Ten-man Wigan stun Leeds to blow Championship promotion race open
This was the afternoon when Leeds were designed to hit the accelerator and observe the dual carriageway on the Premier League open up looking at them but, instead, 10-man Wigan delighted in forcing Marcelo Bielsa’s team towards the hard shoulder.
Paul Cook’s side arrived when using the worst away record in the Football League however left their opponents as frustrated because over-heated drivers stuck in Easter traffic on the clogged motorways surrounding the city.
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On this evidence Bielsa’s defence requires emergency repairs if they are to extract their composure and pip Sheffield United to the second automatic promotion slot behind Norwich. Granted third-placed Leeds are behind Chris Wilder’s side only on goal difference with 36 shots but, psychologically, this bore the many hallmarks of any disastrous defeat.
Undeterred with the early loss of Cdric Kipr with an extremely contentious red card, Cook’s team recorded a crucial win that lifted them clear of the base three. Hats on Christian Walton for brilliant goalkeeping, the Everton loanee Antonee Robinson for just a masterclass in playing left-back and Gavin Massey for two main goals.
“This is a very serious wound at the worst moment,” said Bielsa, whose team visit Brentford on Monday before facing a resurgent Aston Villa here on Sunday week and then visiting Ipswich. “We use a different feeling from reality. But what we should did at this point seriously isn’t enough. Defeat condemns my works.”
Wounded teams tend to be dangerous and, from a season of sustained blows Wigan arrived in defiant mode, apparently minded finally to begin fighting back. Leon Clarke must have headed them into an early lead from Robinson’s cross however rather missed this chance that can be a real difference between a Championship in addition to a League One future.
Patrick Bamford, regardless of that they never quite managed to make it at Chelsea, has always regarded himself as Premier League calibre and, met with his rapid acceleration and insidious movement, Wigan’s initial feistiness temporarily subsided.
Their cause was hardly helped when Kipr was swiftly sent off to handle Bamford’s shot exactly in danger, even if he was arguably powerless to counteract it hitting him. DespiteWalton saving Pablo Hernndez’ssubsequent penalty, Bamford was soon surging via the visiting defence when using the simplicity of a jet cutting through cloud. When his right foot associated with Luke Ayling’s cross there seemed an inevitability regarding the way the shot was swept aside from the goalkeeper.
Elland Road rocked inside the brilliant April sunshine but Cook’s side had started menacing to the counterattack and, with half-time beckoning, Kal Naismith and Lee Evans combined to cue up a breaking Massey. Using the home defence caught cold the winger was permitted to advance unchecked before equalising by having an angled, and beautifully weighted, right-foot shot.
With Cook when using the interval to determine his players the penalty and also the red card were injustices, Wigan re-emerged brimming with righteous indignation. Massey appeared a guy using a revenge mission and, having met Clarke’s cushioned header across goal, he used their own forehead to overcome Kiko Casilla.
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As if within the flick of the switch the ground’s mood changed from near-triumphalist to your mix off disbelief and disgruntlement. Soon there after Wigan’s Reece James hit the bar Leeds fans let themselves down by pelting Sam Morsy, the visiting captain, with missiles when he lay injured.
Unleashing a very constructive fury Bamford and co hit Wigan’s box that has a barrage of shots and crosses but Walton maintained saving while his defence made countless blocks and interceptions.
“People that have watched us today will wonder how we’re in this particular position,” said Cook.
Bielsa may be foremost most notable. “Any explanation I could give might be meaningless,” said the Leeds manager. “It’s a time period of weakness but it’s my responsibility.”