LATICS 0 - 1 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
A late deflected goal in the first half from Ross Wallace was enough to send the points from this fiercely contested Roses match back across the Pennines, despite a tremendous second half rally from Latics, who came within a whisker of equalising through debutant James Weir whilst Callum Connolly’s goal was ruled out for offside.
There was also a debut for Omar Bogle as Latics threw everything into getting level but a resolute Wednesday backline held firm to claim the points on a frustrating night for Warren Joyce and his players.
Despite all the arrivals on deadline day, Joyce was able to field an unchanged starting eleven for the third consecutive match, with four of the new boys finding a way on to the bench, Bogle, Weir, Jamie Hanson and Matt Gilks. Among the Wednesday substitutes was Callum McManaman, his first return to the DW Stadium since leaving in 2015.
Latics went in at the break a goal down after a first half that presented little in the way of chances for either side but they were hit with a late sucker punch, as they had been at Old Trafford in their previous fixture.
It took fully half an hour for Latics to fashion the first real opportunity when Sam Morsy was teed up by Stephen Warnock, but his shot was comfortably gathered by Keiren Westwood.
Just as time was running out in the half, Wallace latched onto a flick from Jordan Rhodes following a Vincent Sasso long ball, and was able to poke the ball into the net courtesy of a deflection off Jake Buxton’s outstretched leg and over the head of Jakob Haugaard. A goal in many ways to typify Latics’ luck this season.
Latics came out firing in the second half and had a chance in the 49th minute as Morsy powered his way into the area only for Westwood to smother the ball from a tight angle, bravely clattering into the Egyptian and coming off the worse for the challenge.
In the 57th minute there was another good chance as Will Grigg’s touch in the box let him down at the crucial moment as he collected a Michael Jacobs ball and he wasn’t able to get a shot away. Then Dan Burn just wasn’t able to crane his neck enough to get a powerful enough connection with Power’s cross to trouble Westwood.
Bogle and Weir were both introduced with 25 minutes remaining, in place of Grigg and David Perkins and they instantly reinjected life into Latics. Weir was inches away from connecting with a through ball before Connolly latched on to a terrific reverse pass from Max Power to round Westwood and finish – unfortunately the linesman’s flag was up.
Then, in the 75th minute, came the best chance of the game as Weir stole late into the box but wasn’t able to make a clean enough contact with an impeccable cross from Jacobs and his header from ten yards flew just over.
Still Latics kept probing but Wednesday were holding firm, with only a solitary effort from Adam Reach their only real chance after the break.
Latics almost got their deserved equaliser seconds from the end of six additional minutes when Jakob Haugaard came up for a corner, the ball bobbed about the Wednesday box before Jacobs fizzed an effort just wide. It was just not to be.