Yanic Wildschut wins it for Latics at Huddersfield as away run goes on.
- Report from Wigan Athletic's win at Huddersfield Town.
- Warren Joyce wins first game as Wigan Athletic boss.
- Reece Burke and Yanic Wildschut goals win it for Latics at the John Smith's Stadium.
Reece Burke’s first goal for the club and Yanic Wildschut’s solo effort on the break secured a precious first three points in charge of Wigan Athletic for Warren Joyce, as his side put in a textbook away from home’ performance at high-flying Huddersfield.
The game wasn’t without its nervy moments, and Latics had to dig in for long spells of the game against a dangerous Huddersfield side. However, Joyce clearly came here with a game plan, and his side executed it to perfection.
The game revolved around the masterful Wildschut, who had a hand in both goals with his bundles of pace on the break, as Joyce’s well-drilled side battled to a hard fought, but well deserved, three points at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The manager made three changes to the side which battled to a creditable point at Barnsley last Saturday, with Jussi Jaaskelainen, Nathan Byrne and Luke Garbutt coming in for Adam Bogdan, Craig Morgan and Nick Powell. Adam Bogdan’s injury meant that 20-year-old Dan Lavercombe earned his first call-up to Latics’ match day squad.
The hosts started the game in sixth place in the Sky Bet Championship, and it was clear to see why David Wagner’s men have begun the season so brightly, as they pressed Joyce’s Latics from the offset, seeing plenty of possession.
Joyce had set his side up to keep it tight at the back, and they did exactly that for the opening stages, with Huddersfield having to wait until the ninth minute for their first opportunity of the contest, when Elias Kachunga headed just over after great link-up with Rajiv Van La Parra.
The hosts went close two minutes later when Jon Stankovic headed over Aaron Mooy’s free-kick from the right-hand side, and if they weren’t ruing their luck then, then they certainly were on 24 minutes, when Kachunga poked the ball home, only to see the goal ruled out.
The forward had latched on to Tommy Smith’s ball from the right-hand side, and took no time at all in guiding the ball home, but Smith had strayed into an offside position, and Latics survived.
Latics were having to dig in, but the presence of Wildschut and Byrne meant they were a constant threat on the break, and Wildschut gave the first warning just 60 seconds later, curling the ball just wide of Ward’s net after bursting down the left flank.
That chance was a fleeting moment of an otherwise dominant opening half hour for the hosts, and that pattern continued for the next ten minutes, with Kasey Palmer, Smith and Sean Scannell all going close for their side.
For all of the hosts’ domination, though, Wildschut continued to look a threat on the break with his blistering pace, and Latics bagged the lead just five minutes before the interval through an unlikely source; after great work from Wildschut. The forward burst down the right hand side into a crossing position, before swinging it in low towards the looming Burke, who thankfully had strayed from his role at the back. The cross fizzed its way past the defender into the path of Burke, who was able to stroke home from six yards and put Latics into a shock lead.
Latics were buoyed by the goal, and could have had another before the interval through Wildschut, who yet again caused trouble with his pace before seeing his effort deflect wide. Huddersfield kept their visitors out however, to keep it at just the one for Latics at the interval.
The announcer on the PA system at the John Smith’s stadium encouraged the home support to get behind their team in the second half, and the fans’ extra enthusiasm ensured that the hosts restarted the game with as much enthusiasm as the first.
Latics set themselves up, like the first half, to frustrate David Wagner’s men, but it took just four minutes for an enthused Huddersfield to draw level through Mooy, who guided the ball home from close range. The move started through Nakhi Wells, who broke down the left-hand side, and saw his low cross touched home by the waiting Mooy, who couldn’t miss from point blank range.
Huddersfield were, like Latics in the first half, buoyed by their goal, and quickly pressed forward in search of a second, with Mooy seeing his two efforts from range go close within five minutes of his equaliser.
Latics were again largely penned into their own half, but the lurking Wildschut ensured that Joyce’s side had a bite on the counter attack, and they punished Huddersfield for a second time on the hour mark, courtesy of a brilliant solo goal by Wildschut.
The forward was first to react to a loose ball and drove forward, passing two defenders, before rounding Danny Ward and guiding the ball into the back of the net to put his side back infront.
Latics were in dreamland, and it could have gotten better just 60 seconds later through Wildschut again, who just guided the ball wide after causing yet more havoc with his pace on the break.
Huddersfield were quick to respond, and will feel aggrieved not to have won a penalty in the next ten minutes, with Wells and then Mooy twice brought down in the area, only for the referee to wave play on.
Huddersfield continued to dominate possession, but Latics were full of confidence, and for all of the hosts’ play they were struggling to carve out serious chances, and the clock continued to creep forward.
Latics battled all the way to the whistle and, despite a few nervous moments, were able to hold on to secure a much-needed three points for Warren Joyce.
Huddersfield Town: Ward, Smith, Lowe, Hogg (Billing 67), Hudson (Schindler 7), Stankovic, Scannell (Wells 45), Mooy, Kachunga, Palmer, Van La Parra.
Subs: Murphy. Whitehead, Holmes-Dennis, Bunn.
Latics: Jaaskelainen, Burke (Burn 74). Garbutt, Perkins, Buxton, Warnock, Byrne (Powell 78), MacDonald, Power, Jacobs, Wildschut (Davies 84).
Subs: Lavercombe, Le Fondre, Gomez, Woolery.