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Wigan Athletic 1-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 11th Dec 2021 16:59

James Norwood’s first league goal of the season saw Town to a 1-1 draw against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. Callum Lang’s 22nd-minute goal gave the Latics a 1-0 half-time lead but sub Norwood pounced on 77 to claim the first point of interim manager John McGreal’s stint in charge of the Blues.

Joe Pigott started alongside Macauley Bonne as McGreal switched the Blues to a 4-4-2 system with Toto Nsiala, Sone Aluko and Scott Fraser dropping out of the XI.

Cameron Burgess took over from Nsiala at the heart of the defence with the back four otherwise the same as at Charlton on Tuesday. Ex-Latics loanee Christian Walton was in goal.

In midfield, former Wigan pair Sam Morsy and Lee Evans were in the centre with Conor Chaplin on the right with Kyle Edwards on the left.

Aluko and Fraser were on the bench, alongside James Norwood, who was back in the 18 for the first time since the Gillingham Papa John's Trophy tie game on October 5th.

Wigan Athletic included former Blues Will Keane and Gwion Edwards from the start.

After both teams and the official had taken a knee to applause from the two sets of supporters, the game got under way in steady rain with the Blues, wearing a black and grey away strip for the first time, taking the game to the home side in the opening couple of minutes.

But the Latics began to get on top and in the 10th minute James McClean crossed dangerously from the left and Janoi Donacien did well to get his head on the ball at the back post ahead of former Blue Edwards with Walton subsequently claiming.

Neither side threatened again until the 20th minute when Pigott was caught high by a boot as he held off a defender. The striker was off the pitch as Evans sent the free-kick to the far post but Bonne’s header looped well wide.

Within a minute, Wigan forced Walton into the first save of the game, Tom Pearce breaking away down the left before hitting a well-struck shot which the Blues’ keeper did well to palm over.

The resultant corner was forced behind from another flag-kick from which the Latics went in front. McClean sent the ball over, Walton saved from Gwion Edwards’s near-post flick-on but Lang was on hand to slam in from close range. Town complained at length that Lang had been offside but referee Trevor Kettle showed no interest, probably correctly.

The Blues had greater cause for frustration with the officials two minutes after the goal when Edwards beat two men, cut in from the left and then appeared to be tripped by Jack Whatmough. It looked a clear penalty and Town protested long and hard as referee Kettle awarded only a corner.

As the game passed the half-hour mark, the veteran official began to lose control. He first booked Conor Chaplin for an alleged trip on Pearce, although it appeared a clear dive, before seeming to reverse his decision to card the Blues’ forward after talking to his linesman.

Chaplin, who moments earlier had been held back after angrily pointing his finger at Pearce, quickly took a free-kick, presumably believing one had been awarded for the dive, before the referee stopped and indicated that it was still a Wigan free-kick.

Then, as things seemed to settle down, Pearce went down off the ball with Chaplin near him but with the Town players suggesting he had again taken a dive. Chaplin’s booking then appeared to be reaffirmed.

Order was restored but with one or two niggly challenges and Chaplin booed by the home support.

On 37, the Blues forced Ben Amos into his first save of the afternoon. Evans sent another free-kick from the left to the far post from where Bonne headed towards goal and the keeper dived to his left to claim two-handed with some comfort.

Blues interim boss McGreal approached referee Kettle at the whistle, presumably to get an explanation for the penalty decision and a number of other incidents after a puzzling and incoherent display from Mr Kettle.

Town hadn’t been too much better. After a reasonable first few minutes, they allowed Wigan to take control and then conceded from the first set piece.

The Blues’ only real threat from open play should have resulted in a penalty with Town’s only attempts Bonne’s headers from Evans’s free-kicks.

Chaplin may have been a touch still to be on after losing his head in the late incident, although to a great extent due to gamesmanship and poor officiating.

Town swapped full-backs Donacien and Kane-Vincent-Young with the latter now in the role he often occupied when playing under McGreal at Colchester.

The Blues began the half positively and five minutes after the restart Chaplin sent over a ball from the right which neither Pigott nor Edwards were able to get a touch at the far post.

The mood between the teams remained fractious with Gwion Edwards going to ground claiming to have been caught by Morsy with referee Kettle unmoved, then Donacien was put on the floor by Lang in front of the dugouts as a throw was being taken.

