RUTHLESS WIGAN GET A KIC THEY WANTED!
Unbeaten run hits sweet 16
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
IT’S OVER: Wigan Athletic’s Haris Vuckic fires them to three points
SO CLOSE: Wigan have a goal ruled out by the ref