Latics go down to first Sky Bet League One defeat of the season against in-form Shrewsbury Town.
- Report: Shrewsbury Town 1 – 0 Wigan Athletic.
- Latics lose to league leaders in Sky Bet League One
- First league defeat as Latics boss for Paul Cook’s side.
SHREWSBURY TOWN 1
Attendance: 6,929 (1,442 away)
Paul Cook’s Latics fell to their first league defeat of the season against in-form Shrewsbury Town at the Montgomery Waters Meadow, a first half-goal from Stefan Payne enough to separate the sides.
Latics had chances throughout the match but couldn’t find a way past Town’s highly organised defence, and when they did, keeper Dean Henderson was on hand to make key saves. Cook’s men piled on the pressure as the game wore on but just couldn’t find a way through.
Latics were forced into two changes following on-loan goalkeeper Christian Walton fracturing his fibula in training and Chey Dunkley’s suspension. Jamie Jones made his league debut in goal, with Alex Bruce making his first league start for the club after arriving on deadline day. Montenegro Under 23 international goalkeeper Matija Sarkic was on the bench for the first time.
Latics had chances in the first half but found themselves behind at the break to Stefan Payne’s close-range strike in the 25th minute.
Latics had an early penalty appeal turned down in the 6th minute when a chest-down by Nick Powell appeared to strike the arm of Aristotle Nsiala in the area, then Powell was denied by the out-rushing Dean Henderson immediately afterwards after Ivan Toney had sent him clear.
Michael Jacobs then opened up the Town defence with a superb solo run after 13 minutes, dribbling from the half-way line before striking his shot into the side-netting.
Jones was called into significant action for the first time after 19 minutes, diving at full-stretch high to his left to tip a curling effort by Shaun Whalley onto the crossbar but the hosts were ahead six minutes later when Nsiala headed the ball in a crowded box and Payne was quickest to react.
Powell twice went close in the 26th minute, from a 25-yard free-kick, just over, then a snap shot inside the box, saved by Henderson but Latics did not threaten again before the break.
Latics dominated the early stages of the second half, but had to wait until the 53rd minute for Jacobs to have an effort on goal after jinxing past two defenders and shooting from a narrow angle across the face.
Dan Burn superbly denied Rodman a shot after a quick breakaway, Lee Evans had a snapshot saved in the box then after 59 minutes, Toney struck the post when he met Nathan Byrne’s right wing cross with a diving header.
Will Grigg and Ryan Colclough replaced Toney and Gavin Massey in the 62nd as Latics looked to keep the momentum but Shrewsbury continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack if \Latics committed numbers forwards.
Henderson had to rush off his line to deny Grigg a strike on goal in the 67th minute, then Ben Godfrey put his back in the way of a rasping goal-bound effort by Evans from the edge of the box.
Gary Roberts made his debut for the club in place of Nick Powell in the 75th minute in Cook’s last throw of the dice.
Colclough tried his luck from distance on 80 minutes but the shot was over the bar, Grigg saw his shot deflected before Evans was brought down by Godfrey on the edge of the box. Roberts too and Henderson had to scoop it off his line. Burn’s header from the resultant corner was a yard wide. Henderson then plucked a ball out of the air as Grigg was ready to head at goal.
It was all Latics as five additional minutes were called but the elusive goal couldn’t be found and tempers were lost at the full-time whistle, the referee brandishing a red card at Colclough.
Latics: Jones, Byrne, Bruce, Burn, James, Morsy, Evans, Massey (Colclough 62), Jacobs, Powell (Roberts 76), Toney (Grigg 62)
Subs not used: Sarkic, Thomas, Perkins, Hunt.
Shrewsbury Town: Henderson; Godfrey, Nsiala, Sadler, Bolton; Rodman, Ogogo, Nolan (Adams 90), Brown; Whalley (Beckles), Payne (John-Lewis, 78)
Subs not used: MacGilliviray, Riley, Dodds, Gnahoua.