But the Blues were unable to threaten again and the Latics began to look more dangerous. Just after the hour, after Evans had been harshly adjudged to have fouled Lang, Max Power curled a free-kick on to the roof of the net.

It was little surprise that Town interim boss McGreal looked to make changes and that James Norwood was among them, the striker, previously out of favour and training with the U23s, taking over from Pigott, who will again be frustrated at not having made much of his opportunity to start, while Aluko came on for Chaplin, who was booed to the touchline by the home fans.

Norwood struck a weak effort from the left of the box which was little trouble for Amos in the 69th minute but with Wigan still on top and looking the more likely scorers of the game’s second goal.

Two minutes later, ex-Blues striker Keane had the ball in the net having been threaded through by Gwion Edwards but with the linesman’s flag raised.

In the 73rd minute Norwood chipped a ball towards Bonne inside the area but his pass was just too strong for Town’s top scorer.

George Edmundson brought the ball forward towards the right on 77 but was tripped by Lang, who was shown Wigan’s first yellow card of the game.

And from the free-kick, the Blues levelled with Norwood perhaps inevitable the man finding the target.

Evans sent the ball in, the ball ran loose and the returning striker was quickest to react to slam into the net.

Norwood pointed out his name on the back of his shirt as he made his way back into the Town half having scored his first goal since the Papa John’s Trophy tie against West Ham U21s in August.

Kyle Edwards and Aluko swapped flanks as the Blues suddenly looked the side with the impetus. On 81 the Latics switched Gwion Edwards for Gavin Massey.

Two minutes later, Edmundson was booked for a foul on Lang and from the free-kick Keane should have won it for the Lancastrians. Power floated the ball in from the left, the former Blues frontman headed from the edge of the six-yard box and it seemed destined to hit the net but somehow he guided it past the post.

At the other end, the Blues were looking a much more competent unit than earlier in the game. On 86, after good work from Aluko, a blocked Norwood strike looped to Edwards on the right of the area but the winger’s shot was deflected behind.

Following the resultant corner, the ball fell to Aluko but the Nigerian international was unable to get a clean strike on it.

As the game moved into its final minute, the Blues were on top, but Morsy rather wasted a promising attack by shooting well wide from Norwood’s lay-back.

Neither side threatened in three minutes of injury time and referee Kettle’s whistle confirmed that the Blues had taken a point from the division’s second-placed side.

In contrast to Charlton on Tuesday, the Blues players were warmly applauded by their supporters as they made their way to the stand.

The Blues improved after the introductions of Norwood and Aluko with the striker doing what he does best, snaffling up a chance in the area when it came.

The result sees Town drop a place to 12th ahead of Wednesday’s long FA Cup trip to Barrow.

Wigan: Amos, Darikwa, Whatmough, Tilt, Pearce (Humphrys 90), Naylor, Power, Edwards (Massey 80), Keane, McClean, Lang. Unused: Janes, Kerr, Watts, Aasgaard, Jones.

Town: Walton, Vincent-Young, Edmundson, Burgess, Donacien, Morsy (c), Evans, Chaplin (Aluko 62), Pigott (Norwood 62), Edwards, Bonne. Unused: Hladky, Penney, Carroll, El Mizouni, Fraser. Referee: Trevor Kettle (Rutland). Att: 10,296 (Town: 1,077).

Photo: Pagepix

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BromleyBloo added 17:00 - Dec 11
Sounded pretty poor again with us struggling to create anything……….again.

Until subs changed things and Nors offers something different and scores goals.

Stopped the slide/got a point, but we need so much more.

Didn’t we buy some good players in the summer???


Kickingblock added 17:00 - Dec 11
Humble pie for Norwood out brigade?
Thanks James, All the best whatever! 👍👊

tractorboi added 17:01 - Dec 11
McGreal OUT!

TractorFrog added 17:02 - Dec 11
I'll take it!

tractorboi added 17:03 - Dec 11
^^ joking obviously.. but i do wonder who is the right person to take over this group of players..?

cat added 17:03 - Dec 11
Pleased for Norwood & pleased with the away point. Need to keep in touch with the top and pick up points til the new manager comes in and hopefully turns it around.

martin587 added 17:03 - Dec 11
That was very hard to watch but full credit we held on and got a point.Plenty to ponder but a happy drive home.Well done James.

