Report: Wigan 2-2 Millwall

Away result WIGAN

WIGAN snatched a dramatic injury-time equaliser to deny Millwall a victory at the DW Stadium.

The Lions looked like they’d done enough to secure the three points but substitute Will Grigg slammed home in the box after Jordan Archer’s mistake.

In an action-packed game, Michael Jacobs put the home side ahead in the 53rd minute when he shot past Archer after Shaun Williams had lost possession in a dangerous area.

Fred Onyedinma fired Millwall level 16 minutes later before centre-back Mark Beevers put Neil Harris’ side ahead in the 74th minute.

Millwall found themselves under pressure in the last 10 minutes but seemed to be coping well before Grigg struck in the 92nd minute.

That denied the away side a fourth win on the road in the league this season as Wigan just about preserved their unbeaten run at home.

Wigan set out their stall with possession game

Harris said he regretted not making changes to his side during the last spell of three games in seven days after they had lost 2-0 to Southend on September 19. He took the opportunity this time to rest Steve Morison and Onyedinma, both of whom had started every game this season.

Onyedinma had been withdrawn after 61 minutes on Saturday and after a sparkling August he looked in need of a rest.

Lee Gregory was handed his first start since the home defeat to Chesterfield on August 29 and Ed Upson replaced Onyedinma in Millwall’s midfield.

And it was Gregory who came closest to scoring in the opening period when he turned smartly in the box to fire a left-footed shot across Richard O’Donnell and inches wide. Aiden O’Brien also climbed to get on the end of a Carlos Edwards cross but headed just wide.

It was Wigan though who dominated the possession in the opening 45 minutes without really troubling Archer. Their 3-5-2 formation was a fluid set-up with both wing-backs Tim Chow and, in particular, Reece James pushing well up on Edwards.

In midfield Williams and Jimmy Abdou were kept busy shadowing Max Power and Daivd Perkins with the latter looking to spark off Jordy Hiwula and Jacobs. And they constructed some nice moves outside Millwall’s box in the first half, but perhaps were a little guilty of overplaying the ball. They had a couple of half-chances with James twice shooting over when he ought to have found the target.

With Harris making notes and encouraging his players to keep their shape, Millwall got more of a foothold as the half went on and O’Brien continued to look a threat on the break, though a cuter pass after Williams had won the ball well in midfield would have put Gregory in behind a high Wigan defensive line.

Error and an unexpected turnaround

Ironically, for all of Wigan’s attractive approach play it was an error that finally let them in. Williams, who had moments earlier brilliantly slid in on Power to prevent a counterattack, gave the ball away 35 yards from his own goal and Jacobs, who had been a threat all night in the space between Millwall’s defence and midfield, surged into the box to finish left-footed into the far corner past Archer. After weathering a passing storm in the first half, that must have been a huge source of frustration for Harris.

He responded by taking off Shane Ferguson and Upson and bringing on Morison and Onyedinma and going all-out attack. The equaliser, when it came, was from nothing. After their goals at the weekend it was again Williams and Abdou who helped drag their side level. Williams found his midfield partner in the box and when Abdou was tackled the ball broke to Onyedinma who slotted in on 69 minutes.

The second arrived after Wigan had twice cleared off the line before the ball fell to Mark Beevers who scored his second of the season. It was quite the turnaround. And quite unexpected.

As was Wigan’s injury-time equaliser when Archer, who has been so solid recently, miscued a punch and Grigg pounced to slam home.

Indian summer

The performances and results improved markedly in September compared to the uncertainty that defined August.

The 1-0 over Peterborough and the international break that followed marked a clear threshold and Harris and his management team deserve credit for redressing the issues that were evident last month.

The Millwall manager promised the work carried out on the training ground during the break would be evident, and it was, with three wins in four kicked off by O’Brien’s hat-trick in the win at Crewe.

That reflects well on the coaching staff: shortcomings were identified and corrective action was taken.

Harris wasn’t afraid to publicly point out where he felt his players were failing to take responsibility. Others might have deemed that a risky strategy for someone in their first full season as a manager, but the players responded, with senior ones like Edwards reiterating the manager’s belief that preparation is designed to empower players to take personal responsibility.

The set-piece errors that were evident in the 3-2 home defeat to Barnsley, especially, have been reduced, while the individual and collective standard has been raised by the more experienced players like Edwards, Beevers and Williams, who found the goalscoring touch this month that his manager felt he was always capable of.

Four wins and a draw from six games is an improvement and a similar trajectory next month will set the club up well for the crucial winter period – where it all went so wrong last season.

John Kelly

(@jkelly1882)

26 thoughts on “Report: Wigan 2-2 Millwall

  • September 29, 2015 at 21:55
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    Gutted to concede a 92min equaliser, but I would have taken a draw before KO. Well done Wall.

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  • September 29, 2015 at 21:55
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    Although disappointing to concede a late goal I'd've took a draw beforehand. Frustrating though, back around 2000 we had a bit of a rivalry going on with Wigan (on and off the pitch) they would regularly F.cuk us up with a late goal, especially up there-some things never change. Overall a point gained I think, safe journey home to those who went, great support that.

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  • September 29, 2015 at 21:57
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    Gutted to concede in injury but a good point away.The team is growing in confidence and giving 100% for Harris it seems.

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  • September 29, 2015 at 21:59
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    Honestly thought we'd struggle tonight. So glad I'm wrong yeah we conceded late on but a point against an in form Wigan is a great result
    Well done lads

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  • September 29, 2015 at 22:03
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    But we did once come back from 3 0 down at the Den with about 10 to go

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  • September 29, 2015 at 22:11
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    There cannot be another team in the league though that concedes late on in games like Millwall, tonight must be the fourth time already this season the opposition has scored on 80 plus minutes. Every season we get done time and again like this-must be a Wall thing I suppose.

