Latics overcame Leeds roughhouse tactics to secure the three points courtesy of Martyn Waghorn’s 33rd minute goal, not the best performance of the season, but still good enough to win the game without ever getting out of second gear.
The referee, Neil Swarbrick, was conned by the constant badgering of Leeds players, Noel Hunt and most notably ex-Latics midfield man Michael Brown who bent the Preston officials ear all afternoon.
The protesting and bleating had an immediate effect in the game with James Perch receiving a yellow card before a minute of play had elapsed, Perch jumped for a high ball and Leeds defender Stephen Warnock banged his head on the Latics mans arm, like a flash both Hunt and Brown were pressurising Swarbrick to issue a card, which to the amazement of most people in the ground he did.
Every time Jordi Gomez made a challenge Brown would ask the referee for a free kick and a booking to be issued to the Latics man, which eventually happened, meanwhile Brown got away with murder, a particularly nasty arm smash into the face of Martyn Waghorn right in front of the referee went unpunished, but Brown did eventually receive a yellow card for upending Gomez over the touch line and almost into the West Stand, how he didn’t receive his marching orders is beyond me.
Latics took the lead on 33 minutes, Waghorn had a great run down the left, he fizzed a ball across the six yard box which got cleared, McArthur picked it up on the right cut inside to the edge of the area, stumbled and the ball fell into the path of Waghorn who stroked home from 20yards into the bottom corner, 1-0.
The second half produced a lot of huffs and puffs in a game that was desperately short on quality, but at this stage of the season it is wins that matter not performances, Leeds had a couple of half chances, which were off the head of lumbering striker Smith, whilst their player with quality, Ross McCormack was deep for much of the game and superbly marshalled by James McArthur.
This win leaves the Latics needing just nine points from the last six games to mathematically guarantee their playoff spot, and that is assuming the chasing pack win all theirs, we have a lot to look forward to yet this season, I didn’t believe that we could top what happened at the end of the previous campaign, well we just might this time round, Wigan Athletic, making dreams a reality!
Latics – Al Habsi, Perch, Boyce, Ramis, Kiernan, Crainey, McArthur, Gomez, Waghorn (Fortune 68), McManaman (McClean 62), Powell (Collison 55)
Unused subs – Carson, Barnett, Maloney, Maynard.
Leeds – Butland, Wooton, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Tonge, Brown, Byram, McCormack, Hunt (Poleon 69), Smith.
Unused subs – Zaliukas, Murphy, Pugh, Cairns, Stewart, Mowatt.