Charl­ton too good as Wi­gan crum­ble

The Football League Paper - - CHAM­PI­ONSHIP - By Dan Gil­lott

MALKY Mackay claims Wi­gan’s in­jury list is the worst he’s ever seen but by the sounds of the boos at the fi­nal whis­tle, the Lat­ics faith­ful are giv­ing his ex­cuses short shrift.

In fair­ness to Mackay, any man­ager’s best-laid plans would have been ripped to shreds by two in­juries in the first half – in­clud­ing what looked like a ma­jor con­cern for Leon Clarke.

The striker re­quired a neck brace and a stretcher af­ter an awk­ward fall, with Wil­liam Kvist al­ready forced off the pitch due to a ham­string in­jury and Charl­ton a goal to the good through the sparkling Fred­eric Bu­lot.

Any of the feel-good fac­tor from their mid­week win over Read­ing – their first vic­tory in eight games – then dis­ap­peared com­pletely as Igor Ve­tokele, and a late strike from Ad­dicks debu­tant Chris Ea­gles, set­tled it.

It leaves Wi­gan scroung­ing around for their first home win since Au­gust as their sur­vival prospects dim by the week.

And Mackay in­sists he and his squad are not hav­ing much luck at present.

“I don’t think I’ve seen any­thing like this in all my years as a player and a man­ager in terms of the way things have hap­pened with ill­ness and in­jury,” he said.

“We bring in a new mid­field part­ner­ship in Chris Herd and Wil­liam Kvist – and we lose Herd for the sea­son and now we lose Kvist, who is an­other very im­por­tant player for us.

“To com­pound that we have an in­cred­i­bly strange sit­u­a­tion with Leon Clarke, who was on a spinal board tak­ing oxy­gen at half-time, with an is­sue with his neck and spine, and off to hos­pi­tal.

“We sent 16 balls across their box, young Sheyi Ojo was on fire, and even af­ter their first goal I thought we were go­ing to get it back.

“To lose Kvist and Clarke so quickly af­fected the team, and the way Herd and Kvist play in mid­field – their at­ti­tude and the way they go about the game – would cer­tainly have helped on that pitch.

“I make no apol­ogy for go­ing for it in the se­cond half and los­ing a third goal on the counter at the end.”

Charl­ton keeper Stephen Hen­der­son had to be on red alert from the off, how­ever, with a fine save from Lat­ics front man Marc An­toine-For­tune.

But the vis­i­tors fended off Wi­gan’s early surge and took the lead in the 17th minute, Bu­lot mak­ing good on a solo run by smash­ing past Ali Al-Habsi at the near post.

The Gabon in­ter­na­tional then swung in the cross for Ve­tokele, who still had a lot of work to do to shrug off at­ten­tion in the box and head home the vis­i­tors’ se­cond.

That was vir­tu­ally the last act of the first half and Ve­tokele picked up where he left off af­ter the in­ter­val, nearly pounc­ing again af­ter muscling past Jason Pearce and Andrew Taylor – and be­ing stopped by Al-Habsi.

But Wi­gan’s mis­ery was com­plete two min­utes be­fore full time as Ea­gles tucked away a fine counter-at­tack.

The grey skies seem to be lift­ing over Charl­ton, the vic­tory fol­low­ing their im­pres­sive tri­umph over Brent­ford by the same score last week.

But boss Guy Lu­zon said: “We don’t need to look now at the ta­ble, the ta­ble’s not im­por­tant.

“It’s im­por­tant to move for­ward to the next game and to con­tinue to keep clean sheets and score in ev­ery game. The ta­ble is im­por­tant only at the end of the sea­son.

“It was a game be­tween teams who fight to stay in the league, a game of six points. We knew it would be tough be­cause Wi­gan ar­rived with good mo­men­tum from the win at Read­ing away.

“We came with con­fi­dence and we were magnificent in de­fence, or­gan­ised well and our goal­keeper doesn’t need to jump or touch the ball.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HEAD MASTER: Charl­ton’s Igor Ve­tokele scores the se­cond

ON THEIR WAY: The Ad­dicks’ Fred­eric Bu­lot opens the scor­ing

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