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    • September 29, 2015 at 22:45
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      @Still_Wall:

      2nd time to a late goal - lost a point to Barnsley and 2 points tonight

      gutted that we were down to 10 men - Gregory injured - and it was an error

      the best teams score late goals -

      look forward to a late winner Saturday - Peterboro had man sent off tonight - played whole match with 10 men - should help us

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      • September 29, 2015 at 23:03
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        @timchimes:
        Sorry to be a bit anal here but Coventry and chesterfield also nabbed late goals against us mate, I know they weren't winners/equalizers but it still needs addressing I think.

        I'm not being negative BTW, after all is said and done I think it's a point gained tonight. Hope you're right about Pboro though, a win Saturday and we've had a very good week.

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          • September 29, 2015 at 23:17
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            @timchimes:
            The point I'm trying to make is we've played ten league games and conceded late in four of them-and I think it needs looking at, be it a lack of concentration or fitness or whatever. That's all.

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  • September 29, 2015 at 22:25
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    At the kick-off we'd all have been happy with a point. Wigan could have scored again to make it 3-2 and we'd all have been gutted. So, chin up lads. A point away is a great result against a team with their home record.
    Smile and be happy.

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  • September 29, 2015 at 22:33
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    It was so aggravating when I saw them score in the 92nd minuet! But, I'm happy with a point... It's better than nothing.

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  • September 29, 2015 at 22:46
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    10 games gone we are 12 well done Neil and the team away fans deserve a lot of credit, would of took that start of the season and we are getting better. Coyl

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  • September 29, 2015 at 23:03
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    Different tatics should have changed quickly and formation should changed from 4-4-1-1 to 4-2-1-3.

    Make it much better but it wos a draw would do.

    next game surely a big win against Posh 3-0 wall

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  • September 29, 2015 at 23:09
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    A few games a go we might have lost that game, so it's a great improvement. Am delighted Fred scored it may be the boost he needs to get him back to his very best.

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  • September 29, 2015 at 23:17
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    DONT OVERLOOK THE FACT THAT WE NEED MORE QUALITY - MID TABLE IS NO GOOO IN THIS LEAGUE - WOULD REALLY LIKE TO SEE SOME NEW FACES - MORE PACE UPFRONT AND A BALL PLAYER

    WE DIDNT DOMINATE AFTER TAKING THE LEAD LIKE GOOD TEAMS DO - SPIRIT CAN ONLY TAKE US SO FAR - NH AND JB - PLESAE DONT LEAVE IT TOO LATE

    IT WILL BE LIKE A HOME GAME SATURDAY - I HOPE WE ARE MORE POSITIVE THAN TONIGHT - GO AT THEM - WE NEED WINS - NEED AT LEAST 20 WINS TO MAKE THE PLAYOFFS (72/75 PTS) - MAYBE MORE - LONG WAY OFF YET - GETTING MORE CONSISTENT BUT OUR BEST STILL ISNT GOOD ENOUGH

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    • September 29, 2015 at 23:52
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      @timchimes: reality is mate there are several glaring weak links in the side- TC, Webster, Gregory despite a few good players- Edwards, OBrien, Archer (did make a mistake tonight but has been great so far)

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  • September 29, 2015 at 23:21
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    What was great to see was Lions coming back from being a goal down.

    Have Lions done that before today, during this season?

    Always feels horrible conceding at the death when a potential win becomes a draw. But carry on like September and Lions will be top 6 by Christmas. (It's 2 points a game this month).

    The late disappointment of conceding should be a big motivator for next Saturday.

    And great to see Fred come on and score ...

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  • September 29, 2015 at 23:46
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    And Webster spots the keeper off his line....get in....sorry I just nodded off dreaming, reality was a goal kick and awful decision in truth...never gonna work was it..

    Decent point- think they lacked a bit tonight. Wigan just pass from side to side. We are better than them and should have been more direct- would have won the game with more pressing and attack. But a point may well work out well come the end of the season..

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  • September 30, 2015 at 00:10
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    We had 3pts in the bag untill the keepers howler..so thanks for your performance over 90mins..but time added on ..f****** gutted

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  • September 30, 2015 at 09:28
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    I wouldn't blame Archer totally, he had no cover & was surrounded by 3 attackers without any cover,we still struggle with balls in the box.I think the half the side is good & the other half are not so good.
    Problem is Neil's still unsure about some of his players but at the moment we're a mid table side no better no worse but I do believe with the right balance we can be top 6 .
    To achieve this I would like to see one or two more youngsters get bedded in.

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    • September 30, 2015 at 10:09
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      @Millwallsteve: steve i would blame forde..sorry archer he had 3 players on the line..he had no reason to come for a ball he never had a chance of getting..

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  • September 30, 2015 at 09:38
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    Great to finally haves Wall team that can fight back from a goal down, the team seem to have discovered some b******s at last

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  • September 30, 2015 at 12:24
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    Yes it's gutting to concede a late winner but who wouldn't of taken a point before kick off?its also a shame Jordan archer made a bit of a howler but he's performances have been so positive since he came into the team let's not jump on his back for one mistake.And yea we do concede a lot of late goals the reason is we don't keep the ball well enough to kill the game and then sit too deep,inviting long spells of pressure and sometimes we crack under that pressure and sometimes we don't.People just have to accept we ain't Real Madrid and stop being so negative all the time I honestly believe we have started a run that will take us to promotion now so let's get behind the team not s*** em every time they make a mistake.

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