right across the face of goal for the second.
Colclough forced another save from Johnstone after 67 minutes, when set up by Connolly on the edge of the box as Latics pressed. Then MacDonald saw his drive diverted for a corner off Jerdinak a minute later before Kodjia was in the right place to clear Colclough’s header.
The first goal, after 73 minutes, came when Hourihane played a quick short corner, received the ball back and crossed it, Gilks wasn't able to get a clean enough connection on it and the ball fell kindly to James Chester who poked it in.
Back came Latics, however, Bogle forced yet another save from Johnstone on 75 minutes, who got a touch to his low angled drive.
Alex Gilbey for Morsy was the final throw of the dice on 81 minutes but Villa scored their second soon afterwards, Scott Hogan converting Albert Adomah’s right wing cross and the game was effectively over as a contest.
Latics: Gilks, Burn, Buxton, Morgan, MacDonald, Jacobs, Kellett (Connolly, 53), Hanson, Morsy, (Gilbey, 81), Obertan (Colclough, 60), Bogle
Subs not used: Haugaard, Bruce, , Perkins, Power.
Aston Villa: Johnstone; Bree (Hogan, 59), Chester, Hutton, Taylor; Jedinak, Hourihane, Gardner (Lansbury, 59), Adomah (Elphick, 84), Kodjia, Amavi
Subs not used: Bunn, Richards, , Grealish, Davis.