This weekend I made the trip to Wigan Athletic, another former Premier League team ticked off the ever-growing list. Cardiff City were the visitors to the DW Stadium, in a tie that the relegation threatened Latics needed to win if their slim hopes of staying in the Championship were to stay alive.
A 20-minute walk from ‘Wigan North Western’ train station, it is an easily accessible venue for supporters, and with ticket prices stooping at just £20, the long journey was more than justified. Following recent trips to Bury and Northampton, the home of the former FA Cup winners had a real aura about it. The Wigan faithful kept their plucky side biting at Cardiff’s ankles throughout the contest with the constant cheering and signing willing them on.
The size of the ground for a club currently in a disastrous slump does dilute the atmosphere somewhat. Although should you get a seat in the heavens of East Stand, don’t expect a moments rest, with the sound of the drum banging in your ears.
Food is reasonably priced inside the stadium, but if you’re like me and like to get the most for your money then there are plenty of shops just around the corner in the Robin Park shopping outlet. My two-hour journey was made worthwhile by an approachable set of fans, and of course meeting the players prior to kick-off. I’m sure I’ll be back to the DW next season!
Attendance – 10,785
The Lancashire side had the lion’s share of possession, but were unable to break down a gutsy home defence. Substitute Ryan Colclough came closest from a snapshot with ten minutes remaining
Referee Oliver Langford also waved away several penalty appeals, none of which looked stone-wall. Gabriel Obertan blazed over early in the second half but that’s all the action we would see in the opening hour of football.
Cardiff winger Craig Noone was gifted the ball by David Perkins on 67 minutes but he failed to convert the Welsh team’s best opportunity on of the match, glancing the bar and sparing Perkins’ blushes.
Overall the point does very little for Wigan who are still embroiled in a heated relegation battle, only maximum points from their final two matches will do if they want to remain a Championship outfit for next campaign. Cardiff keep chugging along, but this season is all but over, the Bluebirds will hope for better in 2017-18, a few sly additions could see them mount a play-off push under Warnock.
Stand out performer
After such a dull encounter, it is difficult to highlight one individual. But I will give the accolade to Wigan skipper David Perkins this week. The ex-Barnsley man had just returned from injury, and to go into such an important game and perform as he did was exceptional.
He tore into tackles and was more often than not the catalyst for the Wigan attacks. He was withdrawn late on to allow giant central defender Dan Burn to join the attacking fold, but this rounded off an impressive 80 minutes for the 34-year-old.