WIGAN ATHLETIC 0 CARDIFF CITY 1A first half solo effort from Aron Gunnarsson was enough to earn Cardiff all three points, in a frustrating night for Latics, who saw two goals ruled out for offside.
Wigan Athletic dominated possession throughout the contest, and were left frustrated after replays showed that both goals were at worst level, in a disappointing night for the side.
Malky Mackay made three changes to the side which started at the DW Stadium against Charlton on Friday, with both Jermaine Pennant and Gaetan Bong making their first team debuts for the club in place of the injured duo of Leon Clarke and William Kvist. Club captain Emmerson Boyce was also drafted back into the side, in place of Andrew Taylor.
Latics made a bright start to the game, and dominated possession from the offset, with Sheyi Ojo and new signing Jermaine Pennant looking particularly impressive down either flank.
It was Pennant who was involved for Latics first opportunity of the contest on the 14 minute mark, when he latched on to fellow debutant Bong’s cross on the left hand side to just head wide of the far post.
Despite the bright start and abundance of possession, Wigan Athletic struggled to make a serious impact in front of goal, and were duly punished by the visitors after 20 minutes, with an impressive solo effort from Aron Gunnarsson.
The midfielder broke down the left hand side and skipped past three defenders, before coolly slotting into the bottom corner past goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi from the left hand side of the penalty area.
Latics continued to dominate possession after the opening goal, but were lacking in the final third, and struggled to make a serious impact on the Cardiff goal.
Malky Mackay’s men could not be faulted for their work rate however, with several making solo runs into dangerous areas.
Stalwart Emmerson Boyce led the charge on his 250th appearance for the club, and his tenacity almost paid dividends, but the defender just failed to thread in Marc-Antoine Fortune, after an imperious 50-yard run forward.
Latics continued to press, and were incredibly unlucky not to draw level seven minutes from the whistle, when they saw the first of two goals chalked off for offside, after an impeccable forward move.
Bong flicked on Fortune’s cross in the direction of James McClean, who thought he had scored with his effort into the bottom corner, until it was ruled offside, despite replays suggesting otherwise.
The action continued to unfold in a similar fashion in the second half, with Latics averaging a whopping 60% possession, but struggled to put Cardiff ‘keeper David Marshall under pressure.
Forward James McClean continued to fight the cause up top, and almost gave Latics the perfect start to the second interval in the 48th minute, when he just failed to latch on to Kim bo-Kyung’s teasing through ball into a very dangerous area.
Ojo and Pennant continued to taunt the visiting defence, and the pair brought about the half’s first serious chance in the 54th minute, when Ojo latched onto Pennant’s ball on the left and fed Fortune in the area, who fired narrowly over Marshall’s crossbar with an effort from a tight angle.
Latics continued to pour forward, and were almost rewarded for their efforts through an unlikely source fifteen minutes from time through Harry Maguire, who produced a good save from Marshall with his low drive from the edge of the area which was creeping into the bottom corner.
Wigan Athletic looked to have finally gotten the breakthrough two minutes later, but were left aggrieved once more, when they saw a second goal chalked off for offside under questionable circumstances.
Boyce whipped an excellent ball into the path of substitute Martyn Waghorn in the area, who tucked the ball away, only for the linesman to once again rule in the favour of the visitors.
Cardiff almost made things worse two minutes from time, with a rare move forward that saw Sean Morrison head narrowly over from a Peter Whittingham cross.
Latics continued to press into the dying seconds, but were left to wonder what might have been as Cardiff held on for all three points.