Wigan and West Brom shared the points after a Sky Bet Championship clash devoid of much in the way of quality ended 1-1 at the DW Stadium.
The home side made a strong start in response to Saturday’s crushing 5-1 home defeat at the hands of Burnley, and they were ahead with a goal from Josh Magennis.
The Northern Ireland international was always second best as he chased a long, hopeful punt downfield, but he managed to barge his way over Baggies centre-back Semi Ajayi, before acrobatically volleying the ball home past David Button.
It was only the second time Wigan had taken the lead in seven matches this term – and the first at home.
Image: Karlan Grant celebrates after scoring at Wigan
The mood was further improved when former Baggies winger James McClean – who had been booed by a section of the away support – clattered into Jed Wallace, fairly in the view of referee Andy Woolmer.
West Brom were struggling to muster much in the way of a response, and they were forced into an early change when Ajayi pulled up lame, and had to be replaced by Darnell Furlong.
But they were given a lifeline back into the game midway through the first half.
There was little danger as Wigan had the ball in the centre-circle, but Tom Naylor’s ball back towards Jack Whatmough was woefully short.
Karlan Grant seized on the loose ball and, with Whatmough backing off towards his own box, the striker rifled home into the bottom corner past Ben Amos.
That was about it in terms of football played for the first half, with neither side appearing to have the cutting edge required to further threaten each other’s defence.
Naylor almost made amends for his error on the hour mark when his driven cross found McClean at the far post, but the winger’s header was wide of Button’s right-hand post.
Wigan fans were treated to the first sight of Charlie Wyke on home soil since he suffered a cardiac arrest at the training ground last November, with new signing Nathan Broadhead also sent onto the field.
Still, neither goalkeeper was being forced into much work, with McClean firing high and wide as the game entered the last 10 minutes, and Wyke unable to get on the end of a teasing delivery from Broadhead.
The result means Wigan have lost only one of their opening six fixtures back in the Championship, with four draws, while West Brom – who were booed off by a section of their support – have drawn five of their seven matches.
What the managers said…
Wigan’s Leam Richardson: “I thought a draw was a fair result. We’re obviously disappointed after taking the lead, and the manner of their equaliser. But when lads make honest mistakes like we did – and I mean this genuinely – I have no problem with that at all. I have a problem when players don’t run hard, or work hard, or have good habits throughout the week – I have big problems with that. But when they make honest mistakes, I have absolutely no issues, and we have to keep reminding ourselves of the clubs we’re going head to head with here.
“We’re still only just over a year from coming out of administration, and we’re coming up against the likes of West Brom, Burnley and Norwich. Tonight you’re talking about a manager with more than 1,000 games behind him, with a team that will be aiming for a top-six position, the calibre of player is there for all to see. Our lads are learning, they’re very honest, and they’ve accepted the challenge in front of them, which is being ready to go every 72 hours.”
West Brom’s Steve Bruce: “I’m glad I didn’t have to pay to watch it. Look, I can’t fault my team in terms of effort and endeavour, but we knew Wigan would have a backlash from the weekend (5-1 home defeat to Burnley), and we found it difficult. We couldn’t find the answers to be able to break through, we didn’t pass it well enough, and we didn’t have nearly enough penetration. It was a frustrating night for us, because we simply didn’t play well enough to win the match.
“For how well we played at the weekend, we didn’t play well enough here. It’s arguably as poor as we’ve played, and that’s the way it is, but also credit to Wigan, who were determined, aggressive, put it forward, and asked a few questions of us.”
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