Wigan v Port Vale
Saturday 30th January 2016
At the DW Stadium
Attendance: 9,627 including 1,456 visiting supporters
Vale conceded three goals away from home for the second time in three games as they failed to follow up their midweek win at the Keepmoat Stadium, but circumstances didn’t help Rob Page’s side
The first goal took a deflection from defender Richard Duffy to leave Jak Alnwick flat-footed and things went from bad to worse when Ryan McGivern was sent off and the home side were awarded a penalty kick.
Grigg netted from the spot to double the home side’s advantage and the same player added Wigan’s third in the second half to hammer the final nail in Vale’s coffin.
There were no surprises when Rob Page named his side ahead of the game, with the Vale boss ticking to the side that had been successful in midweek at Doncaster.
It was ‘as you were’ on the bench as well, with Colin Daniel, Byron Moore and Remie Streete all missing out again as Vale looked to continue their recent success which has seen then win two of their last three away fixtures.
There was a last minute change to the team, however, when Michael O’Connor was forced to withdraw with a knee injury and Sam Foley was recalled to the starting eleven.
Former Vale midfielder Sam Morsy and ex-Crewe striker Ryan Colclough, who both made the move to Wigan earlier in the week, each of them having to settle for a place on the home bench.
GOAL:Vale were holding their own in the opening minutes of the game up to the 7th minute when a low angled drive from Wildschutt took a deflection off Richard Duffy on its way past Jak Alnwick,
Far from letting that early goal upset their plans, Vale continued to play in the attacking style seen at Doncaster and almost levelled with a stooping header from Kennedey which was deflected wide of the target.
A lovely ball down the Vale right saw Wildschutt take his time before picking out Will Grigg, who somehow managed to scoop his shot high and wide.
Given that the home side were sitting in fourth spot in the table, it wasn’t too surprising that they had their share of the ball and looked quite dangerous at times, but credit to the Vale for some stout defending.
There was what the home side will be thinking was a bit of a let of for the Vale when the ball struck Ryan McGivern just outside the box and then immediately after that it struck the same player, setting up Grigg inside the area, only for Alnwick to sprint off his line to smother.
The home side continued to have the better of things, despite Vale’s willingness to push men forward, and they almost got a second when Wabara unleashed a dipping effort from 25 yards out, but Alnwick went to his right to palm the ball away.
At the other end Ajay Leitch–Smith forced his way past three defenders to git in a low shot, but Jussi Jasskelainen was well positioned to make a routine save.
But in the 39th minute things got that bit harder for the visitors when Ryan McGivern and Will Grigg clashed inside the box and the Vale defender was shown a red card.
GOAL: Griggdusted himself down and took the resulting spot kick himself, beating Alnwich from twelve yards via the underside of the crossbar.
Two minutes later Vale made an enforced change with Ryan Inniss coming off the bench to take McGivern’s place, with Kennedy being the unfortunate one to make way.
Vale opened the second half little nervously, knowing they were expected to keep it tight in the opening minutes with the home side looking to turn the screw.
Wildschutt cut inside from the left flank and danced his way to the edge of the box for a shot, but sliced it well wide of the target with the Vale defence looking rather bewildered.
The adverse weather conditions with the cold and driving wind weren’t helping to make the game particularly attractive on the eye, but it was a case of digging in and see what happens.
The home side made a change in the 61st minute with Colclough coming on for Vuckic and seconds later Power sent a shot inches wide of Alnwick’s right upright.
If Vale were going to get anything from the game things were going to have to change sooner rather than later.
Vale almost had an opportunity to pull a goal back, had the ball bounced kindly for JJ Hooper, but it took a nasty bounce when it dropped in front of him and the chance was gone.
Vale made a substitution in the 67th minute when Ajay Leitch-Smith was replaced by Sam Kelly, but two minutes later Grigg slotted home his second goal of the game to effectively wrap up the three points for the home side.
Before the game restarted Wigan introduced Sam Morsy from the bench for his Latics’ debut and then Theo Robinson replaced Hooper for the Vale.
Unfortunately by that time there was little Vale could do to rescue anything from the game, despite them not dropping their heads and continuing to give everything.
WIGAN ATHLETIC:Jussi Jasskelainen, David Perkins, Donervon Daniels, Max Power, Chris McCann, Will Grigg, Craig Morgan, Jason Pearce, Haris Vickic, Yanic Wildschut, Reece Wabara. SUBS: Lee Nicholls, Sam Morsy, Craig Davies, Tim Chow, Ryan Colclough, Jordy Hiwula, Jack Hendry.
PORT VALE:Jak Alnwick, Adam Yates, Richard Duffy, Ryan McGivern, Carl Dickinson, Louis Dodds, Anthony Grant, Sam Foley, Matty Kennedy, Ajay Leitch-Smith, JJ Hooper. SUBS: Chris Neal, Ben Purkiss, Michael Brown, Sam Kelly, Theo Robinson, Ryan Inniss