TimmyH added 17:04 - Dec 11
An Okay result in isolation but we need to start winning games again...glad for Norwood who gives us some guile and physicality missing with others upfront, hopefully the new manager will keep him.

BangaloreBlues added 17:05 - Dec 11
What a great result! :-)
Wasn't expecting that at all.

jas0999 added 17:06 - Dec 11
Considering the goal is promotion, I’d normally see this as a below average result. BUT considering the circumstances, the fact we didn’t play well, first half terrible this is actually a good result.

superblues9 added 17:08 - Dec 11
Norwood Best striker at the club regardless what anyone thinks needs to start every game

BlueRuin69 added 17:09 - Dec 11
He battles, he fights and he knows how to score.....Norwood if fit should play and keep 442, Good result Coyb

blueboy1981 added 17:10 - Dec 11
The Norwood Effect !!

His presence is essential, and his ability unquestionable.
His character is all part of being in player’s faces, and will always be a handful.
Lose him in January at our peril.
No one to match him in our squad.

midastouch added 17:12 - Dec 11
Hopefully that's the only goal we're going to see from anybody or anything starting with the letters Norw today! :-)
Good effort to battle back from 1 down at half time for a point. We didn't sound very convincing but I'd have snapped your hand off for a point at half time so a good effort in difficult circumstances.

chopra777 added 17:13 - Dec 11
First job for Monday take Norwood off the transfer list. This proves we can fight. Any point off the top six is encouraging. Maybe 442 might work with some coaching. But this depends on who we get. A needle in a haystack at present. A big name will be wrong, just an honest head coach with progressive ideas. Better today and we did not crumble.

DaGremloid added 17:13 - Dec 11
I would've taken that at the start of the day but I'm really questioning how good all these summer signings actually are - you know, the ones who were supposedly going to rip up this league. It's going to take a very good manager to knock them into some sort of shape and definitely some new additions needed. Fought back well today in the end. Ironic that a player who has been 'ignored' all season comes on and rescues a point a week after PC leaves...

therein61 added 17:15 - Dec 11
After last w/end then Tuesday this result however earned comes as a relief we could have been hammered well done Nors on your point saver and the rest of you boys we rode our luck at time and that point if we start picking up wins could be crucial.

VanDusen added 17:15 - Dec 11
A great point in the circs Norwood's fight made a massive difference but so did switching JD back to right back.

Again having seen all but one of the league we've only really been outclassed by Rotherham this season over 90 mins, with Tuesday night's shambles entirely our own fault imo. These players can play, but boy do we need to make the right decision with the manager to get them.doing so consistently.

Bert added 17:15 - Dec 11
It may have been scruffy but a point against an inform Wigan is flipping good in my book. It will help build a little bit of confidence. Soundly beat Barrow and I will start to look forward to the Sunderland game. Pleased that Norwood got his chance. In this league he is an asset even if he is a bit wayward in his behaviour. Compared to Boris Johnson he is almost saintly !!!!!!

johnwarksshorts added 17:15 - Dec 11
Say what you like about Norwood but he gets in people's faces and scores goals, hope to see him starting games. Good point today but performances need to improve alot. COYB!

SpiritOfJohn added 17:16 - Dec 11
Some credit due to McGreal for trying something different, and then making a change before it was too late. Confidence started to come back when the subs came on. It wasn't always pretty, but we didn't allow Wigan to bully us, which gives some cause for optimism going forwards.

midastouch added 17:16 - Dec 11
Has Cook done a Hurst style job on us and left us with a load of bang average League One level players? Or could another manager actually get a decent tune out of these lot? I'm really not sure (similar to DaGremloid who is wondering the same above).

Northstandveteran added 17:19 - Dec 11

You watch Ipswich sober!!!!!

bixleyboy added 17:21 - Dec 11
Happy with the point considering how bad we played Tuesday. We NEED a new manager in before Sunderland game and hope whoever it is can get them playing giving us a well needed new manager bounce. That’s the only way we’ll get anything from this season now.

DifferentGravy added 17:24 - Dec 11
Well done second half lads and really pleased that Norwood came on and did the business(now keep your head when youre off the pitch). We need that drive, that hustle and bustle from the players and confidence was clearly ebbing away until one steps up...then they all start to respond. Now lets put in a performance on the tv

Fantastic away support.....can only take my hat off too them. Shame the ref was the complete opposite (needs to retake his referee courses for me....shocking)

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