RUTH­LESS WI­GAN GET A KIC THEY WANTED!

Un­beaten run hits sweet 16

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ned Bris­tow

GARY Cald­well says Wi­gan are look­ing for­ward to their au­to­matic pro­mo­tion chal­lenge af­ter they stretched their un­beaten run to 16 matches.

The win came af­ter three frus­trat­ing draws, and a fourth looked on the cards un­til Haris Vuc­kic came off the bench to net an 80th-minute win­ner.

And Cald­well says get­ting back to win­ning ways is just the push his side needs to ce­ment their po­si­tion in the top two.

“It’s im­por­tant to pick up points no mat­ter how they come at this stage in the sea­son,” he said.

“We de­served the win. We played bet­ter on the ball but they made it very dif­fi­cult for us.

“They were dif­fi­cult to break down and made us work for our goal, but we kept go­ing and got our re­ward in the end.

“We are de­lighted to win but we dust our­selves down and go again next week­end.

“The team are con­fi­dent and are play­ing well, and they have to keep tak­ing that into each game.

“Each game is so im­por­tant, but we look for­ward to that chal­lenge.”

Brad­ford came into the game in tremen­dous form, and went close af­ter two min­utes – Jamie Proc­tor dis­pos­sessed Craig Mor­gan and played in Kyel Reid, whose an­gled shot was saved.

From there Lat­ics took the as­cen­dency, and Yanic Wild­schut saw his 18-yard ef­fort strike the post af­ter David Perkins’ in­tel­li­gent through ball ten min­utes in.

In keep­ing with a lively start Lee Evans then saw Brad­ford’s next chance slip away when he lost his foot­ing six yards out chas­ing Proc­tor’s lat­eral header.

Wi­gan were show­ing their Cham­pi­onship cre­den­tials with pa­tient pos­ses­sion-based build up play, and forced two ex­cel­lent chances in quick suc­ces­sion.

Max Power saw his fierce drive blocked for a cor­ner, from which Wild­schut tucked the ball past Ben Wil­liams from eight yards only to see the off­side flag raised.

Af­ter weath­er­ing a first-half storm, Brad­ford should have taken the lead less than a minute into the se­cond.

Proc­tor latched onto Stephen Warnock’s poor de­fen­sive throw, cross­ing to Billy Clarke only for the for­ward to scuff wide from in­side the

six-yard box. Un­per­turbed, the hosts re­sumed their pass­ing style and slowed down a game bereft of chances, with the crowd spark­ing into life only when Warnock was clat­tered by Evans’ reck­less chal­lenge.

The game be­came a phys­i­cal af­fair, with play­ers and spectators alike frus­trated by a scarcity of goal­mouth ac­tion.

Brad­ford failed to cap­i­talise on a num­ber of sloppy Wi­gan mis­takes, with Josh Cullen send­ing a promis­ing free-kick rou­tine high over the bar from 25 yards.

But still Wi­gan pressed and Brad­ford’s re­sis­tance was fi­nally un­done by sub­sti­tute Vuc­kic’s late ef­fort.

The New­cas­tle loa­nee beat Nathan Clarke to the ball near the by­line, and rounded the on­rush­ing goal­keeper to tuck it home from short range and an acute an­gle.

Brad­ford threw on three sub­sti­tutes in search of an equaliser, but their best chance came when Evans’ cross evaded ev­ery­one and sailed past the post to send their 2,600-strong fol­low­ing home empty-handed.

Brad­ford man­ager Phil Parkin­son was dis­ap­pointed with the de­feat, af­ter his side gave as good as they got and squan­dered a hand­ful of golden op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“It’s very frus­trat­ing – we de­served at least a point out of the game but some­times you don’t get what you de­serve,” he said.

“Chances are few and far be­tween in games be­tween two teams at the top of the league, and we had the best chances. We looked the most likely but we just couldn’t find that real mo­ment of qual­ity, and in the end one mo­ment has cost us.

“The lads are re­ally hurt­ing be­cause they have put a lot of ef­fort in and were re­ally com­mit­ted.

“We just have to move on from it now, and we will be up there if we can keep putting in dis­plays like we have.”

HAPPY HARIS: The Lat­ics went in front late into the match with a goal from Haris Vuc­kic

PIC­TURES: Gor­don Clay­ton

IT’S OVER: Wi­gan Ath­letic’s Haris Vuc­kic fires them to three points

SO CLOSE: Wi­gan have a goal ruled out by the ref

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